Audi Q7 Clean Diesel

7 Sep, 2009 6:16pm Conor Mills

Entry-level SUV cleans up its act with clever new diesel engine.



It’s the car Audi says, will take its rivals to the cleaners. Featuring the German firms new 3.0-litre ‘Clean Diesel’ engine, Audi hopes its revised Q7 will help make it acceptable once again to own an SUV.

Clever use of body coloured panels as well as a gloss black grille make the updated Q7 appear smaller and less overstated on the road than the previous car, but there is no escaping the 5-metre long Audi's enormous foot-print. A revised tailgate and bumpers, plus new LED lights at the front and rear complete the major changes.

Inside, the latest version is almost the same as its predecessor. Luxurious leather seats, an updated MMI system with 3D graphics and an impressive Bose stereo are the highlights. There’s lots of room too with enough space for seven if its needed.

But it’s under the bonnet where the latest Q7 makes its mark. Driven by Audi’s new 3.0-tlitre ‘Clean Diesel’ TDI, the clever new system sprays an additive called AdBlue into the exhaust gases just before they enter the catalytic converter, turning potentially dangerous nitrogen oxide gases into harmless nitrogen and water. Audi says there is enough additive to last for around 20,000 miles but don’t worry this gets replaced when the car is serviced.

Despite Audi’s best efforts though, the diesel SUV still has a long way to go before it can be classed as clean. Claimed fuel economy of 31.7mpg, and emissions of 234g/km are an improvement but in our test, which involved big stetched of motorway, we struggled to get 25mpg.

Power remains at 240bhp and there’s 500Nm of torque, so the Q7 is no slouch, 0-62mph takes 8.5 seconds and it has a top speed of 134mph.

Adaptive air-suspension means the latest Q7 is an excellent cruiser with a very comfortable ride, and even with its 2375kg kerbweight, the SUV feels well poised through the corners, but it does need to be shown respect.

On sale now Audi expect to sell around 2,000 of the new Q7’s in the UK. The SE version we drove isn’t cheap at £42,905. But there is plenty to admire about the cleanest car in the Q7 line-up. Audi has certainly toned down the SUV’s appearance, and with better fuel and emission figures Audi has addressed all the things it needed to. But despite all this and the more-than-capable performance qualities, the cleanest most frugal car in the range still drinks petrol while attracting more than its fair share of unapproving stares.

Key specs

* Price: £42,905
* Engine: 3.0-litre V6 diesel
* Transmission: Six-speed automatic, four-wheel drive with self-locking diff
* 0-62/top speed: 8.5/134mph
* Econ/CO2: 31.7mpg/234g/km
* Equipment: MMI sat-nav and entertainment system, 19-inch alloys,
climate control, LED lights, adaptive air-suspension, iPod dock, CD
player, eight speakers
* On sale: Now