In its previous iteration, the Audi Q7 was big, attention-seeking, and all things loved by those who wanted a luxury SUV that was an everyday car that could handle the rough with ease but also looked presentable while doing so. There was a wide variety of engine options on offer — from sensible ones to outright mad. But as it happens with all good things, it had to come to an end. And so did the Q7’s unchallenged supremacy in the SUV space.

However, after a brief hiatus, it’s now back with a fresh face and updated mechanicals. But are its feet big enough to fill the shoes of its predecessor? We try and decode this on a short drive in the new Audi Q7. There was a time when the Q7 was everywhere; celebrities loved them, people with a lot of money loved them, and for car spotters, it became a rapidly common sight. The new one doesn’t change that intent, but the execution differs. 

Firstly, it doesn’t seem as ungainly as many full-sized first-generation SUVs did. It also doesn’t look as much in your face as before. It’s gone classier with Audi adopting a clever approach to package it in a way that’s relatively easy on the eyes despite the size. The new grille with its vertical slats doesn’t look as brash in the flesh, and the overall shape seems a lot more balanced than before. Introduced in the markets abroad about two years ago, its interior is easily one of the finest cabins Audi SUVs have ever had. It’s understandably far from the newest, but it is high-quality, and well-polished. The experience of travelling in the Audi Q7 isn’t only about how good the interior is but also about how well the SUV rides. The rear seat can be manually adjusted for more leg space, and recline as well; both of which customers will appreciate since many of the Q7s are likely to be chauffeur-driven.

With adaptive air suspension, the ride quality is the Q7’s strong point. I remains stable at high speeds, and when it comes to tackling bad roads, it ploughs through with absolute ease. From the driver’s perspective, the adjustability bit is also up there with the seven drive modes: it transforms from a road-going car to a focused off-road-ready vehicle to one that’ll do a mix of bad and no roads in the Allroad mode. With 340hp and 500Nm, it has the ability to become a cross-country cruiser as well. To give you an idea of its performance, Audi claims that the V6-engined Q7 (complete with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system), a full-sized, seven-seater SUV, can do 0-100kph in under six seconds. And that is borderline insane, especially in a non-performance-orientated car. Oh, did I mention seven seats? Well, electrically foldable and finished in the same high-quality material as the remaining five, the last two seats or the third row does exist. However, its use is highly questionable because there’s a solid size and comfort constraint in the back. Keep them folded for emergency use and utilise the massive boot; that is what I suggest.

The cabin, on the whole, is spacious otherwise, and the extra-large panoramic sunroof lets in a lot of light to help keep claustrophobia at bay. The four-zone climate control works effectively to keep the air clean and cool, and the optional rear-seat entertainment package can be a great way to kill time on long drives. The 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen is said to boast 3D sound, and it sounds great.

I was streaming high-quality lossless (not absolute best, though) from an online service, but the results may vary depending on your choice of music.

The Audi Q7 exhibits all the usual traits of a large SUV. However, like any self-respecting Quattro-badged Audi, it grips and grips and catapults itself so hard that it makes the one in the driving seat forget its large size, which is quite a departure from the first-generation Q7. You were aware of its size. This one tries to blend with the surroundings well; don’t get me wrong, it’s not anonymous, but it looks better balanced than before. And if you’re in the market for a luxury SUV, this one will always be on your radar. Prices start at Rs 79.99 lakh for the Premium Plus model, while the higher-specced Q7 Technology trim is available for Rs 88.33 lakh.