New Q7 arrives Down Under

It's here and it's impressive – the model that set the standard in the large luxury SUV class, does it again.

The Audi Q7 has always set the standard in the large, luxury SUV ranks, so this new model has plenty to live up to – mission accomplished.

James McRory

Mark Bramley

3 April, 2020


The look is fresher and sharper, but there’s no mistaking the new Audi Q7. Its strong, confident stance and road presence remains, and the new points of style have been thoughtfully incorporated to give a new look as opposed to a radical departure. The main external changes revolve around the front and rear ends, where a revised grille treatment, bumper and headlight design define the new ‘face’ with new rear lighting design and a new rear diffuser. A new treatment has likewise been applied down the flanks, but the theme is subtle and purposeful.

Different trim packages such as the S line package which is standard on some models, or the black exterior package which is also available as an option, allow customers to tailor their Q7 to suit individual tastes, but the new model remains true to its proud origins, and there are plenty of Audi Q7 aficionados who will rejoice at that.

The Q7 – Audi’s first large luxury SUV – has proved a resounding success since it first appeared, and nowhere more so than here in Australia where its arrival in 2006 was heralded with a quiet drive right across the country.

I’ve mentioned this before, but do so again because its significance cannot be underplayed. For a car company to launch a brand new model – a luxury SUV – by driving it from Sydney to Broome, was unprecedented at the time. It was also considered by many a great risk. If something went wrong or it didn’t make it – you were toast. The Q7 not only ‘made the epic journey’, but did it easily, without a single vehicle problem and without raising a sweat. Sydney to Broken Hill. Broken Hill to Birdsville. Birdsville to Uluru. Uluru to Broome. Over 7000 kilometres of the harshest ‘roads’ and terrain Australia has to offer and driven by enthusiastic Australian motoring journalists. A legend was born.

The new Q7 builds on an incredible legacy, resulting in a vehicle that's better in every respect

The beautifully finished cabin is vast in dimension and absolutely stunning in its design

The Q7 set the standard ridiculously high with that initial performance, but has continuously raised the bar with each subsequent incarnation. This new model is no exception.

Across the board it takes the Q7 legacy to new heights. Silky smooth 3.0 TDI engines, Matrix LED headlights, adaptive air suspension and seven seats as standard with an electric folding third row. A new interior design that sports the very latest in technology and connectivity, all enveloped in a beautifully finished cabin that is vast in dimension and absolutely stunning in its design. With more than 30 driver assistance systems, safety too goes to a new level, and no wonder, with a long range radar, front camera, four cameras for a 360 degree view, six ultra-sonic sensors front and rear, all constantly monitoring the road and just about every other conceivable part of the surrounding environment. Some of this goes unnoticed by the driver (which is how you want it to be), while other sensors provide feedback, like the lane assist, adaptive cruise control, collision avoidance assist, cross traffic assist – the list goes on. Suffice to say, the five star ANCAP is well deserved. We’re talking everything from autonomous Emergency Braking, Pre sense front and Pre sense rear, to turn assist, cross traffic assist (rear) as well as electronic skid control (ESC), ABS, electronic diff lock (EDL) and Brake Assist to name just some of the invisible, but vital systems.

Of course, safety equipment, no matter how extensive and advanced, is like insurance – great to know it’s there, but not something you really want to be aware of in the everyday. The sorts of things you do want to be aware of and use to your heart’s content are also well represented in the new Q7, which is as advanced in its infotainment and connectivity as it gets.

The fully digital system, which comprises the Audi virtual cockpit plus and dual screens integrated into the sweeping black dash are both stunning and functional. 

With a 10.1-inch touch screen taking care of infotainment functions and an 8.1-inch screen below it for onboard comfort settings, everything is literally at the touch of a button. Haptic and acoustic feedback give a traditional feel to state-of-the-art technology, and the 12-3-inch virtual cockpit display puts a combination of important information and navigation right in front of the driver’s field of vision.

From Android Auto and Apple carplay to the Audi phone box light with wireless charging and the leading-edge Audi connect plus, the new Q7 wants for absolutely nothing. Indeed, go to the range-topping 50 TDI quattro S line and the likes of BOSE 3D sound and head-up display are amongst the additional standard equipment on offer.

Every seat in the house is a good place to be – cushioned as you are in beautifully crafted leather, enjoying the three-zone climate control (four-zone in the 50 TDI quattro S line). Indeed, find yourself in the Q7 at night with the ambient interior lighting package doing its thing (coloured highlights subtly accentuating interior lines), and the experience takes on another dimension again. A veritable space ship, the Q7 offers up 865 litres of storage. But with the rear seats down that figure balloons to a massive 2050 litres.

The new Q7 line-up is made up of two TDI drivetrains featuring 48-volt mild hybrid technology, available in three model variations – namely the Q7 45 TDI quattro at $101,900*, the Q7 50 TDI quattro ($112,900*) and the Q7 50 TDI quattro S line ($119,900*). 

The 3.0 TDI in the Q7 45 TDI quattro produces 170kW and 500Nm of torque that is available from as low as 1750rpm and just keeps on pulling through to 3250rpm. From standstill it rockets the Q7 to the 100km/h mark in 7.3 seconds and just keeps on surging. The powerplant in the 50 TDI and 50 TDI S line sportsline ups the power output to 210kW and an additional 100Nm of torque to knock over the 100km/h sprint in just 6.5 seconds.

The new Q7 line-up is made up of two TDI drivetrains featuring 48-volt mild hybrid technology, available in three model variations

But the Q7 does all that and a great deal more, while offering up to seven passengers an absolute magic carpet ride

In either configuration, these are beautiful engines – married to an eight-speed tiptronic transmission and are as tractable around town, as they are impressive under full load or just gobbling up the miles on a long trip. 

It is the driving experience in the Q7 though that once again defies logic. No surprise that the ride is superb over all but the most rutted goat track you can find. And even then, it’s still extraordinary. What doesn’t compute is that a vehicle of this size and appointment, can deliver performance and handling that would put many a small performance sportscar to absolute shame. Large, luxury SUVs shouldn’t be able to go around corners the way the Q7 does. It shouldn’t be able to handle switchbacks like a car a fraction of the size, or surge out of bends like it was shot out of a canon. That combination of quattro, all-wheel steering and air suspension though, make the seemingly impossible feel like child’s pay. 

But the Q7 does all that and a great deal more, while offering up to seven passengers an absolute magic carpet ride.

It is just so good, so balanced and so completely in charge of every situation, that it inspires confidence not matter where the road or trail takes you. The first Audi Q7 model earned its stripes in one of the most demanding driving environments on earth, and did it not just with ease, but with true style. This new model takes all of that accumulated knowledge and adds the very latest technology and even more refinement to arrive at a fitting successor to the Q7 legend.

Equally at home pulling up outside the finest restaurants or an exclusive event (both of which are currently off limits, but you get the idea), or heading out for a weekend in the country, a trip to the farm or towing a boat or horse float. The Q7 just does it all with style and makes it seem so absolutely effortless – and once you’ve had a taste of this, you will never settle for anything less.

(*Manufacturer List Pricing [MLP] – excludes dealer delivery and government statutory charges)