New Audi Q7 makes statementFriday, May 29, 2020
WHEN it comes to seven-seat sport utility vehicles (SUV), the Audi Q7 is easily the best of the bunch. However, even though it has the ability to handle three rows of human cargo, that hasn't stopped the brand from not resting on its laurels with the new 2020 model.
The exterior is drawn from the sportier Q8 for some fresh looks. Full LED headlights, tail lights and the new octagon-shaped single- frame grill blend well with the longer, stately body lines necessary for the Q7 to handle the third row of passengers.
Approach the Q7 and keyless entry on all four doors simplifies things. Open any door and Audi's four rings light the way as do the scuff plates with their illuminated S logo. Day or night, the Q7's new interior is that combination of classic styling and future tech. Those looking for old-school luxury will appreciate the high-quality materials used all over the cabin. Metal and gloss black accents create a very clean design language. The Q7 is able to do this because it's the future incarnate. Look a bit closer and one will realise that cleanliness is allowed because the Audi is all about digital input. There are no buttons to clutter the dashboard and centre console. Those that are there, are for necessity. This makes using the Q7 comparable to using the bridge of the fictional Starship Enterprise.
Turn on the vehicle and one is greeted by the Audi Virtual Cockpit Plus – 12.3 inches of high-resolution display in the binnacle. In the centre of the dash are two main touch screens, an upper 10.1-inch unit and a lower 8.6-inch, both with physical feedback. Any person who has ever owned a smartphone, tablet, or laptop will have no problems operating the Audi Multimedia Interface. Touch, pinch or swipe the two main screens to access all the main features, or do it from the steering wheel-mounted buttons, natural voice command and, in several cases, the hand-written input option. Even the rear temperature controls are touch-sensitive. All major functions can be set to operate automatically, and then some.
There's plenty of space for everyone and their accoutrements. Access to the third row is just a button press away from inside the vehicle or the trunk where you can not only lower the seats, but raise them as well. As a matter of fact, with its air suspension one can raise and lower the entire vehicle should the Q7 be too high when loading cargo into the rear. Slip back the panoramic sunroof and the Audi is a very nice place to be for all seven passengers.
The Q7 has always been a pleasure to drive and equipped with the six-cylinder, turbocharged V6, it's moved up the performance scale quite a bit. In “Dynamic” mode, the Q7 jumps from dead quiet to a jet fighter, all the while cruising on its afterburner. This is helped along by an enthusiastic eight-speed transmission that doesn't hesitate to dig deep into the engine's power reserves for maximum forward thrust. Yet, all this speed never upsets the Q7. The air suspension that keeps occupants blissfully unaware of the crumbling road network beneath the 20-inch wheels continues to isolate the Audi at speed. It floats over rough patches and stays unbelievably planted in the turns, more so than an SUV of its size has any right to be. The brakes match, scrubbing off speed repeatedly and inspiring confidence at triple-digit velocities.
On the face of just having seven real seats puts the 2020 Audi Q7 already in rarefied air in the local market. Tack on the technology and the physics-defying driving dynamics and the Q7, short of a private jet, is the best way to get seven passengers from point A to B, while still throwing in some fun for the enthusiastic driver.
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