The advent of summer bought the largest and most luxurious SUV in the Audi India line-up to my doorstep. Having recently driven the smaller Q3, I was looking forward to driving an SUV which is due for a generation overhaul this year. This second generation Q7 is based on the Volkswagen MLB 2 Platform which made it lighter than its outgoing predecessor.

The moment you set your eyes on the Q7 it screams luxury and class all the way. The chiselled sleek shape works well, now you have a SUV that is aerodynamic. How SUV’s have come to be designed in the last few years! The grille at the front is a one-piece hexagonal design, with LED Matrix headlights.C INT 1.jpgWalk around the car and you notice how sharp it looks with its prominent wheel arches with a smooth shoulder line running across. Quattro has been embossed on the inlay strips at the bottom of the door to complete the look. The car drives on 19 inch 5-spoke wheels.

Step inside and you are greeted with a beautifully designed cabin. The front seats are comfortable, plush to seat on and offer very good under thigh support.  The driver’s seat is completely electric adjustable. The tall stance of the Q7 offers a great view to the front seat passengers while driving.C INT 3.jpgThe dashboard carries a walnut brown finish which is highlighted in brush metal. Classy and sophisticated are the words that come to mind when describing the layout.

There are hardly any buttons present on the dashboard. Most of the infotainment operations are managed by a bunch of toggles, a circular dial and touch-pad. The gear knob is as thick as they come. The level of comfort for the 2nd row of passengers with very good leg and shoulder room. The individual seat in this row can slide forward to provide more room to passengers in the 3rd row.

The 3rd row is okay for a passenger who’s short and small in build. Taller passengers wouldn’t be comfortable with the space on offer.The storage space in the boot goes up to 1,995 litres when the second row is dropped down. That more than enough space to carry luggage for a family trip cross country.C INT 2.jpgThe spare wheel is a space saver which is vertically strapped in the boot. This makes most of the 3rd row space unusable, reduces storage space in the boot.

As is the norm with Audi cars the Q7 comes with a slew of features. Large panoramic sunroof; auto ORVM (Outer Rear View Mirror) with dimming, folding and heating system with memory, electrically adjustable front seats, a 4-zone climate control, 7-inch touch-screen that slides out of the dashboard, matrix headlamps with intelligent covering lights, air-suspension, 8 airbags and half a dozen driving modes make up the package the Audi Q7 offers.C INT 4.jpgThe sound system comes with Bose 3D surround music system, rear parking camera, 360-degree view camera, park assist technology. The steering wheel is equipped with multi functions buttons to help the driver navigate around the infotainment system and the Audi virtual cockpit which gives out information about the car, engine, distance travelled, fuel range etc.

Under the hood is a 3.0 litre V6 diesel engine that offers 249PS and 600 NM of torque. The 8-speed automatic gearbox torque converter sends power to all four wheels using Audi’s quattro 4×4 system.C 5.jpgThe moment you press the engine start button and get moving the power this engine offers is obvious. The Q7 can get to 100kmph in under 8 seconds which is terrific considering its size. Its moves sharply, is easy to drive in city traffic. You don’t feel the bulk and size which is testimony to how well Audi has designed this SUV. There are various driving modes on offer such as Comfort, Dynamic, Off-road, All road for different driving conditions.

The V6 engine is refined and very smooth. For the city the mode one would prefer is the comfort mode, where the car moves around in a relaxed and calm fashion to give you a plush driving experience.

The moment you get on the highway and switch to Dynamic mode, the power delivery, steering feedback and suspension setup goes through a transformation. The gearbox as one would expect in an Audi is smooth, upshifts and downshifts are seamless. For the enthusiast who wants to drive in the manual mode you get paddle shifters which are great fun on empty stretches of highway.C7.jpgThe Q7 comes with Hill Decent Control and Hill Start Assist which helps when going down slopes and on an incline. The NVH levels in the car are very good. No noise from outside filters in. The air suspension in the SUV offers brilliant drive quality, adapts quickly to changes in direction.

If 5-star style driving luxury is what you hanker, look no further. The Q7 is waiting for you.C 6.jpgThe Q7 prices start at Rs 73 lakhs ex showroom Mumbai for the 40 TFSI Quattro Premium Plus Petrol and Rs 77 lakhs ex showroom Mumbai for the 45 TDI Quattro Premium Plus Diesel.

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sanjeev joshi

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