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In-depth reviews

Audi Q7 review - Engines, performance and drive

The Audi Q7 offers a superb engine lineup, rides beautifully and has buckets of grip and traction

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Engines, performance and drive Rating

4.2 out of 5

Price
£66,795 to £111,465
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It’s clear that Audi is targeting the Range Rover Sport with its Q7 because the driving experience is all about luxury. The standard adaptive air suspension works very well and the ride is almost as comfortable as the Rangie Sport, all the while displaying impressive control over bumps and through corners. For a large off-roader there’s lots of grip, and the steering is quick and precise – while the Q7 is very capable hustling along A and B roads, it’s also a relaxed long-distance companion.

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Scroll through the Audi Drive Select modes (or set your own individual parameters for the steering, throttle and suspension in ‘Individual’ mode), and the Q7 is certainly more agile than the original, and you can feel more of what is going on through the seat than before. That’s largely thanks to its MLB Evo platform – the same that underpins the Lamborghini Urus and Bentley Bentayga.

In Comfort mode, the steering is still light and short on feedback, but the car is far more willing to change direction and stability is rock solid at high speeds. That’s helped by the optional four-wheel steering system that turns the rear wheels in parallel with the front wheels at high speeds, or in opposite directions at lower speeds to improve the turning circle.

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This is a 4x4 you can drive incredibly quickly, too. Ramp things up to Dynamic mode and the Q7 immediately feels more alert – it’s never harsh, but the body control is tauter, which gives you more confidence to push the car harder. Permanent quattro four-wheel drive gives excellent traction, too, not to mention a feeling of stability in poorer weather.

The steering isn’t full of life, but there is some feel, and by flicking the smooth eight-speed auto box up and down with the steering wheel paddles, you can have a surprising amount of fun hustling this big SUV around.

Although the Q7 isn’t designed to match a Range Rover off-road, Audi's quattro all-wheel drive system is more than capable of hauling the car through a muddy field or up a slippery track. In normal operation it splits the torque 40:60 front to rear, but can send up to 85 per cent of the torque to the rear axle if required. 

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In reality, few Q7s will ever leave the road. It's agile, and adding the all-wheel steering option enhances this; while its rivals use four-wheel drive to help off road, the Q7 feels more tuned for fun on it. Overall, the car is very pleasing and relaxing to drive either in town or on the motorway. It helps that the seats are comfortable and that very little outside noise enters the cabin.

0-62mph acceleration and top speed

The entry-level engine is a 45 TDI diesel unit that produces 228bhp and 500Nm of torque, this is good for a top speed of 140mph and a 0-62mph time of 7.1 seconds. Opting for the larger 50 TDI ups the power output to 282bhp and 600Nm of torque, resulting in a 6.5-second 0-62mph sprint and 150mph top speed. Both engines come with quattro four-wheel drive and a slick eight-speed tiptronic automatic gearbox.

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Petrol buyers are catered for by the 55 TFSI, which boasts 395bhp. Acceleration is impressive in a car of this size; 0-62mph takes just 5.6 seconds and top speed is limited to 155mph. However, if it's power you're after, and your budget is able to stretch far enough, there's the barnstorming SQ7. Powered by a 4.0-litre V8 petrol, it produces 500bhp and a vast 770Nm of torque, which means it completes 0-62mph in a mere 4.1 seconds.

For a while, the SQ7 had a 4.0-litre V8 diesel engine with 429bhp and an astonishing 900Nm of torque. It’s slower on paper, taking 4.8 seconds to hit 62mph, but the extra torque gives it plenty of shove.

As part of Audi’s move towards electrification, two plug-in hybrid variants of the Q7 joined the range in 2019, badged 55 TFSI e and 60 TFSI e. However, the 60 has now been discontinued and sales of the 50 are suspended indefinitely due to supply chain issues. 

The 55 TFSI e produces 376bhp and the latter an impressive 456bhp. The same petrol 3.0-litre V6 features in both versions, augmented by an electric motor and battery, allowing for all-electric drive for around 26 miles. Considering the 55 TFSI e takes just 5.9 seconds to get to 62mph, it’s not surprising that most buyers have opted for this one over the 60 TFSI e, which is only half a second quicker.

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Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    45 TDI Quattro Sport 5dr Tiptronic
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £58,685

Most Economical

  • Name
    45 TDI Quattro S Line 5dr Tiptronic
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £64,210

Fastest

  • Name
    SQ7 TFSI Quattro 5dr Tiptronic
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £79,060
Executive editor

Paul was employed across automotive agency and manufacturer-side sectors before joining Auto Express in 2020 as our online reviews editor. After a brief sojourn at a national UK newspaper, Paul returned as executive editor where he now works closely with our commercial partners.

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