Alfa Romeo
Land Rover
Audi Q7 3.6 FSI
Q-ing up
February 2007

AUDI'S Q7 was released last year to considerable fanfare, especially when you consider it was the umpteenth premium SUV the Aussie market had seen for the year.

It hit the market with two engines; a 3.0 TDI engine with 171kW and the 4.2 V8 FSI engine with 257kW. From November, a second petrol variant, in the form of a 3.6-litre V6 FSI engine came to our shores.

We've been waiting a wee while to drive the 3.6, but it has been worth the wait. Arguably just on the underpowered side, it actually gets along quite nicely. In fact, you'd swear they could have given it taller gears and make it that bit quicker off the mark.

In any case, it reaches 100km/h from rest in a not-too-shabby 8.5 seconds.

The price of the 3.6 at $84,900 makes it a great choice between it and the 3.0 diesel at $85,700, although the 17.6l/100km/h it chews in the city would make you think twice. And $116,800 for the 4.2 FSI Quattro version now seems rather expensive in comparison.

So what makes this stand out from the crowd?

So how does it go off-road?

I could rabbit on about all day about asymmetric/dynamic torque split, extensive use of aluminium in the double wishbones and the V8's air suspension, but let's just sum up by saying it actually has some pretty good credentials.

Considering the only time you'd probably ever take this off-road is if you asked the salesman to show you, can we make a pact that you'll ask him? Taking the showroom demonstrator up a few hills should see you right. Make sure you buy a different one after that (pick a different colour just to be sure).

The Q7 is available as a 5-seat vehicle, with 6 and 7-seat variants also available. Up to 28 seating configurations are possible. When not being used, the third row of seats can be folded completely flat to allow more floor space, and the seatbelts fold neatly out of the way to minimise any disruption to the rear of the vehicle. The luggage area is a 2035 litres.

Q7 has a some cool gadgets that are certainly worth a mention.

Audi’s multimedia operating interface MMI is a standard feature, with a 7-inch colour television monitor, as is the Audi parking system ‘advanced’ with optical and acoustic guidance and rear-view camera.

When reversing, as you turn the steering wheel the system shows you the curved path you are about to take.

If you tow a trailer this thing would make you look like a king. Not only would you be able to create the perfect arc to swing around to hitch up, but you could see the towbar and put it within a 20-cent piece of the right spot. And the whole time you could be pretending to be putting in a Hank Williams CD.

Then there is the side assist with radar technology for lane-changing manoeuvres and the latest-generation Audi cruise control with braking guard, which decelerates the Audi Q7 and brings it to a standstill if required.

Hill Descent is also standard, as are eight airbags, 18-inch alloy wheels, ABS, climate control, etc etc etc etc.

Optional extras are sunroof, Xenon adaptive lights, and tyre pressure monitoring system.

The only thing we didn't like about the latest Q7 was the turning circle which we felt was a little wide.

And the only other point of note was that the passenger side windscreen wiper arm exploded mid Summer storm which made for a cautious ride to the nearest Audi dealer, who assured us this was the first time they had heard of it.


SEATS: up to 7

ENGINE: 3.6-litre

POWER: 206kW @ 6200rpm

TORQUE: 360Nm @ 5000rpm

TRANSMISSION: 6-speed tiptronic automatic transmission with Sport mode

FUEL ECONOMY: 9.8l/100km highway; 17.6 city


TOWING: 3500kg braked (five seater)

PROS: Surprising price for an Audi badge; everything you've come to expect from Audi

CONS: Latest in a long line of premium SUVs; turning circle