I’ve always thought the Audi Q7 was an impressive bit of kit, though not always the most attractive of SUVs – at least not the first-generation model. It was all a bit frumpy and bulbous at both ends.
The second-gen improved the overall profile dramatically, with a sleeker look and stance when it dropped in 2015.
Things got better again with a 2020 revision, which added styling tweaks including the latest Audi grille, new front and rear bumpers, side sills, and advanced lighting technology including Matrix LED headlights and ‘cool’ animated turn signals at the rear.
Indeed, Audi has always led the way when it comes to lighting technology and light signatures.
Luxury levels were also enhanced with standard air suspension (a game-changer as far as ride comfort goes), and a completely overhauled cabin boasting three screens and loads more kit.
The core line-up gained mild-hybrid powertrains, including the 55 TFSI turbo V6 that slots in below the flagship SQ7.
Like all core Q7 variants, the 55 TSFI makes use of the marque’s 48V mild-hybrid technology, while the top-spec SQ7 now comes with a twin-turbo petrol V8 engine sans electrified assistance.
As such, the V6 55 TFSI is the fastest Q7 model in the range (bar the SQ7), able to scoot from 0-100km/h in 5.9 seconds, easily outpacing its 50 TDI sibling (6.5s).
Our tester looked the goods in its Navarra Blue metallic paint job, but made to look more imposing again with the optional Black styling package that effectively cloaks the grille, front and rear bumpers, side skirt inserts and roof spoiler.
It may not seem like much, but it really does add a dollop of exclusivity to the seven-seat Audi.
The 2022 Audi Q7 55 TSI quattro S line is priced from $128,300 before on-road costs, which effectively amounts to a $4400 bump in price when it came on sale in 2021.
It’s priced the same as its equivalent diesel-powered sibling, the Q7 50 TDI quattro S line, but significantly less than the SQ7 TFSI flagship which is offered from $164,400 excluding on-road costs.
However, the Q7 range kicks off with the Q7 45 TDI quattro with a lower-output 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel from $109,100 (again a $4000 increase on 2021 prices).
Our tester was also fitted with the following options:
- Black exterior styling package: $1450
- Provision for trailer towing hitch: $1500
- Metallic paint: $2300
- Dynamic all-wheel steering: $2750
The additional options taking the price of our tester to $136,300 before on-road costs.
Meanwhile, rival makes and models include those listed above; BMW X5 xDrive40i M Sport ($127,900), Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 ($129,181), Range Rover Sport P400 SE ($132,970) and the entry-level Porsche Cayenne ($128,100).
All prices exclude on-road costs.
No doubt about it, inside the Q7 55 TSFI S line is an opulent place to be, with some of the most comfortable armchair-like seats in the business that strikes just the right balance between sumptuous cushioning and bolstered support.
For a decade or more Audi led the pack when it came to luxury car interiors, boasting an array of expensive-looking soft-touch materials and brushed metal accents. Rivals eventually caught up, but the Q7 55 TFSI is exactly what the doctor ordered with its seamless blend of aluminium, piano black, and tasteful ambient lighting.
You also get three large digital displays covering everything from the driver’s instrument binnacle (12.3-inch) to a separate touchscreen for the whole gamut of climate-control functions (8.6-inch). The infotainment touchscreen measures 10.1-inches and sits neatly atop the 8.6-inch unit, unlike the current trend that sees screens that simply float on top of the dash.
As impressive as this cabin looks, I’d argue it’s not the most contemporary tech in the business, at least not at this end of the luxury scale. Rivals like BMW and Mercedes-Benz have moved onto larger, crystal-clear, dual-screen setups in either flat or curved configurations for a pseudo-futuristic look and feel.
The Q7 55 TFSI S line also adds an excellent head-up display that to my mind adds an additional level of safety, given there’s no need to look down to check your speed, or indeed, directions while using navigation.
In the interest of de-clutter there aren’t many dials or buttons. In fact, we count just once volume dial and only haptic-feedback buttons, and while they work well enough, mostly, still aren’t as good as the physical kind in my view.
