Audi Q7 e-tron 2019 review

Find out more about the Audi Q7 e-tron in the latest Motors.co.uk Review

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4
Out of 5

Pros

  • Congestion Charge exempt
  • Excellent ride
  • Highly luxurious

Cons

  • Expensive options
  • Not fuel-efficient over long distances
  • No seven-seat option
  • MPG

    0 - 0

  • CO2

    0 - 0 g/km

Model Review

The Audi Q7 e-tron had quite a long gestation before it came to the UK, having been revealed in 2015 as the second mainstream model in Audi’s plug-in hybrid e-tron line-up.

Sales began in mainland Europe that year, but it would be 2017 before the first Q7 e-trons arrived on British soil. This was because engineering changes were required to develop right-hand-drive models, but this work was repeatedly delayed to keep up with demand for left-hand-drive models, which were enjoying burgeoning sales in the USA and China.

The e-tron combines a 17.6kWh battery pack with a 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine, delivering a combined equivalent of 369bhp and a battery-powered EV range of 35 miles, providing you don’t drive it too hard.

The clever trick, of course, is how Audi has managed to get the e-tron’s CO2 emissions down to 48g/km. This makes it completely exempt from the London Congestion Charge, and also qualifies it for the lowest rate Vehicle Excise Duty and company car benefit-in-kind tax. Yet, it manages to maintain the excellent performance you’d expect of a high-end Audi.

Like many PHEVs, the real world fuel economy is nowhere near as good as quoted unless you only drive it very short distances, but for urban commuters it can still be a highly efficient proposition.

Latest model

To coincide with the e-tron’s UK debut, there were also a few modifications made to the Q7 line-up in general. The e-tron also introduced the option of air suspension for its UK debut, after it had previously been criticised for feeling a bit firmer than standard Q7 models.

The air suspension is a £2,000 option, but there is plenty of standard kit on-tap. This includes Audi’s new ‘Virtual Cockpit’ layout, which replaces the standard instrument binnacle with a 12.5-inch digital display that can be configured to suit the driver’s preferences. It may sound like a gimmick, but it’s an interesting feature that allows you a bit of variety should you wish to change it on a day-to-day basis.

The other new feature of the e-tron isn’t quite so brilliant—thanks to the extra space needed for the battery pack, the standard model’s seven-seat option isn’t available. This means that, despite it being the second most expensive variant in the Q7 line-up, the e-tron is strictly a five-seater.

Value for money

The e-tron isn’t a cheap car. Even before you’ve visited the options list, you’ll be spending £67,000. Add air suspension, a premium paint colour and just one of the many option packs you can choose from and the price very quickly edges over the £70k mark, which is a lot of money for what you get.

Make no mistake, it’s a beautifully executed and very upmarket vehicle, but it’s certainly not a cheap one.

Looks and image

 

Design is traditionally an Audi strong point, and the Q7 certainly doesn’t disappoint in this regard—it’s tall, chunky and handsome, with Audi’s trademark ‘honeycomb’ front end and sleek, angular lines that do well to disguise its bulk, at least from a distance.

Up close, you realise how substantial the Q7 is. It’s as long as the flagship Range Rover, albeit a few inches lower, and the tailgate, wheels and rear quarters are vast.

The paint finish and detailing are as exquisite as you’d expect, though. And inside, things get even better; Audi has never designed an unpleasant car interior, and the Q7 is one of its most handsome cabins yet. The new Virtual Cockpit is seamlessly integrated into what’s otherwise a very traditional looking, but immaculate dashboard.

Space and practicality

 

The interior may be upmarket—with some extremely plush fabrics and high quality plastics—but the luxurious atmosphere doesn’t make it any less functional than the Q7 is in standard trim.

There’s plenty of space for driver, passenger and those in the rear to get comfortable, along with three proper-sized seats in the back that will easily accommodate adults or growing teenagers.

All three back seats slide and recline independently to allow individual adjustment, while the front seats also have a vast range of movement. All of this makes the Q7 an extremely comfortable car for every one of its occupants.

It may lose the practicality of seven seats thanks to its battery packs, but the boot is still vast; with the middle row of seats folded out of the way it’ll easily accommodate a couple of mountain bikes or some large pieces of furniture. Aside from the disappointment of it only being available as a five-seater, it’s a very practical vehicle.

Engines

The Q7’s engine package includes a 272bhp 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine (as found elsewhere in the range) coupled to a 101bhp electric motor backed up by a 17.4kWh battery pack, which is good for a range of 25 to 35 miles, depending on prevailing conditions.

Power is fed to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox and torque convertor, delivering seamlessly smooth progress and a 0-60mph time of just 6.2 seconds.

Things to look for

The latest generation Q7 has generally proven to be very reliable since its introduction with no recalls or major known faults. However, the car’s bulk means it eats its way through tyres and brake pads, and the manufacturer-spec Michelin Latitude tyres are £330 a corner.

Rivals

Plug-in hybrid SUVs are getting more and more common, with the Q7 facing stiff competition from the Volvo XC90 T8 (which has a seven-seat option), Range Rover Sport Hybrid, Mercedes-Benz GLE and BMW X5 xDrive40e to name but a few. The tax breaks they offer make them exceptionally popular in both the new and second-hand markets.

Running Costs

 

On paper, the Q7 e-tron sounds amazing. Its official figures of 48g/km of Co2 and a staggering 156.9mpg are nothing short of astounding, but it’s important to note that unless you only do short journeys, you’re unlikely to see this level of economy in real life. On a long run, with the battery power depleted and the 3.0 V6 acting alone, you’ll be lucky to see fuel economy in the mid-30s mpg-wise. That’s not bad for such a bulky diesel-engined SUV, but the diesel-only model will be more efficient for higher mileage drivers due to the weight of the e-tron’s batteries.

However, the taxation benefits equate to a notable size of money, so it still remains the Q7 of choice for company car drivers over the standard diesel, despite its elevated purchase price.

Depreciation

It’s too early to put an accurate depreciation figure in place for the Q7 e-tron, but based on the performance of similar vehicles in the market, such as Volvo’s XC90 T8, it’s likely to be in high demand, and should hold its value very well for quite some time to come.

Summary

  1. The Q7 e-tron is a tax efficient luxury SUV
  2. 48g/km Co2 official figure
  3. Combines 17.4Ah battery pack with 3.0-V6 turbo diesel
  4. Excellent performance
  5. Only available as a five-seater
  6. Air suspension a £2,000 option
  7. Standard equipment is comprehensive
  8. Options list can be extremely expensive
  9. ight-speed automatic Tiptronic transmission
  10. Best-in-class passenger accommodation

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