Audi Q7 review (2005-2015)

Our Rating: 
2005 model
By Auto Express Test TeamComments

The Audi Q7 is good to drive and extremely spacious but it’s not the prettiest giant SUV option and it can be cumbersome in town

Very spacious, great performance, high-quality interior
Firm suspension, high running costs, soon to be replaced

The Audi Q7 is the Ingolstadt-based manufacturer's answer to premium SUVs such as the Porsche Cayenne, BMW X5 and Range Rover.

While it may not be able to match the Range Rover for off-road ability, the Audi Q7 has two trump cards, the first of which is its practicality. Audi fits every Q7 with seven seats and it’s extensive body also hides a generous boot.

The second big plus for the Audi Q7 is that despite its size, it's great on tarmac thanks to its crisp handling and accurate steering.

Available in five trim levels - SE, S line, S line Plus, S line Style and S line Sport, The Q7 gets the Audi quattro four-wheel-drive system as standard. There’s also choice of suitably powerful diesel engines.

In 2011, Audi updated the Q7 and saw it drop the potent V12 TDI engine. These days, the Audi Q7 is powered by either a 3.0-litre TDI diesel, with varying levels of power, or a 4.2-litre TDI V8.

All Audi Q7 models are generously equipped with the entry level SE model getting 19-inch alloy wheels, a 6.5-inch colour touchscreen with DAB radio and Bluetooth phone as standard. S line models are equipped with a sporty, 3-spoke steering wheel, Xenon and LED lights, while S line Plus cars get sat-nav and leather thrown in.

Q7 S line Style models feature 21-inch alloy wheels similar to those found on the Audi A6 and A5 Black Edition models, stainless steel underbody protection and extended wheel arches. Additionally, the range topping S line Sport Q7 features gloss black side air intakes.

It is, however, worth remembering that later in 2014, Audi is set to introduce a brand new Q7 which is expected to weigh as much as 350kg less than the current car. 

Our choice: Q7 3.0 TDI quattro

Engines, performance and drive


With its large body and high ride height, it'd be impossible to expect the Audi Q7 to have RS5 levels of pace or handling. However, it does feel surprisingly sporty to drive thanks to very little body roll, as well as responsive and accurate steering.

The Q7 even feels stable through tight bends and over undulating roads, with the only fly in the ointment being the very firm suspension on S line models, which picks up even the smallest bumps in the tarmac.

Audi Q7 dashboard

The engine range is limited to just three diesel engines, but it’s the entry-level 204bhp 3.0-litre V6 diesel that is our pick. It combines power and economy well while keeping the costs down - in fact, it can sprint from 0-62mph in only 9.1 seconds and goes on to a top speed of 127mph.

MPG, CO2 and running costs


The Audi Q7 is a big, powerful SUV so it'd be foolish to expect it to be wallet friendly - even the 204bhp 3.0-litre diesel (the least powerful engine in the range) isn't particularly economical thanks to CO2 emissions of 198g/km and a claimed fuel economy of 39.2mpg.

The other 3.0-diesel gets 245bhp, but despite the extra 40-odd bhp, its economy figures aren't affected that much - it returns 38.2mpg with CO2 emissions of 195g/km.

Where the V12 has been dropped from the Q7 range, the least efficient engine available on Audi's largest SUV is the 340bhp 4.2-litre V8 diesel, which manages 30.7mpg, plus 242g/km.

What's more, all Audi Q7 models are fitted with an 8-speed automatic gearbox

Interior, design and technology


While the Audi Q7 may be well equipped and good to drive, it's certainly not good looking with its bulbous nose and heavy flanks. When compared to the sharp looking new A3, it looks like a bit like a metal hippo.

However, get beyond the styling, and the Q7 is standard Audi inside with a beautifully made interior and plenty of stylish touches.

While S Line Style, Sport and Plus models may have 21-inch alloy wheels, tinted windows, Verano leather and bundles of other equipment, they can look quite tacky as a result of the gaudy stainless steel underbody protection.

Practicality, comfort and boot space


With its large proportions, it's no surprise that the Audi Q7 has a cavernous boot. In fact, it's so big, that not even the Land Rover Discovery can match its 2,040mm maximum load length.

When all of the Q7's seven seats are fixed, there's around 330-litres of space which is what could be expected from a car the size of and Audi A3. However, fold the last two seats forward, and that figure increases to a massive 775-litres.

The Q7's one-piece tailgate makes stowing bulky items easy, although even with this car's air-suspension on its lowest setting, the boot floor is still 830mm off the ground. The only disappointment is that the rearmost row of seats is a bit cramped, but it's no more so than in rivals such as the BMW X5 or Volvo XC90.

Reliability and Safety


The Q7 continues Audi's reputation for building excellent quality interiors and well-engineered cars.

Like in 2013, the Audi Q7 didn’t get enough owner responses to make it into the top 100 of our 2014 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey. However, there's no need to expect it to perform badly as the A6 ranked 26th overall and Audi ranked 12th out of 33 manufacturers.

It's worth remembering though, that the Q7 has been the subject of a safety recall by Audi, albeit with a relatively minor problem. The recall was to fix the electric motor that works the optional powered bootlid.

There have also been some reports of uneven tyre wear, but other than that, problems are few and far between.

Things aren’t quite so impressive when it comes to safety, though, as the Audi Q7 scored just four stars in the Euro NCAP crash test. The report says "poor welding resulted in rupture of the footwell area”, which sounds serious – however it also says that Audi has since “improved control over this part of production”.

Safety kit includes electronic stability control, a trailer stabilisation system, anti-lock brakes and electronic brake-force distribution, as well as driver, passenger, knee, side and curtain airbags.

Last updated: 3 Jun, 2014