Audi has recently released the slightly face-lifted Audi Q7 3.0 TDI. Mechanically, the refreshed Q7 is very similar to the outgoing model, which means the 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel still puts out 240bhp and 56kgm of torque and sends power to all four wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission.
What’s new in this car is the new brake energy recovery system. It’s functioning is based on one principle, when you brake or when you are coasting, the kinetic energy you are carting is converted into electrical energy and temporarily stored in the on-board electrical system battery. When you accelerate hard, the stored charge in the battery supports the car’s electrical system, reducing the load on the alternator and marginally improving fuel economy. At least, that’s the theory. All Q7s now get this feature. The system works so non-intrusively that if you weren’t told about it, you wouldn’t realise it’s there.
On the exterior, the Audi has received new headlights and even sports Audi’s LED daytime running lights. The turn indicators are now LEDs, there’s the subtle redesign for the grille, notably the thick chrome vertical highlights, the front and rear bumpers and their under-protectors are marginally altered, the door mouldings are new as are the tail-lights, which are now LEDs.
On the inside, the small upgrades to the well-constructed interior allow it to keep pace with the ever-rising standards in this area. Improvements can be seen in the overall appearance and finish of the instruments and switchgear. What’s more is the new interior mood-lighting and the latest version of the MMI infotainment system which comes with a 10GB internal hard-drive.
We are happy that the designers at Audi haven’t tweaked around with the qualities we loved about the Q7. The functional interiors, the armchair-like seats and the smooth, refined diesel engine are exactly how we remember them. This car came with the standard 18-inch wheels and we can confirm that these are the ones to go for. The Q7 with the 20-inchers we drove a few months ago had a noticeably imbalanced ride. The handling is good for a car this big and there’s adequate grunt from the engine.
However some of the features that could narrow your eyes are the engine and transmission that exhibit a bit of lag and need a moment before they spool up. This means that when you are trying to have a bit of fun behind the wheel you could possibly find yourself mid-corner in a higher gear — which can be a downer. By the time the transmission downshifts, the corner’s long gone. Also, as cool as Q7’s panoramic sunroof may be, we don’t think it actually makes sense given our hot climate.
Still, these minor flaws do nothing to diminish the overall appeal of the mighty Q7. It’s a well-built, comfortable and a practical full-size SUV and this face-lift only serves to highlight these features.