The facelifted Q7 not only comes with a new heart but also with some design changes and better equipment. But, in a fiercely contested segment, are these changes enough?
The Q7 has been a long-standing pillar of Audi’s product range. Right from its first generation, it was one of the products that established the Audi brand in the Indian market. Now, this was much before the current SUV craze started, so you could very well say that it was the first popular luxury SUV in India. Of course, much has changed since then – the Indian market is now populated with a number of luxury SUVs, and the large premium SUV segment, in which the Q7 competes, has become incredibly competitive. I mean, just look at the Q7’s rivals, for instance. There’s the Volvo XC90, which might be a bit long in the tooth but is still intensively competitive, and then we have the terrific-to-drive BMW X5 and, of course, the segment leader, the Mercedes GLE, among others.
Getting Better with Age
I must admit that when the second-gen Q7 first came out, I was far from impressed by its design. But, no doubt, it has certainly aged well, and in today’s era of extreme design touches, it actually looks rather elegant in its simplicity. The large Q8-like grille, terrific looking dynamic indicators, 19-inch wheels, which give it a balanced stance, and the clever use of chrome offer it an air of elegance – something that I think of much more favourably now.
The interior too is a classy place to be. I quite like the new dash with its air vent strip covering most of the dash and its chrome contrasting nicely with the piano black treatment directly below it. The interior, of course, feels quite spacious but is adequate for only four adults rather than five, given the transmission tunnel in the middle.
Now, given that it’s one of the premium SUVs of the Audi range, the quality is…well, it’s simply fantastic – all surfaces in the cabin are well finished. The seats – both front seats are electrically adjustable – are also very comfortable. In its new iteration, the Q7 also features a ton of extra equipment, for instance, the Matrix LED headlamps and taillamps, 360-degree camera with Park Assist, a B&O sound system, Lane Departure warning, and the dual central displays, which are used to control most of the functions.
One of the benefits of the petrol transplant is that the Q7’s already impressive NVH levels are now even better. You can barely hear the engine at idle inside the car, and the throttle response from this 3.0-litre unit is simply fantastic, delivering instant grunt. One of the reasons for the immediate availability of power is that the peak torque of this petrol unit starts at just 1,370rpm – in other words, you hit the peak torque just above idle. As you push on, the 335bhp of the engine is delivered seamlessly, with the 8-speed transmission doing a fantastic job. Even the steering of the Q7 offers a very good feel and feedback, which further enhances the driving experience.
One of the benefits of the petrol transplant is that the Q7’s already impressive NVH levels are now even better. You can barely hear the engine at idle inside the car.
The Q7 comes equipped with air suspension as standard, and in this case, it’s a particularly well set up unit. Whether it’s high speeds or broken roads, the Q7 delivers terrific ride quality and stability, which at the same time keeps you isolated from the chaos outside. Sure, there’s a bit of body roll if you throw the Q7 around, but honestly, that’s hardly the purpose of this SUV. In fact, with its fantastic stereo and comfort levels, this Q7 will, once again, be a hit with those who prefer the rear seat, which, however, doesn’t mean that the driver will not enjoy the driving experience.
During our short drive, I really struggled to find any major shortcomings with the Q7. Sure, I’m not a fan of touchscreens, and the relegation of virtually all controls to touchscreens is something I’ll always complain about, but the world seems to have gone crazy over touchscreens in cars, which makes me a minority for preferring good old analogue controls.
Now, there’s the matter of the Q7 being petrol only, which will displease some potential customers. However, the fact of the matter is that given the way the current regulations are going, diesel vehicles will soon become unviable, and only a few diesel passenger vehicles will exist in the market – something that we should get used to.
Overall, though, the refreshed Q7 is a car I really enjoyed. It offers a rare combination of elegant looks, great driving dynamics, and comfort. And it also makes for a great choice right now, given the demand and supply situation – this makes it one of the rare SUVs that might get delivered to you immediately.
- 2022 Audi Q7
Engine: 2,995cc / V6 / Turbocharged
Transmission: 8-Speed Automatic / All-Wheel Drive
Power: 335bhp @ 5,200 – 6,400rpm
Torque: 500Nm @ 1,370 – 4,500rpm
Price: ₹79.99 – 88.33 Lakh (Ex-Showroom)
X-Factor: The Q7 offers a solid package in the hyper-competitive luxury-SUV segment.