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Driven: Audi’s sharper-value Q7 arrives

Prices up for Audi Q7, offset by more equipment, better efficiency, dazzling dash

3 Apr 2020

AUDI’S comprehensively updated Q7 is now on sale in Australia, rising $4100 to $101,900 plus on-road costs for the newly christened 45 TDI quattro range-opener that replaces the previous ‘160kW’ base.


However, the Slovakian-built premium seven-seater large SUV counters that with 10kW more power, significantly less fuel consumption, fewer emissions, an all-digital dashboard upgrade from the Q8 flagship and a claimed $15,000-plus worth of extra equipment that includes now-standard air suspension.


The latter was previously a $4950 option.


An even bigger price rise of $6000 applies to the 50 TDI quattro, which is set at $112,900 plus on-roads and replaces the previous ‘200kW’ version, but according to Audi this new model adds more than $20,000 worth of additional features.


A racy S-line version of the 50 TDI quattro has also arrived, priced from $119,900 and sitting in for the redesigned SQ7 until the performance flagship arrives around mid-year.


While offering no more oomph, the S-line brings special 21-inch alloys, a roof spoiler, privacy glass, uniquely trimmed sports seats, an uprated Bose audio system, different mood lighting, aluminium inlays, paddle shifters and a flat-bottomed steering wheel.


There is no sign of the Q7 ‘TFSIe’ plug-in hybrid model available in other markets, which employs a 280kW/600Nm total-output petrol V6/e-motor combo capable of averaging 2.8 litres per 100km and accelerating from 0-100km/h in 5.9 seconds.


However, a regular TFSI petrol with the 48-volt mild-hybrid system that has just debuted in Australian-spec TDI turbo-diesel models (but no plug-in electrification) is in the pipeline, possibly for launch by the end of this year.


According to Audi Australia corporate communications manager Shaun Cleary, the plan was always to come to market with the mainstay TDIs as soon as possible.


“There are no imminent plans to introduce petrol-powered Q7,” he told GoAuto. “However, we are looking at it as a potential addition to the diesel range, especially as we have had success with the Q8 TFSI range and we have had petrol Q7 models sell well in Australia with the previous-generation model.


“But, given the homologation delays we’ve had since last year due to WLTP (emissions testing), we only have the V6 TDI on offer for now … so we made decisions based on what our priority models would be.”


Unveiled in Germany last June, the latest Q7 is the first big change to this ‘4M’ series since the second-generation SUV surfaced globally in 2015.


It brings more angular front-end styling with restyled all-LED lighting (now all-Matrix for Australian vehicles) and a larger grille that adopts vertical slats, an aluminium strip bisecting elongated tail-lights, reshaped bumpers and diffusers and new lower-sill treatments aimed at reducing the visual mass of the profile.


The air suspension, meanwhile, works in conjunction with the five-link independent front and rear axles, offers seven modes with ride height adjustability for up to 90mm (50mm up, 40mm down from normal).


The S-line on 22-inch alloys scores a slightly firmer adaptive air suspension with a 15mm lower ride height. Active all-wheel steering remains an option, reducing the turning circle by up to 1.1 metres and turns lock-to-lock to 2.4 (from 2.9).


Though width (1970mm), height (1741mm) and wheelbase (2994mm) dimensions remain the same, overall length stretches a further 11mm to 5063mm. Boot space varies from 865 litres to 2050L, depending on the seating configuration.


Arguably the biggest changes are reserved inside, with a wholesale fascia switch to the Q8’s ‘Virtual Cockpit Plus’ all-digital dashboard.


This expands on the electronic instrumentation set-up offered before (to 12.3 inches) while eliminating most buttons for two centrally located touchscreen displays – a 10.1-inch interface for infotainment and 8.6-inch screen for vehicle control, brandishing Audi’s now-trademark gloss-black panel design.


Along with the air suspension and Matrix LED headlights, that $15K equipment boost for the 45 TDI quattro over its ‘160kW’ base predecessor can be seen with its ambient cabin lighting pack, three-zone climate control, heated front seats, adaptive cruise control, 360-degree camera, wireless Apple CarPlay with smartphone charging and an improved Audi Connect internet service that now includes remote locking/unlocking, emergency services call, car finder and roadside assist, among other items.


Meanwhile, the 50 TDI quattro’s $20K boost in value over the outgoing ‘200kW’ also stems from this equipment upgrade, as well as a panoramic sunroof, head-up display and powered steering column.


As before, both TDIs employ a 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel engine, driving all four wheels via a ZF eight-speed torque-converter automatic transmission.


It does, however, feature a new 48-volt mild-hybrid electrical system dubbed MHEV that can cut consumption by 0.7L/100km, recuperate up to 14kW back into the battery and assist with coasting and boosting performance.


The 45 TDI delivers 170kW of power from 3250-4750rpm while torque remains steady at 500Nm, available between 1750-3250rpm.


Tipping the scales at 2240kg, the 45 TDI can reach 100km/h in 7.3s and, on the economy front, achieves 7.0 litres per 100km on the official combined-cycle test. This equates to 184 grams of CO2 per kilometre.


With 210kW from 3500-4000rpm and 600Nm at 2250-3250rpm, the 50 TDI hits 100km/h 0.8s earlier, is 0.2L/100km thriftier and emits 4g/km less CO2.


Meanwhile, with a 320kW/900Nm 4.0-litre V8 twin-turbo TDI with MHEV under its blunt bonnet, the 2460kg SQ7 quattro needs just 4.8s to reach 100km/h and can return 7.6L/100km and 200g/km.


The quattro AWD system uses a self-locking mechanical centre differential to help distribute 40 per cent of torque to the front wheels, rising to 70 per cent as conditions dictate and up to 85 per cent rearward if required.


Finally, a full suite of active driver-assist safety systems is also included. The adaptive cruise control has stop/go functionality and traffic-jam assist for seamless progress, and works in concert with active lane assist using sensor and GPS data to anticipate conditions ahead.


The latter also helps the broader pre-sense and collision avoidance tech that encapsulates AEB, lane-change alert, cross-traffic warning and other related systems around the Q7, providing 360-degree monitoring and avoidance action if required.


Meanwhile, complete front, side and head airbag coverage is provided for all outboard-seated occupants across the three rows, attention assist checks in on the driver’s concentration levels with a reminder and the newly updated round-car camera has multiple view settings.


The five-star ANCAP crash-test rating carries through from 2015.


Audi, like BMW, persists with a three-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty, while Lexus has a four-year guarantee and Mercedes-Benz has made the change to five years. Three- and five-year service plans are available.


2020 Audi Q7 pricing*

45 TDI quattro (a) $101,900
50 TDI quattro (a) $112,900
50 TDI quattro S-line (a) $119,900

*Excludes on-road costs

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