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Audi Q7 3.0 TDI Quattro S-Line LE 2015 review

EXPERT RATING
8
Chris Riley road tests and reviews the 2015 Audi Q7 SUV with specs, fuel consumption and verdict at its Australian launch.

Soccer mums can sleep easy — the team will get to the game in one piece in Audi's new Q7.

With a string of new or upgraded safety gear, the new seven-seat wagon is just about impossible to prang.

It brakes automatically to avoid rear enders, brakes to prevent you backing into passing traffic and brakes to stop you from sideswiping someone in your blind spot. It even flashes a warning to stop you "dooring" cyclists — now that's cool.

Priced from $103,900, the second generation Q7 doesn't arrive until next month, but we got an early taste this week on a two-day jaunt from Melbourne to Adelaide.

Launched here in 2006, it's the only vehicle in the Audi line-up that comes with a third row of seats but it's not the feature that dominates the sales pitch.

First and foremost, the Q7 is presented as a sleek, desirable performance-focused SUV, one that's been downsized, 240kg lighter and comprising 41 per cent aluminium. It's smaller outside yet has more room inside.

The weight reduction, about as much as a piano, brings better performance and lower fuel consumption (Lotus worked this out years ago). There is also engine stop-start.

At this stage, there's only the one model, powered by a 3.0-litre turbo diesel. Previously, there were four variants, so perhaps Audi is departing from its typical scattergun approach?

The maker is also "reviewing" options. A cheaper, less powerful 160kW no-frills version is likely and a plug-in diesel hybrid, the e-tron, is confirmed for next year.

Outputs for the diesel are impressive, its 200kW of power and 600Nm of torque turning a smooth eight-speed auto with gear changes by paddle-shifters. It has auto stop-start.

A 2.1 tonne wagon that dashes from 0-100km/h in a brisk 6.5 seconds

It's all-wheel drive, with the option of four-wheel steer. Torque is split fore and aft depending on conditions and, via vectoring, from side to side.

The result is a 2.1 tonne wagon that dashes from 0-100km/h in a brisk 6.5 seconds (previously 8.5 secs) while sipping as little as 5.9L/100km, a 21 per cent improvement.

Further easing the job of transporting the team, you can operate the tailgate with a wave of your foot at the rear.

Not that towing is high on the agenda for Q7 owners, boats with moorings and five-star resorts being their more likely preferences, but we were gobsmacked to learn Audi's latest wizardry — software that parks the trailer or van for you — won't find its way to Australia.

Legroom increases by 13mm in the all important third row, where the two separate seats stow or deploy electrically, in response to switches to the left of the luggage area. It has top tethers and Isofix points for all five rear seats.

Competitors include the BMW X5, Benz GL, Range Rover Sport and the just released Infiniti QX80.

Standard kit includes leather trim, climate control aircon, satnav, 10-speaker audio, digital radio and 10GB jukebox. There are four option packs, the one that bundles all the safety gear is $4075.

The Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto smartphone compatibility will not be added until next year. They can't be retrofitted.

On the road 

The new squarer, sharper looking Q7 displays the agility lacking in the first model. The turbo diesel delivers all the power you could possibly want, without the vibration or harshness normally associated with diesels.

There is a choice of drive modes. It sits well on the road and shows plenty of grip in corners with little body roll. Both of the cars we drove had variable air suspension fitted, one with 19-inch wheels, the other with 21s.

It would be unwise to sacrifice the better ride quality of the 19s for the larger wheels, which don't add much visually anyway.

The instrument panel is a 12-inch computer screen. Instead of being tilted away from the driver, it is mounted bolt upright to avoid glare, which feels a little odd at first.

The paddle-shifters are superfluous, given the eight forward ratios and so much torque on tap

With lane departure assist activated the car can virtually drive itself for up to two minutes, after which you're asked to return your hands to the wheel.

The paddle-shifters are superfluous, given the eight forward ratios and so much torque on tap.

The only time you might think about changing gears manually is if you are towing, and it can handle 3500kg comfortably.

Verdict

It's a slick device for sure but be prepared to pay more like $130K for the car once you factor in the options. There are plenty, including a $14K Bang & Olufsen audio.

Pricing guides

$55,890
Based on 62 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$34,800
Highest Price
$72,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
3.0 TDI Quattro 3.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $40,100 – 51,260 2015 Audi Q7 2015 3.0 TDI Quattro Pricing and Specs
3.0 TDI Quattro S-Line LE 3.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $41,500 – 53,080 2015 Audi Q7 2015 3.0 TDI Quattro S-Line LE Pricing and Specs
3.0 TFSI Quattro 3.0L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $47,800 – 60,500 2015 Audi Q7 2015 3.0 TFSI Quattro Pricing and Specs
4.2 TDI Quattro 4.1L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $71,300 – 90,200 2015 Audi Q7 2015 4.2 TDI Quattro Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
8
Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.