The Audi Q7 e-tron is a hybrid version of the luxurious Q7 SUV, but you can’t get it with seven seats and it isn’t particularly efficient at motorway speeds
The Audi Q7 e-tron is a large, comfortable SUV with a frugal hybrid system that can help make it impressively cheap to run for such a large car. Just like the Range Rover Sport hybrid and Volvo XC90 T8, it can drive for short distances using just electric power but also comes with a conventional engine that can drive the wheel itself, or recharge the onboard batteries.
Despite this, the Audi Q7 e-tron looks almost identical to the standard Q7. Its huge body is just as imposing and you get an equally upmarket interior that’s packed full of plush materials and passenger-impressing tech. Chief among which is the Virtual Cockpit display – a widescreen digital driver’s display that replaces conventional analogue dials.
There’s plenty of space to stretch out in the front seats and they come with loads of electric adjustment to help you find your ideal seating position. The Audi Q7 e-tron’s three back seats all slide and recline independently to give three tall passengers room to get comfortable on long drives.
Unfortunately, the Audi Q7 e-tron’s batteries occupy space in the boot that would usually be reserved for the Q7’s optional third row of seats. Despite this, it still has a roomier boot than the Volvo XC90 T8 and Range Rover Sport Hybrid. There’s enough space for plenty of large suitcases or a few sets of golf clubs, and you can flip the back seats down if you need to carry a couple of bikes or some bulky furniture.
The Audi Q7 e-tron switches between electric and diesel power so smoothly that you’d have to have Superman’s sensory perception to tell the difference
Powering the Audi Q7 e-tron are a 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine and an electric motor that work together to deliver 373hp. This makes it faster than a conventional 3.0-litre diesel-powered Q7 – it’ll accelerate from 0-62mph in 6.2 seconds compared with the standard 272hp diesel Q7’s 6.5 second time.
Audi claims the Q7 e-tron will return a colossal 156.9mpg, too, but it’ll depend greatly on whether you can charge its onboard batteries every night and how far you regularly drive. If your daily commute is less than the Audi Q7 e-tron’s 35-mile electric-only range, you may find yourself using barely any fuel at all. If you do lots of long motorway journeys, however, you’ll find the Q7 e-tron relies more on its diesel engine, and becomes significantly thirstier than the official figures suggest.
So, it might not be particularly frugal on cross-continental trips, but at least the Audi Q7 e-tron is very comfortable. Some SUVs with large alloy wheels highlight bumps in the road, but not the Q7 e-tron – especially with the optional air suspension fitted. This helps it iron out all but the most monstrous potholes around town and waft you along quietly at motorway speeds with very little wind and tyre noise.
That said, it’s not the most relaxing car to drive around town. Sure, you get a good view out over other cars thanks to the Q7 e-tron’s tall body and large windows, but its sheer size can make squeezing through width restrictors a tad nerve-wracking.
Putting your mind at rest, though, is the fact that the Audi Q7 e-tron will offer very good protection in a crash. After all, the standard Q7 earned a five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP when it was crash-tested in 2015.