Audi Q7 3.0-litre TDI Clean Diesel review

This is the Audi Q7 facelift. Its got a clean and clever new engine. Read our review to find our more.

"Audi's Q7 is still big and heavy, but at least it's clean"

This is the freshly facelifted Audi Q7. And while you’d never normally notice whether an Audi model had been through its mid-life rethink or not, this Q7 is different.

Don't miss our review of the latest Audi Q7, here

The outside of the Q7 has been deliberately toned down to make the monster off-roader seem smaller than it actually is. It’s easier said than done, making a car that’s over five metres long appear to shrink, but clever use of gloss black on the grille and new body colour elements on the doors means that the Q7 is still big, but not quite as overtly offensive as the previous model.

In keeping with Audi tradition, the Q7 is now covered in LED lights, from the new indicators to the new C-shaped daytime running lights which give the car more menace.

But it’s under the bonnet that makes this particular Q7 model interesting. It’s powered by the new “Clean Diesel” 3.0-litre TDI, which gets Audi’s new AdBlue system. It’s really rather clever, and consists of a tank of AdBlue additive, which is mounted by the fuel tank. The additive is injected into the exhaust ahead of the catalytic converter where it turns harmful nitrogen oxide into harmless nitrogen and water. The additive lasts for 19,000 miles and is replaced when the car is serviced.

Despite the 50kg the system adds in weight, and £1,500 is adds to the Q7’s sticker price, the engine now returns 31.7mpg, up 0.7mpg over the existing 3.0-litre TDI, while CO2 falls from 239g/km to 234g/km. And thanks to the cleaner exhaust gases, the engine now meets EU6 emissions regs, which don’t come into force until 2014.

Not that you’d notice mind, the engine still has 240hp and 550Nm of torque, so it gets the big Audi moving without much fuss. The standard six-speed auto does a good job of slurring between gears, although you’re best off leaving the gearbox to change gear itself rather than using the dopey steering wheel-mounted paddles, and the quattro four-wheel-drive system is typically sure-footed.

The interior is nice and comfy too, making the Q7 a comfortable cruiser for all seven cabin occupants – although adults won’t fit in the third row of seats. And with the option of seven seats, you could justify the big Audi as your family runaround.

While the Q7 ain’t cheap – my Q7 SE cost £43 grand – I don’t think Audi will struggle to meet its 2,000 car sales target in the UK this year, credit crunch or not. But no matter how much work Audi has done to shrink the Q7’s appearance, or clean up its engine’s act, the Q7 is still a monster, and you’ll still face the wrath of SUV haters. Particularly when you attempt to find a parking space that it’ll fit in.

Car Specs - Audi Q7 3.0 TDI Clean Diesel SE

Engine:3.0-litre diesel, 240hp
0-62mph:8.5 seconds
Top speed:134mph
Economy/emissions:30.7mpg/234g/km CO2
Price/On sale £42,905/Now

We rate: Clean really means clean Comfy interior LED lights

We slate: It's still enormous It's still no looker It's still really heavy

Rating : Image removed.

by Tom Phillips

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