Text: Jude P. Morte / Photos: | posted July 03, 2006 00:00
As a teaser of sorts, PGA Cars (exclusive distributor of Audi vehicles in the country) recently provided a sneak peek into Audi's first foray into the local ultraluxury SUV market.
In design, the Audi Q7's elegant styling represents power and presence and impresses with its dynamism and sporty appearance. For the Audi Q7, designers turned the classic SUV box design into an independent, fluent stylistic language, synthesizing robustness, athleticism and elegance (in terms of vehicle lines) and projecting a high-quality overall exterior look.
For starters, the Q7 roof line and high shoulder section take some styling "Qs" from its TT and A4 Avant brethren, while the standout single frame front grille is consistent with its A4 and A6 siblings. A v-shaped hood, swept-back headlights, visually distinct doorsills, high ground clearance and 8.5x18 cast aluminum steel five-double spoke wheels exudes the SUV's willingness to dispel doubts that the Q7 is an Audi in Volkswagen Touareg/Porsche Cayenne guise. On the other hand, the Q7's rear section features an encompassing tailgate, separated from the body proper by an s-joint and allows for the integration of the tailights into the hatch instead of residing at the rear section's leftmost and rightmost ends.
The Q7 measures 5,086 mm long, 1,983 mm wide, 1,737 mm high and has a wheelbase of 3,002 mm, providing lots of space for its passengers. It can swallow seven people in three rows of stadium-style seats (where each succeeding row backwards from the front is higher than its predecessor), redefining ultraluxury SUV space and comfort. It also offers a new dimension in versatility: no less than 28 seating and loading configurations are possible in the Audi Q7.
As an equipment variant, one can choose between a five-seater with two rows, a seven-seater with three rows or a six-seater with three rows and two comfort seats in the second row. All second- and third row seats offer fold-flat configurations, while the six-seater setup features a center console that can also be folded flat, thus allowing for loading from the tailgate to the backrest of the first row and a whopping 775-liter cargo volume. And if loading is a problem, the SUV's 1.22-meter loading width can fit four golf bags lying sideways, assuring Q7 owners that odd-shaped cargo can fit in the rear section.
Technology on "Q"
Quattro permanent four-wheel drive is standard in all Q7s. With immediate torque distribution on demand, Quattro provides maximum traction and lateral stability – the prerequisites for optimum driving dynamics and motoring safety.
Although the Q7 lacks the mechanical locking differentials and low-range transfer case of its Touareg sibling, the Q7's electronic stabilisation program (ESP), Quattro and an electronic differential lock (EDL) bring to casual-off-roaders optimum brake performance and traction especially on loose ground. For example, as soon as one of the driving wheels spins away, the EDL applies stopping power to the said wheel/s and transfers the power to the other wheel/s.
Customers have the choice of two engines, both mated to a six-speed Tiptronic gearbox with manual shift option. The first is a petrol 4.2-liter V8 with direct injection that puts out 350 bhp and 440 NMs of torque at 3,500 rpm. The second is a 3.0 TDI six-cylinder engine which uses the latest-generation common rail diesel injection system with piezo inline injectors. An output of 233 bhp and 500 NMs of torque at 1750 rpm provides high engine refinement and excellent economy.
Occupants stand to be delighted with the following Q7 technology: 1) Audi parking assistance system plus, which facilitates parking by acoustically indicating the distance to obstacles behind the vehicle, measured by ultrasonic sensors integrated discreetly into the rear bumper. The system allows visual display of the obstacles at the front and rear of the vehicle using the MMI (multi-media interface) screen; 2) Adaptive air suspension. Ranging from "very sporty" to "comfortable", the combination of air suspension and an electronically controlled damping system represents the perfect synthesis of sporty handling and supreme ride comfort, drivers can choose their drive experience – from dynamic to driving on air; 3) Sideguard head airbags. Unique to the Audi Q7, these are available for all three rows, offering passengers excellent protection against rear-end collisions no matter where they are seated; and 4) Access and authorisation system advanced key (standard on the 4.2-liter V8). All the driver needs to do is to carry the key on his person. Door handles open and close with just a touch, and a button in the center console switches on the ignition and starts the engine.
PGA Cars said that the Q7 has a ballpark retail of Php 6-7 million pesos, but added that for detailed pricing, servicing and warranty details, one may contact PGA Cars at 727-0381 to 85, email@example.com or checking out www.audi.ph. Don't be fooled by the pricetags, for the Q7's appeal is so great certain old, filthy and new rich have gotten their hands on a unit. PGA Cars claimed that they have pre-sold roughly 10 units of the SUV, and its customers include two members of old-rich families based in Manila and two local professional basketball players. And it wouldn't hurt to mention that NBA player Dirk Nowitzki drives a Q7 in the US.
The Audi Q7 has enough driving technology to supply the driver and passengers alike with memorable driving experiences, making it an excellent choice to mind one's P's (parking and positioned seating), B's (braking) and D's (driving) in just one Q(7).