Audi Q7 interior
The latest Audi Q7’s interior makes the outgoing car’s cabin look like belongs on an episode of Antiques Roadshow, but it’s a shame the infotainment system isn’t all that easy to use.
If you thought the new Audi Q7’s exterior transformation was dramatic, just wait until you climb inside. Gone is the old car’s plain, plastic dashboard with its retractable infotainment display – you now get an uber-slick minimalist layout with acres of glossy piano-black trims, metal-effect inserts and not one, but two high-resolution touchscreens.
The Q7’s simple layout – which relegates almost all the old car’s physical buttons to the great Audi scrapheap in the sky – looks pretty much identical to what you get in a Q8, A6 and A7, and everything feels slightly sturdier than in a Mercedes GLE.
Sure, you’ll hear a faint creak if you give the dashboard a really hard prod, but the only cheap-feeling plastics in the Audi Q7’s cabin are hidden deep down inside the storage bins on the doors.
As you’d expect in a posh SUV, the Audi Q7 comes with electrically adjustable leather seats as standard. Step up to an S Line model and you get more supportive front seats in more supple Valcona leather alongside a set of brushed aluminium dashboard inserts, a sportier steering wheel, stainless steel pedal trims, a moodier black headlining and some illuminated metal door sill trims.
If you’d rather something a little less clinical, there’s always the Audi Q7 Black Edition to consider. These get broadly the same upgrades as S Line cars but ditch the brushed aluminium trims in favour of some polished oak inserts with a classy grey finish.
Push the boat out for a range-topping Vorsprung model, you get a panoramic glass roof, some interior mood lighting, a set of even more supportive super sports seats and a black suede-like Alcantara headlining that feels so plush it’ll have you pawing at the roof like a particularly satisfied cat.
Some of the Q7’s infotainment features work brilliantly – such as the handwriting recognition feature – while others, such as the screen’s haptic feedback, take a fair bit of getting used to.
The new Audi Q7 comes with a bang-up-to-date infotainment system that makes the old car’s retractable non-touchscreen display feel like a ten-year-old ATM.
As standard, you get two large touchscreens that fit seamlessly into the car’s dashboard and centre console. These control everything from the sat-nav to the heated seats and come with haptic feedback that makes tapping an on-screen icon feel like pressing a physical button.
Unfortunately, this feature can’t quite make up for the Audi Q7’s slightly confusing menus. The 10.1-inch upper screen is a decent size, but the white-on-black icons aren’t particularly easy to read with a glance and adjusting the system’s settings takes a few more swipes and prods than in a BMW X5.
The lower 8.6-inch screen is slightly more colourful, but it’s still more difficult to quickly adjust the cabin temperature than in the BMW X5 and Mercedes GLE with their physical knobs and buttons. Audi’s voice recognition software isn’t on a par with BMW’s excellent Personal Assistant system either, and even trails the slightly haphazard ‘Hey Mercedes’ feature you can get in the GLE.
It’s not all bad news, though, because the Audi Q7’s digital driver’s display has the screens in the BMW and Mercedes well and truly licked. All three cars can be had with a high-resolution screen instead of conventional digital dials, but the Audi’s ‘Virtual Cockpit’ system is both the easiest to read and the most customisable. It’s especially good when you want it to display a widescreen sat-nav map with directions right in your eye line.
Speaking of sat-nav, the Audi Q7 has a trick up its sleeve when you come to programming an address. Rather than rely on voice commands or fiddly on-screen keyboard, you can use the lowermost touchscreen to write-in whole words of an address with your finger – no matter how incomprehensible your handwriting.
If you aren’t a fan of Audi’s sat-nav – or you just prefer using Waze, for example – you can mirror your smartphone’s navigation apps using the Audi Q7’s standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto features. These are a doddle to connect to, but they do disable the screen’s haptic feedback, so they aren’t all that easy to use when you’re driving.
If you’re just using them to play music through the Audi Q7’s stereo, though, this isn’t an issue because you can switch tracks using the shortcut buttons on the steering wheel.
Speaking of music, if you’re a die-hard listener you’ll appreciate the Q7’s standard 10-speaker setup with its bass-boosting subwoofer. Pay extra for a top-spec Vorsprung model and you get an even better 558W Bose system with a 15-channel amp and 19 speakers.