Audi Q7 quattro SE

Audi Q7, front action
Audi Q7, front
Audi Q7, side
Audi Q7, rear
Audi Q7, rear action
Audi Q7, rear static
Audi Q7, interior
Audi Q7, seats

IT'S surprising just how frugal big cars can be when developed by the right people.

Take Audi's Q7. Revised last year with new features inside and out and now available with a lower powered engine to cut fuel consumption.

At launch last August the car was only available with a 3.0-litre, 272bhp V6 diesel but now there's an alternative 3.0-litre with just 218bhp, so the price tag is cheaper.

And the newcomer is capable of averaging almost 50 miles per gallon despite its hefty dimensions.

The impressive economy is helped by the fact that the second generation Q7 has not only been re-styled but also slimmed down, loosing around 326kg in weight compared to its predecessor and a little bit of length and width too.

That weight loss means that even if you opt for the lowered powered engine you will not be disappointed by the car's performance, with it having the ability to race to 62 miles per hour from standstill in a very brisk 7.3 seconds before topping out at 134mph.

The latest model has retained some of the basic shape of the earlier Q7, despite being totally new from the tyres up, while at the same time achieving a sharper more toned body.

Inside there are still seven seats but now the two rear seats can be raised into position electronically from a flat position in the luggage floor simply by pushing a switch beneath the powered tailgate.

They are really designed more for children but a not-too-tall adult could certainly use them for a short distance. To the pub for example if there's a group of you going.

And the three seats in the middle row can be moved forwards or backwards to create more leg room or more luggage space depending upon the occasion. Either way passengers can enjoy limousine-like space to stretch out on the move.

As the flagship of Audi's Q range the Q7 offers plenty of luxury as standard and enough hi-tech wizardry to keep most petrol heads happy.

Features include luxury leather upholstery, heated front seats which are electronically adjustable in every direction, tasteful ambient lighting, a hill decent system and a fighter pilot-style head-up display. The list is almost endless.

For those who want more there is a long line up of optional extras, and this quattro model came with everything from Matrix LED headlights - which give superb light while keeping the driver ahead of you in shadow - for a cool £2,450 to a rear view camera at £500.

On the road the big V6, which is mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox responds instantly and with power in abundance despite the two tonnes it is lugging around.

What you don't expect from such a large car is the agility which makes the Q7 more car-like than SUV-like to drive.

It's a car you can't help but like because it has so much space inside for people and luggage yet drives and handles like a high performance coupe. And that's without mentioning the tenacious grip it has on the road thanks to Audi's four-wheel-drive quattro system.

FAST FACTS

Audi Q7 quattro SE

Price: £46,925

Mechanical: 218bhp, 2,967cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 134mph

0-62mph: 7.4 seconds

Combined MPG: 48.7

Insurance Group: 40

C02 emissions: 150g/km

Bik rating: 28%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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