Just like being an astronaut in a high-tech space car, that is how I felt when I stepped into the Audi Q7. The Audi Q7 has redefined the standards in the premium SUV segment. The second generation Q7 is now lighter, more efficient and full of high-tech features.
When I laid my eyes on the Audi Q7 I was awed by its good looks. There was more to love when I stepped into its cockpit — not because it is fancy, but its clear-cut lines and minimalist yet highly functional interiors are easy on the eyes. The main instrument panel is a large 12.3-inch LCD display called the Audi Virtual Cockpit. There are also quite a few display options like Bluetooth, navigation, telephony, fuel trip computer and then some.
The Q7 is also equipped with an 8.3-inch LCD display, which retracts out of view on the dashboard, much like a personal TV. Behind the three-spoke steering wheel are the paddle shifters for the eight-speed automatic transmission, giving added control on winding roads and off-roading.
Safety is one of the best features of the Audi Q7. This explains why this all-new model received the “Euro NCAP Advanced” award for its optional Multi-Collision Brake Assist System and Audi Pre-Sense, which when the system detects a dangerous situation, tensions the seatbelts and closes the windows and sunroof before a collision. The Multi-Collision Brake Assist System initiates braking automatically in case of an accident to reduce the risk of skidding and mitigate greater damage in the event of impact in a collision. Audi also places maximum value on integral safety, going above and beyond the measures assessed by the institution. And we all know that when driving on the streets of Metro Manila and the nearby provinces, these features are a must.
Additionally, red LED lights illuminate on the exterior once the doors or tailgate is opened to warn motorists and pedestrians alike from the rear.
Space for all: A cockpit that makes driving truly easy
The award-winning SUV also redefines environmental friendliness while improving dynamic performance. The Q7, depending on variant, weighs 325 kilograms less than its predecessor. The massive reduction in weight improves fuel consumption and dynamic handling response, cornering, braking and acceleration.
It was a Tagaytay sort of weekend. I had opted to visit my niece Natalia Moran, who is the resident chef at Chateau Hestia, a rustic bed and breakfast nestled in on the smaller streets of Tagaytay.
The drive from Manila to Sta. Rosa was a breeze with the Q7 being a cool companion on the early morning drive to SLEX.
Because the all-new Audi Q7 is also shorter and narrower than its predecessor, I found it easy to maneuver it through the narrower side streets that Waze asked me to take to avoid the Saturday traffic. I have to add here that my two companions on this trip were sitting comfortably the whole time telling me to look out the window and see the surrounding greens — since I was focused on getting the drive done.
And, although the all-new Q7 is 37-mm shorter and 15-mm narrower than its predecessor, its interior has an additional 21-mm of space between the first and second row, improving rear-seat comfort, while headroom has increased by 41-mm in the front seats, and 23-mm in the second-row seats.
I asked my lonesome back-seat rider how she was enjoying the comfort of being the chauffer-driven passenger, her reply was, “I am loving every minute of the comfy back seats.”
I realized just how much fun it was driving up to Tagaytay through Sta. Rosa. The hillier terrain gave me a better feel of just how versatile and stable the Audi Q7 is.
The engine is a 3.0-liter TDI V6 engine. I loved how it responded to my command without any hesitation; it was that easy to be in control of this SUV because it drove lightly. For a driver like me, an SUV that makes driving easy (no matter its size) is truly a pleasure. The Audi Q7 delivers power to all four wheels through its an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission and Quattro all-wheel drive system.
The Q7 features Audi’s Drive Select Program with seven modes: Efficiency, Comfort, Auto, Dynamic, Individual, All-Road and Off-Road. I chose to drive on comfort mode given that most of the road I traversed that day were cemented. The drive was oh-so comfy as the shifts from the transmission were smooth.
It is always great to know that there is a drive program for each kind of driver, and for this Saturday, I was in the Zen zone... this meant — steady lang.
Yes, I did try the Dynamic mode — but just for a short stretch. I felt just how quickly the Q7 responded making the ride feel more urgent and aggressive.
We finally made it to Chateau Hestia with just one short, winding road left. I hesitated a bit as I looked down from the wheel of the Q7 wondering if this beauty would make it down easy. I was not disappointed as it responded to my every move of the steering wheel with accuracy. I made it down safe and sound and happy, I might add.
As my companions headed inside for lunch, I took a leisurely stroll around the Audi Q7, with the cool breeze at the bed and breakfast keeping me company.
I really like the bold new look of the Q7. Its angular wheel fender flares reminded me of the Audi Quattro models of old, and the trademark single-frame grill features bold horizontal crossbars to project a rather masculine image giving it that air of strength and confidence on the road.
Another happy day for this driver, another day well-spent.
And, yes, the food at Chateau Hestia was the perfect break from that cool and balmy Saturday drive.