- We like...Classy, ample power
- We don't...Poor turning circle
This big off-roader's more urban cruiser than mud 'n' ruts bruiser. Find out here if it can justify its hefty price tag Audi Q7.... or Land Rover Discovery? It’s quite a question. Each is a big, impressive off-roader that seats seven and will look as good rolling up at a black-tie dinner as it will traversing a muddy track. The Q7’s the sharper-suited of the two and also the costlier: a tenner short of £51,000 for our 4.2 TDi Quattro S-line plays £45,000 for a top-spec Discovery.
If you’re a sucker for the way that Audi builds cabins – cool, elegant and restrained – then a couple of minutes sat in the Q7 will be enough to have you reaching for your cheque book. It is a great place to spend time. Fire up that 4.2 V8 diesel and its alluring ‘woofle’ will please your ear – although its best-overall 25.5mpg fuel thirst won’t delight at all.
The big Audi looks imposing on the outside, too. The big Audi grille adapts well to its off-roader shape and its lines are otherwise clean and handsome. You’ll end up wanting one for its space, style and its seven seats – but also because it’s a rarer sight than the Discovery – or the BMW X5 you’d consider once you’d decided that you didn’t really need seven seats.
But if you need those extra seats, the Q7 may be a disappointment. Where the extras in the Discovery are good for adults, those in the Q7 are tight on legroom and a fiddle to reach. By contrast, the mid-row seats are sofa comfy and the room around them is generous.
The boot, meanwhile, is huge provided that you keep those extra seats stowed. When they’re in use, there’s space left for a couple of large, soft bags and nothing more.
It’s a huge car but its lofty driving position, light but well weighted steering and auto transmission as standard make it easy enough to punt through traffic. Its turning circle is poor, though – so don’t attempt a three-point turn in a narrow cul-de-sac. And while that big diesel will amble along, you need to push the throttle a long way through its travel before anything much happens – at which point it’s up and off like a singed cat.
The Q7 has adjustable suspension you control via a screen on the dash – pick between ‘comfort’, ‘auto’, ‘dynamic ‘ and ‘off-road’. We couldn’t feel a difference between the first two, the third firmed the settings enough to have the car crashing into road dips and across broken surfaces, while the last raised its skirts, ready to go mud-plugging. But none delivered the stable, planted feel we expected from such a full-on car.
Finally, don’t think that picking a diesel here will reduce your company car or road tax bill. Its 294 g/km of CO2 output puts you firmly in the top charge bands for both.
No matter: its cool exclusivity has won it plenty of fans, so much so that the few second-hand examples around defy trends so far and are advertised at high prices.
But is its image strong enough for us to rate it ahead of a Land Rover Discovery? No chance, for us the Disco is cheaper, as classy in its way and better all-round by some margin.
Find new and used Audi Q7s on motors.co.uk
- Engines4.2 V8 TDi
- 0-60 mph6.4sec
- Insurance groups18
Motors.co.uk value verdict: