People who buy flagship luxury SUVs and sedans are almost always those who have established themselves and are in the pinnacle of their personal and professional lives. That’s why the exterior styling of these automobiles are often understated and largely free of superfluous trim. You don’t really want the styling of your car screaming “money” when you’re a corporate bigwig or head of state, right? Unless you love big gold necklaces and pendants to match an oversized gold watch studded with precious stones, you’d probably just want a gleaming chrome emblem to do all the talking. And for those who buy Audi, those four gleaming interlocking rings walk the talk well enough.

Keeping it simple. But even among the pantheon of very expensive luxury automobiles, Audi may be the one who consistently rolls out the cleanest and most minimalist styling of all. Take the Audi Q7, for instance. It’s already the biggest Q model in Audi’s range—at least until the Q8 comes along. And with a starting price of P6,690,000, it puts itself in the stratosphere of true high-end luxury automobiles.

But for many people who want their SUV to have that macho swagger, the Q7’s clean, gimmick-free lines may be too understated. There are no sensuous curves or character lines, no radical angles, no muscular flared fenders, no extraneous vents—just a tidy and harmonious union of Teutonic shapes and silhouettes that form a fairly large two-box automobile.

Tried-and-tested formula. And it works brilliantly. In a world where similarly expensive sedans and SUVs are rendered “old” when a new model comes out, Audi’s highly familial styling becomes more timeless. That’s probably why even 10-year-old Audis still look fresh and new. And the genius here is that wizards from Ingolstadt manage to endow each new model—and the latest Q7, in particular—with enough upscale road presence to set it apart from mass-market models.

For instance, the sculpted Singleframe grille dominates the front of this luxury SUV, with the daytime running lights forming a distinctive double-arrow pattern in the headlight unit. The tailgate with standard LED rear lights wraps around the upright D pillars. Inlays with the quattro logo in the door trim strips structure the lower part of the vehicle sides.

No less than eponymous American car magazine Car and Driver hailed the Audi Q7 as the Best Luxury SUV in the 2017 10 Best Trucks and SUVs. According to C and D, the Audi Q7 stands out as it best combines the ability to tackle practical jobs and boasts of luxury trimmings worthy of its price.

They praised the Audi Virtual Cockpit offered in the Q7 which for them outraces other luxury brands’ tech features. The 12.3-inch Audi infotainment display is specifically described as a “groundbreaking, configurable interface” since analog gauges with TFT screens were created. The Virtual Cockpit also boasts full LED headlights and a surround–view camera system.

Smooth ride. On Metro Manila’s frequently broken road surfaces, the Audi Q7’s Adaptive Chassis package with air springs and the rock-solid structure of the luxury SUV came in handy for raising the vehicle’s ride quality. Riding the Q7 was like riding on a pillow of air it soaks up bumps, cracks, and potholes.

The Audi Q7 delivers more than enough dynamic composure for genuine fun one might be looking for in a luxury SUV.

The electromechanical power steering and versatile Audi drive select system are standard. The vehicle can also be equipped with the optional adaptive air suspension. The Audi Q7 also comes with the standard quattro all-wheel drive, the permanent distribution of the drive force to all four wheels. This enables handling stability, dynamism and agility, and increased traction and superior propulsive power.

Light, bright, and spacious. Thanks to Audi’s strict adherence to the principle of lightweight design, the curb weight of the base version is kept under two tons—a notable achievement given the sheer size of the vehicle and the amount of features and technologies it holds inside. The body alone saves 71 kilograms thanks to the innovative multi-material construction with numerous aluminum parts.

The all-new second-generation Q7 also shines with innovative solutions in the areas of lightweight design, drive system, suspension, infotainment, and assistance systems. Its spacious interior is highly configurable. The cabin feels like a luxurious lounge. A broad continuous air vent strip runs across the front of the cockpit in the passenger area. It ensures a very good interior climate with the optional 4-zone air conditioning system. A large selection of high-quality, two-piece inlays underscore the horizontal lines.

The Audi Q7 also boasts a majestic ambient lighting that uses LEDs exclusively. Ultra-narrow light guides follow the contours on the instrument panel and in the doors (including exit warning) as well as in the center tunnel console.

The Audi Q7 offers seven seats as standard accommodating passengers in full-sized luxury, space, and comfort, and impressing throughout with premium workmanship. The electrically folding third row can be raised or lowered at the push of a button, making it easy to adjust the seating arrangement when needed.

Driver and front passenger can input characters on the large touchpad surface, and they can zoom and scroll using multi-finger gestures. With each input, the finger gets tactile feedback. The whole MMI control logic is similar to that of a smartphone, including the intelligent free-text search function. The voice control system recognizes inputs made using everyday language, such as: “I’m hungry.” The top-of-the-line infotainment system in the Audi Q7, MMI navigation plus, uses the second-generation modular infotainment module with its outstanding computing power.

Safety first. Last, but certainly not least, the European Euro NCAP consortium has awarded the new Audi Q7 with the top grade of five stars for safety. The results for adult protection in frontal and side impact collisions, pedestrian protection and child safety put the current Q7 among the safest cars in its category. The testers give the new Audi Q7 the top grade of five stars for safety. The results for the rear passengers in a frontal impact collision show that not just the driver and front passenger in the Audi Q7 are very well protected, the rear passengers are, too.


VERDICT

All things considered, the Audi Q7 is way more than the sum of its formidably high number of parts. It’s an exceedingly capable sport utility vehicle that superbly manages to combine extremely high levels of luxury and comfort with cutting-edge technology and safety.


SPECIFICATIONS

ENGINE: DTV6, 3.oL Diesel

TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic transmission with manual mode

DRIVE: All-wheel

SUSPENSION (F/R): Double wishbone/Independent spring

TIRES: 255/60 R18

BRAKES (F/R): Vented discs with ABS and EBD

L x W x H (mm): 5,052 x 1,968 x 1,740

WHEELBASE (mm): 2,994

OTHER FEATURES: Front and rear parking sensors; Push start button; Power steering; Power windows; Steering wheel audio control; Roof rack; Bluetooth connectivity system; 8.3” Display with Audi Sound System; 4-zone Automatic Climate Control; Stability Control; Driver, front-passenger, side, and curtain airbags

PRICE: P6,690,000

Test: Audi Q7 3.0 TDI
DESIGN8.8
BUILD QUALITY9.3
DRIVEABILITY9.3
PERFORMANCE9
VALUE FOR MONEY8.8
9Overall Score

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