Audi Q7 3.0 TDI SE

July 2015

picture of car from the front

Imposing front grille is similar to the smaller Q3


Overall Rating 8Overall rating

Value for money Rating 7Value for money

Space and Practicality Rating 7Costs

Space and Practicality Rating 9Space and practicality

Controls and display Rating 8Controls and display

Comfort Rating 9Comfort

Security Rating 8Car security

Safety Rating 9Car safety


  • Huge cabin is very comfortable and versatile
  • Comfort levels are high; an excellent long-distance car
  • Impressive suite of technologies
  • Impressively agile for a car of this size


  • Chunky looks are far from subtle and may not be to all tastes
  • Despite huge weight loss the Q7 still feels heavy at times
  • No front-wheel-drive version
  • An MPV offers more space for less money

The first of the modern generation Audis to venture into off-road territory, the Q7 has been a huge success for the German firm. After a decade of success the second generation Q7 has arrived, promising all the same qualities as the original model but with greater efficiency, more comfort and increased technology.

The original Q7 set the template for all of Audi's SUV Q-badged models, in that it offered increased utility and space but with all the comfort and quality of a regular Audi saloon or hatchback. It also came to be one of the higher status Audi models, slotting just below the A8 luxury saloon in terms of pricing and specification.

For the second generation model Audi has gone to great lengths to answer the key criticisms of the original car, starting with weight. With a new aluminium structure, as much as 40% of the new Q7 is made from the new material and combined with high strength steels reduces overall weight by up to 300kg depending on the model.

Mechanically the Q7 offers the Quattro four-wheel-drive system as standard, and at launch provides a diesel-only engine range although an e-tron hybrid model is expected to join the range. As well as the option of air suspension on some models, a further innovation on the options list is four-wheel-steering designed to both enhance stability and improve manoeuvrability.

The Q7 is also one of the first Audis to get the latest suite of safety systems, and should the purchaser choose to do so can benefit from some of the most sophisticated features available anywhere. Cross traffic assistant monitors oncoming traffic when making low-speed right turns, while the radar cruise control includes traffic jam assistant which can take over steering duties below 40mph.

Our verdict on the Audi Q7 3.0 TDI SE

The outgoing Q7 was feeling its age, but the new version is an impressive leap forward. It is significantly more space efficient than before, much less demanding to drive and also more efficient. The quality levels have improved too, and although still a relatively expensive car to buy it is a car that makes an excellent ownership prospect and is desirable too.

Costs rating 7

Thanks to improved engine efficiency and reduced kerb weight the Q7 offers respectable fuel consumption for a car of this size, although it will still require a reasonably sized wallet to keep it filled. Insurance costs will be at the higher end of the scale however.

Space and practicality
Space and Practicality Rating 9

The cabin of the Q7 is exceptionally spacious, making it one of the most practical cars that money can buy. The first and second rows of seats are blessed with more than enough head, leg and elbow room and while the third row is best suited to children it still offers a respectable amount of space. The boot is also excellent in terms of shape and size, and there are numerous cabin spaces for oddments.

picture of car from the rear

New design is more squared-off than before

Controls and display
Controls and Display Rating 8

The Q7 is the second Audi after the TT to offer the virtual cockpit system, which gives the driver a display suited to their specific needs and is configurable for a variety of situations, and it works well. Elsewhere the usual high standards of Audi switchgear and displays are in place, providing plenty of information and an easy to navigate layout.

Comfort Rating 9

Few cars can offer the high levels of comfort delivered by the Q7. The seats are excellent and provide a large range of adjustment, and the overall refinement is excellent with low engine and road noise levels. The ride quality is also impressive whether on the standard suspension or the optional air system.

Car security
Security Rating 8

An engine and immobiliser system are fitted as standard to the Q7, while a sturdy load cover helps to keep prying eyes away from the contents of the boot. Additionally blinds are available for the rear doors which also help to keep the contents of the car hidden.

Car safety
Safety Rating 9

A lighter and stronger structure should provide a higher level of passive safety than the outgoing model, while the Q7 also incorporates a raft of new active safety systems featuring on an Audi for the first time, which all contribute to making it one of the safest cars money can buy.

Driver appeal
Driver Appeal Rating 7

The major weight saving with the new Q7 makes itself feel apparent right from the off as the car feels more agile, and responds more readily to drive inputs. Even with the Audi drive select system set to comfort it is a more capable vehicle. Regardless of the engine output it is a more sprightly performer, and although it still weighs a considerable amount it is capable and secure.

picture of car interior

Interior is of a very high quality with many new features

Family car appeal
Family Appeal Rating 9

The Q7 would make an ideal family car. With so much space to offer, seven-seat versatility and the rare ability to accommodate six individual child seats, there are few better machines for carrying families of all shapes and sizes.

First car appeal
First car Rating 3

It is highly unlikely that a new driver will want a car of this stature and status, and although it is relatively easy to drive it is not best suited to drivers with little experience.

Quality and image
Quality and Image Rating 7

Audi has built its reputation on providing high quality cars and the Q7 builds on this still further. The fit and finish inside and out is of a very high standard and well suited to a car of this price tag and status. This also contributes to the Audi's image, which remains one of the most desirable in the premium sector.

Accessibility Rating

The Q7 is one of the easiest cars to gain access to, certainly for the first and second rows of seats. Large doors front and rear with a floor set at an ideal height make entry very straightforward, although to get to the third row the second row must be folded forward, which requires a little effort. Access to the boot is simple too, with the option to lower the rear of the car with air suspension and an automatic tailgate.

Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)

As standard the Q7 comes with a high specification audio system including DAB radio, music interface for phones or MP3 players and the option of a CD/DVD changer. It is controlled through the latest generation Audi MMI interface which is very easy to manage, all displayed on the large screen and in the instrument panel. There's also the option of the higher-spec Bang and Olufsen system for even higher quality sound.

picture of car in detail

Spacious interior is very flexible

Colours and trim

With a car of this size exterior colour is crucial. More subtle shades help to hide the overall bulk while the bright blue option available tends to draw attention to it. On the inside the Q7 is swathed in high quality finishes including Alcantara, which all contributes to the premium feel.


The Q7's size presents some physical limitations in terms of parking spaces, but once a suitable space has been located it is relatively easy to park. The view out is good in all directions and at low speed very little effort is required. The Audi parking system is included as standard with the option of an automated parking system for even less effort.

Spare wheel

Emergency tyre repair kit supplied as standard.


Range information

Diesel engine options - 3.0-litre (215bhp and 268bhp). Transmission options: Eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard. Trim levels: SE and S Line.


Alternative cars

Volvo XC90 New design is attractive, high quality cabin and efficient engines

BMW X5 Key rival is more fun to drive but also an older design

Mercedes-Benz GL Even bigger than the Q7 but less sophisticated with it

Range Rover More of a luxury vehicle but very desirable all the same

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July 2015