ALL TORQUE AND PLENTY OF ACTION
This is no ordinary Q7, and it’s powered by no ordinary diesel engine. A relative of the unit that has powered Audi’s R10 TDI sportscar to multiple championship and Le Mans victories in recent years, you could say it has form. While it doesn’t have the potential to beat the R10 on the track, it does mean that almost everything else on the road is fair game. The only serious rivals to this Q7 are made by the likes of Porsche, Ferrari and Aston Martin – and they’re all petrol powered. On paper this Q7 possesses some mind-boggling performance figures: 493bhp at 3,750rpm, 738lb ft torque from 1,750rpm and zero to 62mph in 5.5 seconds. Its green side isn’t bad either, with a combined 25mpg figure and CO2 rating of 298g/km, these two are entirely respectable for something weighing in at 3,405kg and capable of blowing away most performance cars.
You’ve guessed it, this Q7’s performance is all about brute force. With its strengthened sixspeed auto gearbox coping admirably, all it takes is a quick prod of the throttle and you’re away. Three-figure speeds come up all too quickly, although the vocal nature of the V12 – it ranges from rumble to thunderous bark – never lets you forget how close you are to losing your licence.
Despite the Q7’s size, this V12 monster isn’t shy at tackling corners. It’s no 911, but once you’ve recalibrated your brain, stringing a series of bends together is surprisingly easy and satisfying. Factor in the sporting 40/60 front to rear split of the car’s quattro all-wheel drive system and its obvious that this is no ordinary Chelsea tractor. And don’t worry about stopping; the standard-fit ceramic composite brakes are perfectly capable of repeatedly wiping off speed without any fuss. All this comes at a price, though. Granted, the Q7 V12 is lavishly equipped but the basic asking price nudges six figures. For Audi this is not a problem as it’s being promoted as a halo car that will sell in small numbers – the UK allocation will be around 40 cars for 2009, while buyers will no doubt warm to its eye-popping performance and exclusive status.
RIVALS: PORSCHE CAYENNE TURBO (PETROL), MERCEDES-BENZ ML 63 AMG (PETROL), VW TOUAREG R50 5.0 V10 TDI
- Engine: 5934cc, 12 cylinder, turbodiesel
- Gearbox: 6-speed automatic
- Max Power: 493bhp at 3,750rpm
- Max Torque: 738lb ft at 1,750rpm
- Max Towing Weight: 3,000kg
- Combined Consumption: 25.0mpg
- CO2 Emissions (taxband): 298g/km (G)
- 0-62mph: 5.5secs
- Max speed: 155mph
- Insurance Group: 20