Take an Audi Q7 off-roading? Drive it over unpredictable terrain and in torrential rain? Those were my first and rather surprised reactions when Ninad and Santosh assigned me the Q7 for our CarWale Off-Road day 2019.
At first, I wasn’t convinced that this big hunk of German metal you see in the pictures, was capable of going where no car usually wants to go. It, after all, screams all things luxury and is more at home in the density of a city standing tall in the crowd rather than on the path less taken.
However, once the initial surprise /apprehension had worn off, I sat and thought about it and it suddenly seemed like this would work. Audi, after all, is one of the O.Gs when it comes to AWD technology. Their explosive exploits in the high-octane world of Group B rallying sealed and cemented the legend of the ur-Quattro rally car. Now, well over 35 years later, Audi is known the world over for its AWD technology, also called Quattro (but with a smaller q in obeisance to the group B rally car).
This 35 years of development has changed things quite a bit. In a normal off-road experience, you have to deal with locking differentials, a low-range gearbox and knowing what is beside and under you, which more or less involves a spotter and craning your neck out of the window. But, the Q7 makes this entire process a breeze. Everything is electronically controlled, you get a 360-degree camera setup and best of all, an air suspension that lets you raise and lower the ride height on the fly. It is as simple as a step in, raise the suspension, choose the mode and get going.
That is not to say that we weren’t still apprehensive about pushing the Q7. Its road-biased nature meant it had to skip the trail test as well as the hill climb in a bid to prevent any kind of damage to the underbody.