December 2015

The Audi Q7 is a huge SUV with competition from Mercedes, BMW and even the latest Volvo XC90. We’ve waited a while for the brand new Q7, to see if it can still bark with the big dogs, so what is the verdict.

I have not attended the Audi Q7 launch when the brand new model landed here a few months ago, so when reading the press release I thought to myself that Audi has lost the plot and that all the other manufacturers with their new models have left the Q7 in their dust, especially the Volvo XC90. I can remember when the first Q7 arrived here years ago, it had all the bells & whistles that we never heard of, even “blind-spot exterior mirrors”, wow what an invention … That was then, nowadays we don’t even mention that when testing a car, because just about every car has it. How time has flown and technology with it?

Back to business and I planned my test of the Audi Q7 to be something special, not just to live with it for a week. Then the right occasion came along, to spend four days in the scorching heat of the Karoo, to be more specific Prince Albert and surrounds. As usual Cindi Harding was ever too helpful and scheduled the perfect vehicle for us, a five-seater Audi Q7 TDi.

Before started packing the luggage for the few days away I studied the option list fitted to the car, which includes stuff like Matrix LED headlights @ R38 500, Adaptive Air suspension, 20” 10-spoke alloy wheels, Bose sound, Ambient lighting and many more, with the Electrically heated and foldable mirrors the least expensive @ R2 950. Total options fitted came to R222 800, which pushed the basic price of R924 000 up to a whopping R1 146 800, a lot of money for a motor car.

We left Cape Town around 08h00 and thanks to the adaptive speedo-cruise it makes life behind the wheel a breeze. With all the speed cameras around we set the speedo-cruise at 130km/h. When we stopped in Laingsburg for a latish breakfast, a number of other motorists and people enquired about the familiar looking Q7, but yet a new refreshed design. I can quickly add that the dimensions of the Audi tells you that it is a huge car, but once on the go it feels like you can just as well drive a Q5. The 3.0 litre turbo diesel engine purrs along lazily at 120/130 km/h, but should you need to take a gap and need to overtake in a hurry, it is just a matter of put your foot down and before you know the speedo runs past the 200km/h mark, a real beast I would say.

All too soon the drive was over and we got to our guest cottage in Prince Albert around lunch time. After a quick ‘snooze’ it was time to hit the town and many more inquisitive looks and questions about the big Audi. Immediately you can gauge that people find an interest in the car, although there are many competitors out there.

The next day we took a drive up Swartberg Pass and even halfway down to “Die Hel” and I am sure that we could’ve made it all the way down to “Die Hel” if we really wanted to … maybe next time. After our stay in Prince Albert, stocked with a huge cooler box full of yoghurt, cheese and other dairy products and a lot of olive oil, we drove via Meiringspoort and Oudtshoorn to Mossel Bay.

There the staff at the local car wash could not get away from the car once I started to show all the features of the car to the manager. The drive home was ‘un-eventful’ but very luxurious, as only a Audi can give. Our average fuel consumption after 1 230 kilometres was 8.4 litres per 100km with a best of 6.9 litres per 100km along the way, which is excellent for such a beast. Power was far more than ample and this car will never even feel a trailer, or something else behind when towing.

To go into what the Audi Q7 offers and the specification list will take a whole day and 2 000 words, so we are not even going into it. What we can confirm is we love that ‘big car’ feeling and it is super comfortable and luxury, yet it is immensely frugal for what it offers. Another nice feature and worth mentioning is the ‘coast’ feature where the gearbox actually disengage and free-wheeling when coasting.

I said earlier that the R1 146 800 asking price with all the options fitted was ludicrous, BUT I can quickly add that it is worth every cent and a car that you can live with for many years to come.

The latest buzz word is the new Volvo XC90 and how it has moved the goal posts with their 2.0litre engines, well I can state that if I have to pick between the two the Audi Q7 will win and take my money, especially here in Africa where we still need the cubic inches. It is so noticeable to drive the bigger capacity Audi on the open road after we tested the Volvo a month, or two ago. Thanks again Cindi, you have given me the perfect SUV to travel the open roads.  

©@leisure All rights reserved. Designed by Lexi Fontein Design Creations. Web development by the wub.