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Audi Q7 2021 review: 50 TDI quattro S line long-term

Sitting second from the top of Audi’s flagship Q7 range, the 50 TDI S line is priced at $119,900.

It measures over five metres long, tips the scales at more than 2.2 tonnes, seats seven people in luxurious comfort, and goes like the clappers.

Enter the Audi Q7 50 TDI quattro S line, occupying the CarsGuide garage for a three-month summertime stint.

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Part 1 - December 2020

In the lead up to Christmas a bit of extra space is always welcome, so the timing of the Audi Q7 50 TDI S line’s arrival couldn’t have been better.

With (Covid-safe) food and gift shopping an immediate priority, home-focused projects planned, and family road trips on the new year agenda, its spacious interior, generous boot, and grunty diesel engine lined up as a perfect match for the Cleary family’s seasonal needs.  

The Q7 measures over five metres long. The Q7 measures over five metres long.

Sitting second from the top of Audi’s flagship Q7 range, the 50 TDI S line is priced at $119,900, before on-road costs, a competitive number in the world of premium, seven-seat SUVs. 

For example, BMW’s similarly powered, but entry-level X7 xDrive 30d sits at $133,900, a Land Rover Sport D16 HSE with seven-seat option ($3890) will set you back $143,575, and the Mercedes-Benz GLS 400d sits at $153,900. 

 The Q7 has a spacious interior. The Q7 has a spacious interior.

Power comes courtesy of a 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel engine producing 210kW from 3500-4000rpm, and 600Nm from 2250-3250rpm. It’s matched up with an eight-speed ‘Tiptronic’ auto transmission, with drive going to all four wheels via Audi’s ‘quattro’ all-wheel drive system.

A 48-volt ‘mild-hybrid’ system is also on-board, primarily to aid fuel economy, by powering the standard stop-start system, and allowing the car to coast for up to 40 seconds (between speeds of 55km/h and 160km/h).  

Despite its substantial footprint and chunky kerb weight, the 50 TDI is claimed to accelerate from 0-100km/h in just 6.5seconds. And it’s loaded with luxury features and safety tech.

Our time with the big Audi started with shopping, including a trip to the local Christmas tree farm. We’re a family of five, and from that initial local run, occupying the Q7 felt comfortable and roomy without tipping over the edge into floaty and bloated. Loads of space in every direction but taut and well balanced.

For a family of five the Q7 felt comfortable and roomy. For a family of five the Q7 felt comfortable and roomy.

And that’s Comfortable with a capital C. Four-zone climate control created a civilised oasis from Sydney’s hot, wet, and humid end-of-year weather. That combined with seats wrapped in top-shelf Valcona (aniline) leather, the sports pair up front heated and electrically-adjustable (with memory), and mega BOSE audio (19 speakers, 15-channel amp, and total output of 558 watts) are the tip of the equipment iceberg.

There are three ultra-sleek screens. There are three ultra-sleek screens.

Three ultra-sleek screens - 12-3-inch for the configurable ‘Virtual Cockpit’ dash display, and 10.1-inch and 8.6-inch units for the MMI multimedia and ventilation systems - look amazing. That said, unsightly fingerprints build up on the latter two pretty quickly, although Audi includes a 'Cleaning cloth for touch displays' in the glove box.

Audi includes a 'Cleaning cloth for touch displays' in the glove box. Audi includes a 'Cleaning cloth for touch displays' in the glove box.

The kids instantly fell in love with the adjustable ambient lighting (30 selectable colours, and six colour profiles), and a vast glass sunroof lets the light flood in.

With all 600Nm of maximum torque available from 2250-3250rpm, and eight gear ratios to keep things bubbling along, the Q7 is rarely out of its mid-range performance sweet spot. And the standard adaptive air suspension seamlessly irons out pock-marked suburban tracks.

Our first entry to the local (giant) shopping centre car park, served as a reminder that for such a substantial vehicle, (5.1m long, 2.0m wide, and 1.7m tall) and despite a sweeping 12.4m turning circle, the Q7 is relatively easy to maneuver with good visibility to its extremities, and light slow-speed (electrically-assisted) steering.

There is a vast glass sunroof lets the light flood in. There is a vast glass sunroof lets the light flood in.

But it also confirmed the fact that the majority of models in Audi’s current range are mad beepers, with various proximity sensors firing off a series of increasingly frequent and aggressive beeps inside the cabin as parking maneuvers became even remotely tight. 

That’s easily silenced by the push of a console button, but the downside is, doing so also turns off the reversing camera and (excellent) 360-degree overhead view, right when you need them most. Annoying. 

Featuring a ‘Virtual Cockpit’ dash display. Featuring a ‘Virtual Cockpit’ dash display.

As you’d expect, boot space is generous, and even with all seven seats up capacity sits at 295 litres, which is as much as a small hatch or city-sized SUV.

Drop the electrically-operated third row (via handy buttons near the back of the load space), and that grows to 740 litres. A configuration we’ll look at more closely in the next installment as holiday garden projects start to get off the ground.

  • As you’d expect, boot space is generous. As you’d expect, boot space is generous.
  • Even with all seven seats up capacity sits at 295 litres. Even with all seven seats up capacity sits at 295 litres.
  • There is as much as a small hatch or city-sized SUV. There is as much as a small hatch or city-sized SUV.
  • Drop the electrically-operated third row and space grows to 740 litres. Drop the electrically-operated third row and space grows to 740 litres.

