Taking the lower output V6 TDI engine first seen in the A6 on board the Q7 for the first time, and combining its 39mpg capability with an exceptional new specification, the lavishly appointed newcomer is available to order now priced at £49,120. At the same time, this punchy but remarkably efficient unit also appears in the most attainable lead-in Q7 model to date – the 3.0 TDI 201bhp Standard priced at £39,995.
To strike its impressive balance between performance and economy the timing of the 3.0-litre engine’s camshafts, its turbocharger and its advanced common-rail system (with an injection pressure of 2,000 bar) have been optimized specifically with fuel efficiency in mind. As a result, up to 39.2mpg is possible according to the combined cycle test, equating to CO2 output of 189g/km.
With the help of a super-smooth eight-speed tiptronic transmission, the latest V6 TDI uses its 201bhp and its 332lb ft torque reserve to power the Q7 to 62mph from rest in 9.1 seconds, and enables it to reach a 127mph top speed where conditions allow.
In common with all Q7 models drive is channelled to all four wheels in a 40% front to 60% rear ratio by the quattro permanent four-wheel-drive system, and both on and off the tarmac the standard five-mode air suspension with its variable ground clearance of between 180mm and 240mm helps to iron out the most imperfect of surfaces.
Four specification levels are available for the Q7 – Standard, SE, S line and the new S line Plus – and it is the latter which enables the imposing seven-seater to make its boldest visual statement. Externally it includes 21-inch 5 segment-spoke alloy wheels, standard metallic paint, tinted privacy glass from the B-pillar rearwards and running boards. Powered tailgate operation also boosts practicality. Inside, an upgrade to even more supple Verano leather upholstery makes for an even more luxurious ambiance. Up to seven occupants can be accommodated in the three rows of seats that are included as standard, two of which can be folded down if required to create a load area of 2,035 litres.
The air of sophistication is enhanced further in the S line Plus by features such as hard disk-based satellite navigation, Bluetooth phone preparation with online services giving access to Google Earth navigation mapping and creating a Wi-Fi hotspot for in-car internet access, Audi Music Interface iPod connection linked to an upgraded speaker system and the Audi Parking System Advanced with reversing camera. S line Plus specification carries a premium of £4,500 over the existing S line option, and is available in conjunction with five of the six available engines, which include the supercharged 3.0-litre V6 petrols in 268bhp and 328bhp forms, the 201bhp and 242bhp V6 Diesels and the 335bhp 4.2-litre V8 TDI. The mighty Q7 V12 TDI with its incredible 737lb ft torque peak has its own unique specification.