The whole family missed the Audi Q7 when it was gone: not as a relative or a pet, more like a troubleshooter for your entire existence; Nanny McPhee, except sleek and attractive – wait, that’s Mary Poppins.
Crikey Moses, it’s expensive: at 63 grand, probably about as pricey as a family car could get. It is, for me, a borderline fictional car, one I could imagine buying only if all other cars were sold out. But in that fictional universe, I would have a blast.
It has quite an understated look, exec-y silver exterior, grey leather interior, the kind of car you might buy if you had a drug-dealing empire and wanted to splash some cash without getting stopped by the police the whole time. Headlamps and interior controls have the same slender, grown-up styling. It’s never lumbering or clumsy, it has shaved a lot of weight off its previous incarnation, and yet it is massive: the option of seven seats, or a boot big enough to live in. The parking camera is the most accurate I’ve encountered, the satnav responds like it’s on University Challenge.
Indeed, the entire driving experience is a little heightened and idealised, like living in an advert: the four-wheel drive traction is muscular and sure, the handling makes you feel like a pro, the ride is incredibly smooth over almost everything. The temptation to go too fast – you can get to 62mph from nothing in 6.5 seconds – down medieval city streets is ever-present, which is ironic when you are the person who stands on the road shaking her fist at people who go at 24mph, like Popeye. The gentle quiet of any journey, at any speed, is like a lullaby. The automatic eight-speed gearbox is more intelligent than I will ever be.
Yet in the real world, there are real-world downsides: the optional 21-inch wheels send the emissions up to 163g/km, which isn’t grotesque in this 4×4 class and you wouldn’t blink at it from a Range Rover, but nor is it necessary. Its charm is its plushness and only a hooligan would want to get mud on it. But that being the case, the towing capability is unnecessary, and fiddly details such as brushed aluminium inlays can land a grand on the price; maybe, when money is no object, that poses no objection, but I found it unseemly.
Yet returning to the world of make-believe, where you can jump into pavements and dance with penguins, it’s just lovely.
Audi Q7: in numbers
Top speed COMING FROM JESS
Acceleration 0-62mph in 6.5 seconds
Combined fuel consumption 48mpg
Eco rating 6/10
Cool rating 8/10