Audi India brought in the 40TFSI petrol trim in the Q7 portfolio quite recently. Until now, the SUV was being sold in India with the 3.0-litre TDI diesel engine only. Now, Audi's flagship product is available in both petrol and diesel trims. Well, the carmaker's paradigm shift towards petrol engines and downsizing isn't new. And, slowly with the gap in prices of petrol and diesel reducing, we will see more premium carmakers bringing in petrol cars as volume drivers. So the petrol version of this SUV does make sense for the Indian market. Or not? We find out.
Audi had last updated the Q7 back in 2015 and there aren't many changes since then. Not that it needed any as the Q7 is already quite bold in styling compared to its predecessors. The bloated look has been chiselled to give a curvier profile with rounded off edges. The flat bonnet, single-frame grille and Matrix LED headlamps give the car a face similar to its siblings. As for the wheels, I think they could have done better with a striking design as I'm not a huge fan of the ordinary looking alloys. Nonetheless, the LED tail lamps and the well contoured bumper complete the look at the back.
The diesel Q7 Technology pack already on sale in India is no different from the new petrol version in terms of design and functionality. The cabin is well laid out with a luxurious feel to it and comfortable seats. It offers a good view of the surroundings and one sits in a commanding position in the driver's seat.
The three-row seating offers generous space overall and now with the vertical spare tyre mount taken out, the third row becomes more usable. However, one can still opt for the spare tyre as an accessory. Otherwise, there is enough boot space to carry two-three soft bags with the third row up. Equipment-wise, the Q7 continues to be offered with all the bells and whistles depending on the variant ones chooses.
As for this Technology Pack, it comes loaded with practical bits like four-zone climate control, cruise control and the fantastic Audi MMI infotainment system paired with a Bose music system with smart connectivity. Then of course, there's Audi's Virtual Cockpit, which is essentially a fully digital instrument console that makes it one of its kind amongst the competition. Among a whole load of other features, the safety package on the car includes eight airbags, ABS, ESC, Emergency Brake Assist, a 360 camera, auto park assist and much more.
Let's get to the biggest change, which is under the hood of the Q7. This 40 TFSI trim is powered by a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine that churns out 248bhp and 370Nm of torque. It comes mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission with the power delivered to all four wheels. This is a super silent engine and also a very refined one. Well, this is also one of the most important reasons why one would chose the petrol over the diesel. However, once you start moving you can tell that the downsizing has made a noticeable difference in the way the car gets going. It takes off the line a bit slower than the diesel, which is understood due to the stark difference in torque figures (600Nm in the diesel). However, post 2,000rpm there is enough grunt to push the car and continue to gather speed.
There are different driving modes like off-road, all-road, comfort, auto, dynamic and individual. These alter the throttle response, engine characteristics, gearbox, steering and suspension. We mostly stuck to the auto mode as it works like a charm adjusting to the driver's style of driving and mood. The eight-speed gearbox has nicely stacked ratios that help put the power down to the wheels. The gearbox is smooth and quick but it’s the lack of the engine's instantaneous power and torque that make the vehicle make progress slowly. However, mash the throttle and the transmission drops a cog or two to gather speed. And at this point you get to hear a fair bit of noise from the engine, especially after 3,500rpm. Apart from the D mode, one can opt for the S mode which also quickly swaps gears with even a slight push to the paddle shifters.
The Q7 continues to feature adaptive suspension along with the electromechanical power steering. At low speeds, bump absorption is fantastic and one can tackle the rough patches of a road, or a dusty trail with much greater peace of mind. It rides well in such situations and only the bigger bumps and sharper ruts are what will send a jolt into the cabin. Still, there is no steering shock in such situations and the vehicle glides over the most uneven surfaces with ease. The steering is light to maneuver such a huge car around and weighs up adequately at high speeds. There is a certain amount of roll for a vehicle riding so high and weighing over two tonnes, but not to the point that the occupants will feel uncomfortable. Nonetheless, the brakes are fantastic to drop the anchor and the tyres grip well too for panic-free braking.
|Variant||40 TFSI Technology Pack|
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||248bhp @ 5000|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||370Nm @ 1,600|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||75|
|Tyre size||255/55 R19|
|19-inch Alloy Wheels||Yes|
|Different Driving Modes||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Variant||40 TFSI Technology Pack||400 4MATIC|
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||248bhp @ 5000||329bhp @ 5,250|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||370Nm @ 1,600||480Nm @ 1,600|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||75||100|
|Tyre size||255/55 R19||265/45 R19|
The petrol Audi Q7 still remains a well-rounded package for an SUV buyer looking for a good road presence, spacious and comfortable cabin and easy to drive car. In fact, as compared to the diesel, this one is a more silent, refined and affordable vehicle. The petrol derivative of Audi's flagship SUV Q7 demands an on-road Mumbai price of Rs 94.93 lakhs for the Technology pack. With this price tag, it directly competes against the Mercedes-Benz GLS 400 4MATIC and Land Rover Discovery HSE in the Indian market.
Pictures by Kapil Angane