The eminently capable Audi Q7 and its blend of exemplary refinement, technological sophistication and comfort have earned it the seal of approval from the judges at Professional Driver magazine, who have crowned it this year’s Luxury SUV.
A panel comprising over 80 members representing multiple disciplines, from private hire firms and chauffeurs to experienced motoring journalists, singled out the entry-level SE specification as their preference, which features a host of technology that is ideally suited to the chauffeur car role.
Making life easier for both driver and passengers is the raised ride height, Audi smartphone interface and MMI Navigation Plus with the MMI Touch handwriting facility for quick and intuitive navigation entries.
Other particularly suitable elements that single the Q7 out as an ideal candidate include the option of adaptive air suspension for a cosseting ride on every occasion, regardless of road condition, and various driver assistance systems that can take the strain out of travelling congestion and even save operators money in the long term. Two such examples are the adaptive cruise control with the integrated traffic jam assist function that can brake, accelerate and steer the car in traffic at up to 59 km/h (37mph), and the predictive efficiency assistant, which uses the route data not only to advise the driver of where they can lift off the accelerator, but is also capable of actively ‘freewheeling’ the transmission where possible to reduce consumption and enhance ride comfort.
For even greater levels of refinement, power door closure is available and the windscreen and front side windows can be upgraded with heat and sound insulating glass in addition to privacy glass which is already fitted as standard on S line models.
In terms of infotainment, the Audi entertainment mobile provides an immersive experience for rear-seat passengers through two detachable 10.1-inch touchscreens that are capable of streaming content from a range of source including iOS or Android and Bluetooth, while the Bang & Olufsen 3D sound system provides a rich cinematic audio experience that is on a par with a concert hall.
Extensive testing over a full day is undertaken by the Professional Driver panel and involves a circular road route, taking in urban roads and motorway-standard dual-carriageways. The cars are then given a full walk-around scrutiny and on-board systems are comprehensively trialled.
Naturally, boot space tests are an important part of the process and the Q7 comfortably excels with a 770-liter luggage capacity that increases to 1955 liters with the third row of seats folded.
A power-operated tailgate adds to the convenience, and the third row of seats can also be raised or lowered in seconds electrically via buttons in the boot or the second seat row.