I’ve always liked the driving position in the Q7 – you sit relatively deep-set into the vehicle, a bit like Range Rover’s so-called ‘Command’ driving position. It really does feel like a custom fit just for you once you adjust all the variables such as steering wheel position and seat height.
Like its Porsche Cayenne cousin, the big Audi feels solidly built with bucket-loads of space in all areas including abundant elbow room, extravagant rear-seat leg space and plentiful headroom even for those giants amongst us, there’s plenty for all inside the Q7.
It’s also a versatile space, too, with a convenient seven-seat configuration – of which all five rear seats fold dead flat, as well as sliding fore and aft on rails for proper load-carrying configurability.
Moreover, both rear seat rows can be accessed via electrically-operated switches from the left-hand side of the luggage bay.
Yes, the third row seating can be difficult to access unless you’re junior gymnast or a mature yoga instructor, but the seats themselves are ample enough for adults given the level of cushioning, width and cupholders.
For second-row passengers there’s individual climate control with heated and cooled seats and a relatively low transmission tunnel hump to make things more comfortable for the middle-seat passenger.
Even with all three rows in play, there’s still a very decent 295 litres of boot space. When folded, luggage capacity opens up to 770 litres. With both rear-seat rows folded, the Q7 effectively morphs into a high-riding station wagon, boasting a massive 2050 litres of carrying capacity.
The 55 TFSI uses a 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 petrol developing 250kW at 6400rpm and 500Nm from just 1370rpm through to 4500rpm for genuine smile-inducing shove. Mind, it’s no rocket ship like its full-fat RSQ8 sibling, but 0-100km/h in 5.9 seconds isn’t exactly slow for a family bus.
Drive is sent to a quattro all-wheel drive system via an eight-speed torque converter automatic transmission.
By way of comparison, the equivalent Q7 50 TDI S line diesel which uses the same 3.0-litre displacement, makes 210kW and 600Nm for a 0-100km/h sprint time of 6.1 seconds.
But, for those buyers who want to seriously up the ante with V8 power in their Audi family hauler, there’s the range-topping SQ7 TFSI armed with a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol producing 373kW of power and 770Nm of torque. It’ll run the zero to 100km/h sprint in a scorching 4.1 seconds flat.
Audi claims the Q7 55 TSFI can achieve fuel consumption of 9.4L/100km on the combined WLTP test cycle, and while that might be possible in Auto or Comfort modes, we had too much fun in Dynamic, which pushed consumption up to an average of 16.3L/100km (indicated).
I’m a sucker for Audi’s black-pigmented Navarra Blue with Black exterior styling package, I only wish it included the model badging for a tad more exclusivity and ‘cool’ factor. The point being, I like the look of this thing, which tends to put a smile on my face before I even hop in.
That said, there’s nothing light-on about the way Q7 55 TFSI goes. While it’s not an all-out hot-rod like the manic RSQ8, the silky-smooth 90-degree V6 delivers genuine oomph when called upon to blitz a slow-moving car or swiftly ascend up a steep climb.
It’s not just the V6 at work here, either, it’s also the smooth-shifting eight-speed auto transmission its paired with that seems to maintain its unruffled character even under a proper boot-full of throttle. It’s quite impressive. No wonder there are plenty of Q7’s wearing black-and-white ‘HC’ plates.
Scroll through to dynamic mode and things become noticeably more urgent, with a rorty engine note to match the climb in revs. Even at low speed, though, it’s not nervous like some rivals in this class behave in the early morning rush hour. Clearly, the Q7 55 TFSI skews to comfort and refinement, even when you’re pushing on.
It’s a little more rigid in the chassis department, but you won’t mind it for the sound body control that comes with it. It’s uncanny how confidently you can hustle the big Audi through a series of roundabouts or through a fast sweeper. It doesn’t feel like you’re piloting a five-metre-plus minibus in this scenario – more like a Porsche Macan.
There’s decent weight in the steering, too. It’s not particularly quick, but it suits the size of the Q7, especially one like our tester – fitted with Dynamic all-wheel steering – which makes light work of tight turns and parking spots.
