New Delhi | Jagran Auto Desk (Anirban Mitra): From politicians to sports personalities, business tycoons to celebrities, the Audi Q7 for years has been a top-of-the-line SUV pick for who's who of the country. Returning for a brief hiatus, the market dynamics for the Q7 facelift are no more the same.

Q7 is subordinate to the opulent, flagship Q8, which in fact is an imported offering. Like most other Audi models, the Q7 is a petrol-only option now. What's encouraging at the outset of 2022, obviously besides the return of locally-assembled Q7, is the company's healthy 100% sales growth last year on the back of a slew of new launches.

Audi Q7 looks

For starters, it's just a facelift that was supposed to hit our shores much earlier. Audi is streamlining the design of its new SUVs. The Q7 has much in common design cues with the facelifted Q5 that was made available a few months ago.

The six sleek chrome lines on the octagonal grille, flanked by familial matrix LED headlights are fresh to the Q7. Compared to the earlier model, Q7's boxy design is somewhat dissolved visually with a greater incline of the D-pillar. In the same vein, this new stance of Q7 would lose a few points to Mercedes-Benz GLE in terms of sheer road presence.

Side body cladding and the roof rails add muscle to the stance and the new pattern of the 19-inch alloys resonate with the typical sophisticated flair of Audi. The great level of detailing of the connected tail lights are equally interesting as the front and the tailgate gets the automatic swipe feature, which is also there in Q5.

Audi Q7 interior and features

The cricket leather upholstery looks bright and fresh under the panoramic sunroof. The cabin is bestowed with 4-zone cooling, ambient lighting and full-blown Bang & Olufsen stereo.

A top-drawer feature is the triple screens (infotainment, driver's display and climate switch) around the driver, which marks the departure of knobs and buttons for control. Decorative wooden inlays on the dashboard accentuate the overall premium quotient.

Available in two trims, the pricier one will unlock a 360-degree camera, semi-autonomous driving features like park assistance, and lane departure warning.

Audi Q7 drive experience:

The 3-litre, turbocharged petrol is at the helm of affairs. There is no hybrid impetus to this V6 engine, unlike the Mercedes-Benz GLS or Volvo XC90. The engine is capable of cranking 340 horsepower and 500 Nm of peak torque and is mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox.

To begin with, this TFSI petrol engine will offer no initial torque rush or jaw-dropping mileage like the TDi of the past but will guarantee greater fun and cleaner emissions every time you go for a spin. The refinement of the engine is appreciable, and torque ascends progressively from 1,800 rpm. The rev needle climbs up cleanly, showing greater enthusiasm to be driven spiritedly than most other three-row premium SUVs at the price point Q7 trades in.

Unless you are in a mood to cut corners, the paddle shifters will be barely put to use. The 7-speed DSG transmission is more than capable of grooving with the driver's input on the accelerator. The Audi drive select toggles between multiple modes to alter the engine and transmission response, along with other drivetrain factors.

Q7 packs Audi's famed all-wheel-drive Quattro, where the engine sends out power to both the axles in tandem. Resultantly, the grip is excellent, the feedback on the steering wheel is energetic even in the comfort drive mode. However, there is a minor degree of body roll due to the proportions of the SUV.

The adaptive suspensions are standard in Q7, which alter the stance of the SUV and thereby the ground clearance. The ride quality is supple for most parts and the dampers consume potholes and road undulations with much ease. The longevity of air suspensions, however, is always a matter of contention. The NVH levels are decently-engineered to cocoon the passengers on laidback, long-distance trips.

Verdict:

No diesel; petrol and electrification are the way forward for the Audi AG. Slowly and steadily the volumes are building on the back of new products introduced in the last 24 months. The Audi Q7 should be on the roads by February, boasting a price tag of Rs 80 lakh (ex-showroom) and upwards. It's well-packaged, drives like an Audi and will be up for an exciting contest against BMW X5, Volvo XC90 and Mercedes-Benz GLE.

Posted By: Mukul Sharma