Audi Q7 Clean Diesel: massive contradiction or good sense?

Claire Edwards

Ask anyone what one of the most offensive cars is on the road at the moment and we'll bet that Audi's Q7 is up there with the best of them. It's big, brash and the ultimate incarnation of the Chelsea Tractor.

It has such a poor reputation that one German car company executive was heard saying, "It makes me embarrassed to be German." Ouch.

At a time when the focus is on all-things environmentally friendly, the Q7 is one of the most unlikely candidates. But Audi has just introduced this, a Q7 'Clean Diesel' version.

It's hard not to feel ridiculous in the Q7, and that's only compounded by feelings of massive hypocrisy with the words "Clean Diesel TDI" emblazoned across the rear window.

But hear me out, as after a weekend of travelling up and down the country in this huge lumbering car, I actually warmed to it.

For a start it's difficult not to feel safe when you're in it. Mostly because the only other vehicle on the road larger than it is a 44-tonne lorry, but even then you're high enough up to be able to eyeball anyone whose driving hasn't met your approval.

Secondly, it's so huge that other motorists literally jump out of the way when they see you coming.

It's not slow either. Under the bonnet sits the same 240hp 3.0-litre TDI as found in the A4, A6 and A5 yet it possesses so much torque that it happily propels all 2345kg to 62mph in under 9 seconds and onto a speed of 134mph. And it will do all of that while returning 31.7mpg.

Audi claims the Q7 has the worlds cleanest diesel technology meeting Euro6 emissions regulations set for 2014. Let's not kid ourselves, CO2 emissions of 234g/km are not going to win you any eco-warrior friends, but the Q7 does have its merits.

It is one of the most comfortable and easy to drive large SUVs around and comes with the excellent quality build and interior finish we've come to expect from Audi.

It's not my kind of car if I'm honest; a girl of my age driving a Q7 either looks like a daddy's girl or a WAG, of which I am neither.

I might not buy one, but I'm starting to understand why people do.