Audi India has launched the new, second-gen Q7 with prices starting from INR 72 Lakhs (ex-showroom Delhi) for the Q7 45 TDI premium plus variant. The fully-loaded ‘Technology’ variant is priced @ INR 77.5 Lakhs.
The Q7 has always been a ‘magical car’ for Audi India; it single-handedly gave a chance for a brand that was devoid of fortunes almost a decade back. Its size, beefy-yet-elegant stance, comfy feel and phenomenal road presence made Q7 a pet among the posh urban folks. In fact, the out-going model still garners enough takers not just in India but across the globe. And now, we have got the new second-generation Q7 that was first revealed at the Detroit motor show last January. It has got a hell lot of attention – mostly of the positive kind – for its design and styling. Of course, the new Q7 is exciting for a lot more reasons as well.
However, we still have to start our narrative with its styling only, as the car has undergone significant face-lift and body grooming. Apparently, the Q7 has lost its bulky appeal and gets tighter lines instead. The sharp shoulder line creases are typical to Audi’s new design theme. The new arrow-shaped day-time running lights in headlamps and tail lights, combined with single-frame grille with chamfered edges, is definitely attractive. But this combo, along with subtle wheel arches, makes the Q7 look more like a taller station wagon based on the A6 line, than a stout SUV. The more chiselled lines make it appear like an A7 Allroad. The eased-off curves and edgy shapes effectively hides the mammoth shape and size of the car.
Indeed, the ‘wagoneering’ effect creeps inside the cabin as well. The seating position is notably lower than before, and the new Q7’s drive is said to be more car-like than an SUV. Yet, the cabin has grown bigger inside and has better headroom, knee room and leg space. The dashboard is wrapped in darkbrown leather, with aluminium and wood trim accents. The steering-wheel and switch-gear are new, although familiar. The light beige interior is airy and well conceived, and the layouts are uncluttered. The full-LCD instrumentation and pop-out infotainment screen are other newbies, along with MMI (Multi-Media Interface) based infotainment system that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The 770 litres cargo space, however, is now less by 40 litres, and the full-size spare wheel takes up hell lot of boot space.
In terms of engine, the new Audi Q7 gets the updated 3.0-litre V6 TDI unit pumping out 272 PS and 600 Nm. The injection pressure has been hiked to 2,000 bar and the peak power band is now from 3,250 to 4,250 rpm, with torque peaking from 1,500 rpm. This means that the gravelly note is audible only beyond 3,000rpm. A ZF-made 8-speed DSG automatic drives the Quattro AWD system. No other engine or transmission options are available in the Indian-spec Q7.
Lightweight construction is the next big change, apart from the design. The flagship SUV stands on the second-gen MLB platform, which uses high-strength steel and aluminium, making the car 325 kgs lighter than the out-going model. Audi says that the car takes just 7.1 seconds to clock 100 kmph from idle, and has achieved a whopping 22 percent improvements in fuel efficiency.
To reduce understeering, Audi has introduced a four-wheel steering system in the new Q7. When steering, the rear wheels also get up to 5 degrees of steering input. At slower speeds, they point in a direction opposite to the front wheels to match the effect of a smaller turning radius while at higher speeds the rear wheels point in the same direction as the front to make the car more agile. Further, Audi’s drive select offers five modes to choose from – Comfort, Dynamic, Individual, Allroad, and Offroad Lift.
Audi Q7 is already a big hit with A-listers in India, no doubt. When it was first launched in the country, this SUV took the market by storm. The new Q7 has been transformed from a beefy-looking SUV to a more modern, sleek and even more capable all-roader. Despite the relative lack of road presence, the ease of driving and the sense of lightness work in its favour. It certainly redefines luxury mobility in the opulent seven-seaters segment that includes its close rivals such as the Volvo XC90, BMW X5, Mercedes GL (the upcoming GLS) and the Land Rover Discovery.
Initially, the Q7 will be sold in India as CBU, while local assembly may start at the company’s Aurangabad plant later next year.
Photo Credits: Motortrend, Forbes.com