And, never mind the rain, because the Q7 55 TFSI doesn’t miss a beat. It might sound like an ad, but any Audi wearing a quattro badge is simply unshakable in the wet. You can stand on the throttle and there’s no loss or grip or hooligan-style wheelspin – just bucket loads of grip and unflappable traction on hand.
And that’s before we start raving on about the ride, which is simply sublime thanks to standard adaptive air-suspension. The comfort setting is self-explanatory and provides maximum bump-crushing luxury over almost any size storm-effect potholes, even wearing 21-inch alloy wheels.
There’s a real sense of limousine status behind the wheel of the this rather substantial seven-seater, given its blend of power, prestige and sheer unadulterated comfort. In fact, we’d say it’s the absolute sweet spot in the Q7 range if you want something a little bit special without paying the big bucks.
Q7 55 TFSI quattro S line highlights:
- 21-inch alloy wheels
- Adaptive air suspension
- Aluminium roof rails
- Matrix LED headlights with dynamic front and rear indicators*
- 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment screen
- 8.6-inch touchscreen display for climate control functions
- Apple CarPlay (wireless)
- Android Auto (wired)
- DAB+ digital radio
- Satellite navigation
- Audi connect plus services
- 12.3-inch Audi virtual cockpit plus
- Wireless phone charger*
- Tri-zone climate control
- Keyless entry and start
- Power tailgate
- Electric luggage compartment cover*
- Silver-grey dash inlays
- Leather upholstery
- Power-adjustable heated Sport front seats with driver memory
- Power-folding, heated exterior mirrors
- Auto-dimming rear-view mirror
- Heated windscreen washers
- Rain-sensing wipers
- Paddle shifters
- Panoramic glass sunroof
- Electric steering column adjustment*
- Head-up display
- Four-zone climate control
- Aluminium spectrum dash inlays
- S line front and rear bumpers
- Privacy glass
- 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen premium sound system with 730 watts
- Matte brushed aluminium dash inlays
- Colour-adjustable interior ambient lighting
- Front sports seat
- Valcona leather upholstery with embossed S logo
* Due to ongoing component shortages, certain standard and optional equipment is not available to order
The 2022 Audi Q7 range, depending on the variant, is available in the following exterior finishes:
- Carrara White
- Glacier White metallic
- Floret Silver metallic
- Samurai Grey metallic
- Mythos Black metallic
- Galaxy Blue metallic
- Navarra Blue metallic
- Matador Red metallic
- Daytona Grey pearl
For most models, metallic and pearl paints cost an additional $2300. However, all paint options come at no cost for the flagship SQ7 TFSI.
The Audi Q7 range wears a five-star ANCAP safety rating based on tests conducted in 2019.
The Q7 scored 92 per cent in adult occupant protection, 87 per cent in child occupant protection, 71 per cent in vulnerable road user protection, and 71 per cent in safety assist.
Standard safety equipment includes:
- Autonomous emergency braking (AEB)
- Vehicle to Vehicle up to 250km/h
- Pedestrian detection (up to 85km/h)
- Junction assist
- Adaptive cruise assist
- Adaptive cruise control with stop/go
- Lane guidance assist
- Traffic jam assist
- Blind-spot assist
- Rear cross-traffic assist
- Lane-keep assist
- Attention assist
- Surround-view cameras
- Semi-autonomous parking assist
- Tyre pressure monitor
- Seat belt reminders for all seven seats
- 8 airbags
- incl. rear side airbags
- incl. curtain airbags for 3rd row
The Q7, like every new Australian Audi vehicle delivered from January 1, 2022, is covered by a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty. Audi also provides a 12-year manufacturer warranty for bodywork corrosion.
Audi currently offers a five-year service plan package for the Q7 range advertised for $3410.
Visits to the petrol bowser are also less frequent than you might imagine, given the Q7 benefits from a long-haul 85-litre fuel tank.
At $128,300 before on-road costs, the Q7 55 TFSI quattro S line is no small amount of money.
But for a properly luxurious family hauler that nails the sweet spot when it comes to equal measures of performance, ride and handling – not to mention its people-mover attributes – it seems like very decent value for money.
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