Audi Q7 SUV review
“The huge Audi Q7 is powerful, has a fantastic interior and can be surprisingly affordable to run for such a large car”
- Plenty of safety technology
- Spacious interior
- Fussy styling
- Options are expensive
- Less powerful diesel is noisy
Verdict - Is the Audi Q7 a good car?
The Audi Q7 is a large and luxurious SUV with a cavernous seven-seat interior that also makes it very practical. If you could do with an MPV but prefer the style and creature comforts of a posh SUV, there aren’t many models to beat the big Audi. Designed to excel on tarmac – it’s no Range Rover Sport off-road – the Q7 is also good to drive, taking long motorway stints in its stride. Powerful diesel and petrol models make up the bulk of the range, but plug-in hybrids are usually available too – when there aren’t supply issues.
Audi Q7 models, specs and alternatives
The original Audi Q7 was launched to an enthusiastic audience who'd long awaited an Audi SUV. Today, it's a rival to the BMW X5, and Mercedes GLE, Range Rover Sport, Porsche Cayenne, Volvo XC90 and the new Land Rover Defender, although it's actually closer in size to the Range Rover and Mercedes GLS. If you’d prefer something a little sleeker, the closely-related Audi Q8 shares lots of parts with the Q7, but gives up its third row of seats in favour of a more sporting edge.
For the latest version of the Q7, Audi has kept what made the original such a success story – namely its huge, versatile seven-seat interior – but addressed some of the criticisms, including that it was too bulky and intimidating, both to look at and to drive. The latest version has lost none of its imposing presence, but it's leaner and more agile than before.
A facelift for 2019 brought the Q7’s styling in line with the latest Audi Q3 and Q8, namely an even more striking and wider grille and enhanced LED lights at the front and rear. It looks slightly lower and more athletic as a result, while upgraded tech borrowed from its coupe-SUV sibling the Audi Q8, has also benefitted the interior.
For such a big, heavy machine, the Q7 shows an impressive turn of speed, whichever version you choose. The 3.0-litre diesel engine is available with 228 (badged as a 45 TDI) or 282bhp (badged as a 50 TDI), allowing 0-62mph to be covered in just 7.3 and 6.5 seconds respectively. Irrespective of the difference in power, both diesel engines are capable of similar economy figures of around 36mpg.
The single petrol engine offering is badged 55 TFSI and is the most powerful model in the standard Q7 line-up with a turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 producing 335bhp. It boasts impressive straight-line performance, sprinting from 0-62mph in only 5.9 seconds. It does have a considerable thirst though, with a fuel economy figure of up to 27mpg.
These engines also come with mild-hybrid technology, allowing some power to be stored in a small battery pack under deceleration to aid the engine when necessary, improving efficiency.
There's a brace of plug-in hybrids too, with both combining a V6 petrol engine and an electric motor and battery, however, supply issues mean these aren’t currently available to order. The entry model is badged 55 TFSI e and produces 375bhp, while the flagship 60 TFSI e model has 449bhp. Both cars offer pure-electric running with a range of up to 26 miles and can be charged overnight via a home wallbox.
One version with very specific appeal is the Audi SQ7, the flagship performance model of the Q7 lineup. A 2020 update saw the 4.0-litre V8 diesel engine discontinued and replaced by an even more powerful 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 petrol engine that upped the SQ7’s power output to 500bhp. The end result is a two-tonne SUV that sprints from 0-62mph in just 4.1 seconds.
While it can be fun to drive, the Q7 places its emphasis on comfort, and its standard air suspension is great at soaking up road imperfections while still delivering impressive body control. As this is a two-metre-wide car, it’s a good job the steering is very accurate, helping you position the Q7 on narrow roads. Optional four-wheel steering is available to make the Q7 more manoeuvrable at low speeds.
All versions of the Q7 are plushly equipped as standard, with the Sport trim level getting adaptive air suspension, Matrix LED headlights, leather upholstery with heated front seats, 19-inch alloy wheels and Audi’s Virtual Cockpit digital dial display. The sportier S Line model adds 20-inch alloy wheels, black headlining and privacy glass, while the Black Edition model gains adaptive air sport suspension, black exterior trim and larger 21-inch alloy wheels. Costing from over £83,000, the range-topping Vorsprung trim features highlights including 22-inch alloy wheels, a Bose surround sound stereo and four-wheel steering.
Offering practicality and luxury, the Q7 is an impressive family car, with acres of head and legroom for front and second-row occupants. The second-row seats are also on runners, allowing them to slide forwards and backwards to make more space for the third row or boot. Even with all seven seats in place, boot capacity is still supermini-sized, while folding down the third row provides a huge 865 litres.
Audi has a reputation for building sturdy, well-engineered cars, so it’s perhaps surprising the brand only finished 22nd out of 29 manufacturers in our 2022 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey. Too few Q7 owners participated in the survey for it to feature individually in the results.
At least safety shouldn't be an issue: independent crash-test experts Euro NCAP awarded the Q7 the maximum five stars in late 2019.
Which Is Best?
- Name45 TDI Quattro Sport 5dr Tiptronic
- Gearbox typeSemi-auto
- Name55 TFSI e Quattro Sport 5dr Tiptronic
- Gearbox typeSemi-auto
- NameSQ7 TFSI Quattro 5dr Tiptronic
- Gearbox typeSemi-auto