– By Marc Sibbald –
It rolled off the tow truck like the QE2 cruising through the heads. On a sunny day in Spring it gleamed and sparkled in blinding white with muscular 21″ wheels on Continental rubber. Even in the car park the Audi badge was turning heads. But the Q7 sat there; unassuming; and ignoring the attention from passers by.
There’s no doubt the badge catches everyone’s attention. Though its not until you’re inside and driving that you realise the value of the $100k plus that you pay for this level of luxury, comfort and room.
When I opened the door I was greeted with a cavernous space and lots of leather. The Q7 is a genuine seven seater and its easy to see why they’re being used as limousines. The back seat offers a comfortable seating position for two adults (and the middle person wouldn’t be squashed). The third row has more than enough room for two adults on a cross town journey or luggage for an extended overseas trip.
A V6 3.0 litre diesel combined with the eight speed transmission propelled the Q7 with such confidence that you hardly noticed it as you were gaining speed on the open road. And the lack of road and engine noise in the cabin made the driving experience a pleasure.
Audi Drive Select provides different drive modes to suit the conditions and your driving style. Each setting changes the transmission shifting, steering response and suspension. I played with these during the week and found the Dynamic setting allowed me to push the Q7 like a smaller sedan or hatch through the back streets on my daily drive to the office. And the Comfort setting was great for cruising at speed or a lazy Sunday drive.
When we review cars at Fleet Auto News we consider what they’d be like to drive everyday as a road warrior. And this is where I ran into issues with the Q7. With all this space there was no storage! I don’t have much to put away but there was no where for my tissue box. The glove box and centre console need to be bigger.
I was complaining about the lack of storage space at my local cafe when I was heckled by another customer who reminded me that buying a luxury car is about your personal brand, “If you want storage buy a Toyota Hiace” they said. And there’s no doubt my friends and family looked at me differently when they thought I could afford to drop $120k on an Audi.