The standard electric tailgate is a big plus, as is rear cross-traffic, especially in the unpredictable confines of a pre-Christmas shopping precinct. 

Our first month’s driving covered 850km, and average fuel consumption (measured at the pump) came in at 8.9L/100km, which is pretty handy for such a big bus.

One month down, and we’re definitely looking forward to the next two, although we’d rather pass on the beep-fest.

Acquired: November  2020

Distance travelled this month: 850km

Odometer: 11,152km

Average fuel consumption for December: 8.9L/100 (measured at the pump)

Part 2 - January 2021

Nothing like a new year visit to the rellies ‘up the coast’ to put the kids on high alert, the dog in a state of confusion, and the family truckster under pressure.

But this wasn’t a major undertaking, rather a relatively modest 320km round trip from Sydney to Newcastle, staying a couple of nights with close family while enjoying the summer weather and nearby beaches. Plus, the Q7’s scale and already proven cruising ability added a sense of calm before take-off.

Soft bags and swimming gear for five, a full complement of passengers, as well as an excitable Labradoodle were accommodated without fuss. And thanks to its solid mid-range torque, the big Audi immediately settled into its holiday transport stride.

A wheelbase close to 2.0m long means there’s no shortage of interior space, especially with the Q7 in five-seat configuration. Most families play spotto on a road trip. We had the close to realistic option of indoor (real) tennis.

We happened to park up next to a current model SQ5 in our travels, and it brought home just how substantial the Q7 is. We happened to park up next to a current model SQ5 in our travels, and it brought home just how substantial the Q7 is.

There’s heaps of space in the front, and loads of head, leg, and shoulder room in the back means pillows, devices, and snacks of various kinds don’t ignite any turf wars. And four-zone climate control is a big plus on tour, as well.

Two other helpful attributes also help to keep the peace; plenty of power options for devices, and an unrelentingly comfortable ride.

Up front there are two USB-A sockets, as well as a SIM card and SD slot, with another two USB jacks at the rear of the front centre console for backseaters. And as back-up there are 12-volt outlets in the front, second row, and boot.

Cups and bottles are kept in check thanks to a pair of cupholders in the front, another two in the rear centre armrest (when that position’s not being occupied), and yet another two next to the rearmost armrests for when the third row seats are in play.

Soft bags and swimming gear for five, a full complement of passengers, as well as an excitable Labradoodle were accommodated without fuss. Soft bags and swimming gear for five, a full complement of passengers, as well as an excitable Labradoodle were accommodated without fuss.

Bottle holders are also incorporated in the generous front and rear door bins, so there’s no excuse for stuff rolling around on the floor. Although, of course, that still happens!

Other storage options include a medium-size box/armrest between the front seats and a decent glove-box.

Then, there’s the ride. It’s magnificent. Despite big 21-inch rims, shod with low-profile (285/40) Continental rubber, the adaptive air suspension system delivers smooth progress, the continuously variable dampers seamlessly doing their thing.

Certain members of the Cleary family (names withheld for security reasons) have been known to suffer from motion sickness from time-to-time. But even burgers and smoothies for lunch on day one didn’t cause a hint of unease once back on the road.

There’s heaps of space in the front, and loads of head, leg, and shoulder room in the back. There’s heaps of space in the front, and loads of head, leg, and shoulder room in the back.

Speaking of lunch stops, we happened to park up next to a current model SQ5 in our travels, and it brought home just how substantial the Q7 is. The car doesn’t look oversized or overwrought, it’s neatly proportioned, but it is big.  

The standard head-up display is a plus on the freeway, as is the adaptive cruise control, adjustable for the distance to the car in front. And it picks up the throttle quickly when you pull out to overtake, rather than leaving you hanging out there while it thinks about increasing the pace, as some other systems do.

Having said that, I found the lane keeping assist function overly aggressive, a trait the Q7 shares with its VW Touareg brother from another mother (or sister from another mister, if you prefer).

Too keen to steer the car into even gently sweeping bends, I did my best to keep it at bay through the myriad check boxes offered in the car set-up control screens.

Despite big 21-inch rims, shod with low-profile rubber, the adaptive air suspension system delivers smooth progress. Despite big 21-inch rims, shod with low-profile rubber, the adaptive air suspension system delivers smooth progress.

But the transition from late evening sun to full darkness highlighted another couple of handy features.

First, the sunvisors are a dual design, so you can set one for the side window and one for the front, a massive plus when you’re cruising a twisty road in the afternoon.

Then the standard ‘Matrix LED’ headlights are (pun intended) brilliant. Rather than a single headlight beam, the system uses dozens of LEDs which enable it to block out glare for cars in front (travelling in the same or opposing direction).

As you’d expect, all this freeway running did good things for the fuel economy, the average figure dropping a full litre per 100 kilometres from the last report, to 7.9L/100km.

Next up, some home improvement, and we’re keen to see how flexible the Q7’s interior layout really is.

Our Labradoodle, Whiskey, approves of the Q7 on behalf of dogs everywhere! Our Labradoodle, Whiskey, approves of the Q7 on behalf of dogs everywhere!

Acquired: November 2020

Distance travelled this month: 798km

Odometer: 11,950km

Average fuel consumption for January: 7.9L/100 (measured at the pump)


The Wrap

Likes

Space
Performance
Premium quality

Dislikes

Parking beeps
Touchscreen fingerprints
No spare (tyre repair kit only)

Scores

James:

The Kids:

$119,900

Based on new car retail price

VIEW PRICING & SPECS

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.