Twist the ignition, and as expected of a petrol powertrain, you will be welcomed by a relatively quiet and refined motor that dishes out 252bhp and 370Nm. This engine uses an eight-speed tiptronic transmission to lay down all that power through the Quattro permanent all-wheel drive. There’s a hint of reluctance in this petrol Q7 to get going from standstill. But that’s basically due to the effort involved for this smaller 2.0-litre motor in lugging 2240kgs of SUV into motion.
However, that’s only until the turbo spools up by about 1900rpm, after which there’s a nice linear surge that lasts all the way to the 6700rpm redline. Although this small petrol motor gets most of the jobs done without a sweat, it isn’t in the league of the 600Nm diesel Q7 in terms of outright performance. And this was expected considering the 270Nm torque difference.
Nevertheless, the smooth performance makes driving within the city in D-mode a fairly easy affair. For anything more, just slot the lever into S-mode where the transmission quickly downshifts in anticipation for instant response. You can also the shuffle through the gears via the paddle-shift which makes driving this SUV even more delightful.
For more action behind the wheel, just slot it into Dynamic mode. Sure, the engine becomes more audible in this mode, but the transmission clings on to the lower gears to give you the additional power demanded of it. The drive gets peppier, and you eventually notice that the system chooses its eight gears efficiently to spin out the torque to the wheels to keep you going.
Also, there are pre-set drive modes that change the manners in which the throttle, gearbox, steering and suspension respond. There’s ‘Comfort’, which has the most relaxed power output since the gearbox swiftly upshifts as soon as you go easy on the throttle. ‘Auto’ mode detects your driving style and sets the engine, gearbox, suspension and steering to suit. ‘Individual’, on the other hand, allows one to manually toggle between Comfort/Auto/Dynamic for a tailor-made experience.
When it comes to the Q7’s steering, it felt light and effortless which in-turn made it easy to drive this large SUV especially within the city. Although we would have preferred better feedback, switching to Dynamic gave it some heft and left us more-or-less satisfied overall. Furthermore, the Q7 hasn’t really changed in terms of ride and handling. It is equipped with an air suspension that allows it to glide over most surfaces.
At slow speeds, the bump absorption is very good, but you will be able to hear the suspension working away in the background over harsh bumps. Up the pace, and although there is some up and down movement in Comfort-mode over rippled surfaces, one can easily tackle it by switching to Dynamic-mode, which lends it a flatter ride. There’s even an All-road/Off-road mode which raises the air-suspension automatically by 60mm.