The devil, tuned – Upgrades to the seven-seat 4×4 mean you can now go to hell in a mild-hybrid handcart.
2020 AUDI Q7 55 TFSI S-LINE TYPE 4M
Put to one side for a moment the notion of SUVs being the work of the devil. If you can look beyond that, then you should doff your cap to Audi’s incredible feat of engineering. For something this big, the Q7 is a remarkably enjoyable, engaging and practical car. And it’s just been made even better, with some mid-life tweaks that involve more than just throwing some more chrome at it, changing the grille and sticking on some new lights.
While that has all been done in order to make the Q7’s suit even sharper, the bigger news is in the cabin, where the Q8’s dashboard has been crowbarred into place, and under the bonnet, where the SQ7’s 48-volt mild hybrid system has been applied across the range.
On the move there’s no disguising the Q7’s width, but the 55 TFSI’s combination of 3.0-litre V6 petrol, rear-wheel steering and adjustable air suspension makes for a more agile yet comfortable experience than seems plausible for a car this size. It flattens bumps and remains incredibly hushed on any road surface.
Tweak the driving experience via various modes through the Drive Select buttons (if you can spot them lurking beneath the lower touchscreen). Dynamic has its moments, but this is a big bus and it’s at its best in Comfort, where the standard air suspension does a fine job of soaking up bumps. We’ve tried the optional sportier air suspension, but this produces an unhelpfully fidgety ride, so stick with the standard set-up.
The biggest negative on our test drive was a change that you’d doubtless get used to if you lived with the car every day. The old combination of rotary MMI controller and central info screen has gone, replaced by two touchscreens, in addition to the excellent Virtual Cockpit instruments. All three displays are bright, crisp and brimming with data, not to mention all manner of things to tweak and fiddle with.
It’ll take a while to learn where everything is, and for your first few journeys it will be hard to resist the temptation to fiddle on the move. The Q7 has up to 30 driver assistance systems, but you really wouldn’t want to try them all at once.
Little needed changing, and the MMI should have been left alone, but mild hybrids are real progress
THE FIRST HOUR
What an intimidating grille
Quiet. Wafty. Standard air suspension already a good move
Finally got all these new screens set up how I want them
Why aren’t more SUVs powerful V6s like this one? Silky smooth, too
Barely 30mpg on a keen drive. That’s why. Maybe diesel is best
PLUS + Supremely quiet and tech-heavy cabin; impeccable quality
MINUS – Fiddly touchscreens; fidgety (optional) sports air suspension
Inside, the Q8’s dash. Outside, new bumpers and tailpipes. Just out of shot: blazing hellfire
2020 Audi Q7 55 TFSI quattro S line 4M
PRICE £80,000 (est for 55 TFSI S-line – range from £61,500)
POWERTRAIN 2995cc 24v V6, eight-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
MAX POWER 335bhp @ 5000rpm,
MAX TORQUE 368lb ft @ 1370rpm,
MAX SPEED 155mph
ON SALE September 2019
EFFICIENCY 31mpg (est),
CO2 (est) 207g/km