I've been out in Mexico this month trying out the Q7's little sister – the new
Q5 – and as soon as I climbed inside it was clear lessons learned in the firm's
largest SUV have now cascaded down the range.
Technology that I've got so used to in our long termer, like the brilliant
digital dashboard, is now available on the Q5, as well as the countless safety
systems and driver aids.
During lunch at the event I sat next to the engineer responsible for the digital
dashboard across the manufacturer's models and he asked me what I thought of the
system in "my" Q7. I told him I loved it, the large widescreen display for the
sat nav especially, but I explained I had always wondered why there was a large
picture of the car I was driving on the main home screen.
"Ah, there's a story behind that," revealed the German technology whizzkid.
"When we were developing that screen we wanted to put more information and data
in that space, but we ran out of time – the picture of the car was the easiest
thing to replace it with."
It's funny what you learn when you chat to the people behind building these
brilliant cars. Coming back from the Q5 launch and getting back in the Q7 made
me realise just how big it is. In the last month that space has come in handy on
plenty of occasions, most recently on festive duties collecting a Christmas
rear-most set of seats I had it strapped in place quite comfortably. The rear
seat configuration is quite brilliant – I still love the fact they raise and
lower at the touch of a button in the boot, giving you extra space, or extra
seating, in seconds.
With all the seats down it even managed to swallow a large slate hearth for the
money-pit of the house I've ended up buying. At least it saved on the cost of
having it delivered.
Unfortunately, the Q7 is currently asking for another helping of Ad Blue. A
message on the dash has asked me to top up with 6-litres of the mythical stuff
in the next 1,500-miles. The liquid goes in next to the diesel in a separate
tank and helps keep emissions lows.
The last time I topped it up was at 7,000 miles when it took 6-litres. That cost
£15 from Amazon, so I've been back online an ordered some more, this time for
£14. The mileage on the Q7 has just clicked over 10,000 so this Ad Blue habit
looks to work out at about two litres per 1,000 miles. That's not too costly,
but it is a pain to sort out – especially as if you ignore it that car will
simply stop working.
I also can't help thinking lately that the engine has got a little louder.
Perhaps it's loosened up over the last few thousand miles, but it's got
noticeably more audible at start up in the last few weeks. And there's also been
a strange phenomenon lately of the powered tailgate opening unexpectedly. I've
left the office twice now to find the boot up in the car park. I suspect I may
have sat on the key in my pocket, but I can't be sure.
I'll keep an eye on both this, and the noisier engine, and will report back next
FACTS AT A GLANCE
Model: Audi Q7 3.0 TDI Quattro S Line
Engine: 3.0-litre, TDI
Max speed: 145mph
0-60mph: 6.5 seconds
Emissions: 153 g/km
MPG: 48mpg (combined)
Mileage this month: 1,237
This month's highlight: Discovering the story behind the dash