Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Review: 2019 Audi Q7 2.0 TFSI Quattro


Sometime next year, Audi Philippines will be introducing a heavily refreshed Q7 and with it comes styling heavily influenced by its flagship Q8. But before that happens, there’s this: the 2019 Q7. It’s hard to imagine but 10 years ago, Audi didn’t have SUVs. Sure, they built a name around the quattro all-wheel drive, but they had no high-riding, family-oriented vehicles.

It’s astonishing therefore how Audi’s managed to get the SUV game so right. Compared to its premium-priced compatriots, they’ve managed to build winner after winner after winner, and the Q7 is no different. Determined to future-proof this three-row SUV, they tapped the MLB-Evo platform—the very same one that underpins the Bentley Bentayga, Porsche Cayenne, and the Lamborghini Urus.



With that, it’s managed to shed around 300 kilograms—an enormous saving even on a two-ton (1,950 kilograms to be exact) car while also offering extra chassis stiffness thanks to reinforcements dubbed “torsion rings.”

This should be good news because despite a dizzying array of engine options, the base model makes do with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine. Don’t fret though because with direct fuel injection and turbocharging, it makes 252 horsepower and 370 Nm of torque—figures that match some of the more popular mid-sized SUVs, premium or otherwise. Even better, it uses a proper 8-speed torque converter automatic to handle all that twist.



Audi claims that the century mark is dispatched in just 7.5 seconds, an impressive number but probably not the best criterion on which it’ll be judged day to day. Since it’s a 7-seater, 5-meter long, 1.968-meter wide SUV, standing starts seem a little gauche.

What’s important to the would-be buyer is how the Q7 utilizes all this power to effortlessly merge with traffic, be it at highway speeds or trudging along EDSA. Equally great is how the 8-speed gearbox handles all this power. It’s smooth, well-mannered, and responsive. Moreover, the car is refined keeping the outside world hushed even at triple digit speeds.



With steel springs as standard, the Q7 takes on a permissive approach to its ride. There’s a bit more float here, but at least the ride is a match for the character of its drivetrain. There’s an odd low speed niggle, especially when going over expansion joints, but the overall experience is agreeable; definitely better than any of its German rivals.

Even better, Audi has managed to disguise the Q7’s mass with linear steering. It’s lacking in feedback and a bit light, but it does result in sedan-like quickness. With generous greenhouses all around, it’s easy to place it despite its size. On the flipside, it doesn’t communicate intimately with the road, but perhaps that’s not part of its CV as a large SUV. In fact, for those in the back seat, this could be deemed desirable.



Audi’s decision to mold the Q7 into a more isolated, more opulent experience continues inside. The brushed metal applique, geometric forms, and supreme fit and finish serve this car well and are fitting for a car priced close to 6 million pesos. The treatment here is more of smart, modern, and sensible luxury rather than an ostentatious one. Plus, dig deeper and it’s actually well-speced with power front seats, four-zone climate control, and an electrically retractable third row. The only thing missing would be the vaunted Virtual Cockpit instrumentation and that’s reserved solely for high trim models.

The MMI interface, with its combination of buttons, a toggle switches, and a rotary knob, is surprisingly easy to use but because it’s located north of the shifter, requires a reach for those with short arms. Next to the expansive cabin, the 8-inch (retractable) infotainment screen is pleasant enough to look at, but the graphics do come across as low-rent at times. Moreover, it does obstruct traffic occasionally.



The Q7’s close to three-meter wheelbase and squared-off roofline translates into an SUV with commendable room across all three rows. Naturally, the front is capacious, but those in the second and third row are treated just as well. With children the most likely occupants of the third row, it’s worth saying that the second-row seats require some muscle to get out of the way. Still, they slide in a split adding to flexibility. With the third row up, there’s room for a couple of grocery bags. Flatten them and it grows to 770 liters. Fold the second row too, and it can actually swallow a whopping 1,955 liters.

In the broadest sense, the Q7 isn’t the most visually striking or appealing car to look at. However, its sense of understatement seems more becoming of an Audi. Its biggest success is mainly at how it manages to cut its bulk by using strong horizontal lines. The only thing that betrays its size? The 19-inch wheels and tires which look rather small next to the metal work surrounding it.



Audi’s brand claim has always been to use technology to deliver the gains that other carmakers use more obvious means to achieve and often court compromise for the sake of. With that in mind, the Q7 comes as a serious piece of work—one that combines a practical, brilliantly-constructed cabin with immaculate road manners, and upper-class imperiousness. It’s refined, capable, and laden with sophistication—it’s an ultimate expression of Audi’s knowledge.

2019 Audi Q7 2.0 TFSI Quattro
Ownership 2019 Audi Q7 2.0 TFSI Quattro
Year Introduced 2016
Vehicle Classification Luxury SUV
Warranty 2 years / Unlimited kilometers
The Basics
Body Type 5-door SUV
Seating 7
Engine / Drive F/AWD
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 2.0
Aspiration Turbocharged
Fuel Delivery Direct Injection
Layout / # of Cylinders I4
BHP @ rpm 252 @ 5,000-6,000
Nm @ rpm 370 @ 1,600-4,500
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / 95~
Transmission 8 AT
Cruise Control Yes
Fuel Economy @ Ave. Speed 5.91 km/L @ 13 km/h
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 5,052
Width (mm) 1,968
Height (mm) 1,741
Wheelbase (mm) 2,994
Curb Weight (kg) 1,910
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Independent, Multi-Link
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Disc
Tires Goodyear Eagle F1 SUV 255/55 R 19 Y (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 6
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Yes, Front and Rear
Front Seatbelts 3-pt ELR with pre-tensioner x 2
Rear Seatbelts 3-pt ELR x 3 (2nd row),
3-pt ELR x 2 (3rd row)
ISOFIX Child Seat Anchor Yes
Other Safety Features Hill Start Assist
Tire Pressure Monitoring System
Exterior Features
Headlights HID
Fog Lamps Yes, Rear
Auto Lights Yes
Rain-sensing Wipers Yes
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment (driver) Electric, 8-way
Seating Adjustment (front passenger) Electric, 8-way
Seating Surface Leather
Folding Rear Seat Yes, 40/20/40 (2nd),
50/50, Electric (3rd)
On-Board Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, with Fold
Proximity Key Yes
Climate Control 4-Zone, with Rear Vents
Audio System Stereo
CD
MP3
Aux
USB
Bluetooth
# of Speakers 10
Steering Controls Yes

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