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Audi Q7

When the Audi Q7 originally made its debut in 2006, it did so with an international launch in the US, clearly intended as the prime target for finding customers. It initially seemed rather too big for UK roads, but that hasn't detered buyers here though, and as cars generally have grown bigger, it no longer seems quite so large. Now the second generation Q7 has arrived - the first car to be built on the VW Group's new MLB platform - and it has shed around 240 kilograms in weight and has also shrunk fractionally, by 37 millimetres in length, 35 in width and 8 from the wheelbase.
But thanks to optimisation of the available space, there's slightly more room inside the cabin and the boot with five seats in place is marginally larger, by five litres. The driving experience has shifted up a notch from the old model. Handling is a little crisper, and ride quality on standard suspension deals with most undulations very acceptably, delivering a good blend of poise and comfort. There is also the option of air suspension that makes the ride more serene, as well as delivering increased towing capacity (it goes up from 2.8 to 3.5 tonnes). Performance from the 268bhp diesel engine is very robust, giving the car a 0-62mph sprint time of 6.5 seconds and a 145mph top speed.
There will be a lower powered 215bhp diesel engine coming later in the year, but this is a big car to haul around, and the lower output engine is not as perky or refined as our betterperforming test car, which really seems to justify the extra £2,350 outlay. Cabin quality is excellent, as it should be for a car in this price bracket, and Audi has upped the game in detailing and convenience. The leather upholstery is beautifully crafted, seat comfort is excellent, and the fascia has a nicely driver-focused design with a long centre console that has an encasing ambience.
Behind are three equally sized seats with ample room for three large adults, and each seat can be slid fore and aft and also reclined independently of the others. Two more seats, in a third seat row that is standard on UK cars, are electrically operated and equipped with Isofix child seat fasteners. The Q7's boot has grown marginally to 770 litres in five-seat mode, although maximum cargo room has decreased a little from 2,035 to 1,955 litres.
Access is via an electrically-operated tailgate, standard kit on all versions. Efficiency improvements have lowered the new car's running costs compared with its predecessor. With this higher-powered diesel, both power and torque are up, by 26bhp and 37lb ft, respectively, but fuel consumption is improved by nearly 10mpg and CO2 emissions has gone down by 42g/km. For company car drivers this means a sharp drop in the benefit-in-kind taxation rate from 37 per cent for the old model to 28 per cent now.
All Q7s now come with an extensive standard kit list that includes Xenon headlights, satellite navigation, DAB digital radio, electric and heated seats, leather upholstery, autonomous emergency braking, automatic headlights and wipers, keyless entry and start and parking sensors to the front and rear.

Model tested S line 3.0 TDI quattro
Price £53,835
Made in Bratislava, Slovakia
Configuration 5-door SUV, 7-seats, four-wheel-drive
Drivetrain 2967cc, V6, 24-valve, turbocharged diesel with stop-start and selective catalyst reduction
Transmission 8-speed automatic
Power output 268bhp @ 3,250-4,250rpm
Maximum torque 443lb ft @ 1,500-3,000rpm
Top speed/0-62mph 145mph/6.5 secs
CO2 emissions (tax band) 153g/km (G) Euro 6
Economy (urban/extra urban/combined) 44.1/50.4/47.9mpg
Fuel tank size/range 75 litres/790 miles
Insurance group/BIK rate tba/28%
Size (length/width with mirrors) 5,052/2,212mm
Boot space (7/5/2-seats) tba/770/1,955 litres
Kerb/max towing weight 2,060/2,800kg

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