Audi 7

I would need a bucket full of superlatives to fully explain the tech in this range topper from Audi as they have crammed it to the hilt with every bit of tech they could find.

There is a big SUV trend lately to make them look like coupes – take a look at the BMW X6 and the Mercedes GLE Coupe and the Q8 apes that look with a sloping roof line, very cool frameless doors, massive wheel arches, five seats and a boot that would carry half your house.

The exterior is very sexy and looks a lot smaller than it actually is inside, which is an art in itself. There are three engines available, with the 50TDI (286bhp), 45 TDI (228bhp) and a cracking 55TSI V6 (335bhp) coming soon along with an RS version. My review car is a little disingenuous as with a badge that says 50TDI, one would immediately believe it is a 5-litre whereby it is actually 3-litre. Still, Mercedes have been getting away with the 6.3-litre badge on a 6.2-litre car for years.

It comes loaded with dynamic all-wheel steer, Matrix LED lighting, climate and their brilliant Virtual Cockpit that shows speed and satnav info across the main MMI screen, the dash screen and in the head up display. Get lost in this car and you really would feel a total idiot. The leather seats are superb, the dash layout intuitive and the general finish as good as it gets. I am not a great fan of the touch screen required for just about every single function. You need to give it quite a hefty push and to ensure you have your finger on the right button, you have to take your eyes off the road. The Bang & Olufsen sound system is excellent and the double glazing keeps most road noise at bay.

The clever thing here is that they have managed to make a huge car feel quite compact and even on the massive 22 inch wheels, it’s stable in corners and is a superb long-distance cruiser. It’s not a very exciting drive and l certainly felt the turbo lag, with hesitation each time the throttle is mashed as if it is thinking about whether to obey your foot’s instructions. There are seven drive modes of which comfort and sport are really all you need. As ever, the all-wheel drive is clever and subtle, with torque-vectoring on the rear axle, and a torque split that can shove up to 70% to the front or 85% to the rear, depending on conditions. One might expect that the turning circle would be a mile and a half but with the aid of the four-wheel-steering, it is remarkably tiny for this size of car.

It is reasonably swift with 60mph coming in 6.3 seconds although l would suggest that the smaller engine model would be a tad turgid when carrying the same weight. The brakes are fantastic should you ever need to exercise them fully. Full-bore stops from 70mph are over sooner than even Porsche’s latest Cayenne Turbo can manage, despite that car having 10-piston front calipers.

I have always been quite a fan of the Q range since l first tested the Q5 3-litre a few years back. I went on a trip to Bath and found it engaging, smooth and uber comfortable. Since then, l think l have reviewed the entire range and the only one that did not quite hit the spot for me was the lumbering hunk Q7. Too fat, too big and in town, virtually impossible to thread through the traffic or park. This Q8 just pops under that description and offers all the size and power without the drawback.


Model tested: Q8 50 TDI Quattro Vorsprung tiptonic
Engine: 3.0-litre V6 diesel
Power: 286bhp
Speed: 0-62mph 6.3 seconds
Top: 152mph
Economy: 41.5mpg combined
Price from: £81,115
As tested: £84,690

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