Audi Q7 e-tron

Audi Q7 e-tron

The European version of the Audi Q7 plug-in hybrid (with a 3.0 diesel engine) was recently tested by the Autocar.

Sales of this particular model will begin in December 2015 in Europe..

"The real breakthrough" according to the article is a feature called Predictive Efficiency, which changes drive modes depending on navigation to use the right mode at any given time to improve efficiency. Otherwise, the driver can manually select a mode (all-electric, hybrid or hold) like in most other plug-in cars.

Other positives are muted engine vibrations, and noise and cabin refinement.

Heavy weight (2,445 kg / 5,390 lbs) and the 17.3 kWh lithium-ion battery placed above the rear axle makes Q7 e-tron less agile than it should be and affects acceleration too.

"As out test drive showed, having three substantial adults in the cabin means the e-tron isn’t always as roaringly rapid as the raw figures might suggest.

Rather less satisfactory were some aspects of the e-tron’s handling. It runs straight and fast on motorways and picks its way through narrow village streets with great ease. But on some of the fast, sweeping bends we encountered outside Madrid, it was less happy.

Set the car up for a long corner and the Q7 runs into it and allows noticeable body roll to build up. But once the driver unwinds the lock as the car exits the bend, the e-tron struggles to settle itself into the new trajectory.

As the direction of body roll reverses, the chassis takes a second or two to right itself, which it eventually does in a rather untidy, top-heavy manner. My instinct was that this must be at least partly caused by having a 225kg battery pack balanced so high up over the rear axle."

All-electric range stated by Audi is about 34 miles (expect less under EPA tests).

Interior is reported as top notch too:

"As you’d expect, the Q7’s interior is a masterclass in fit, finish and premium design. But the front of the cabin is snug rather than generously spacious and the digital instrument pack is tilted slightly downwards, away from the driver. It is also packed out with too many small displays and mini graphic clusters. Although the boot is claimed to offer a 650-litre volume (and there’s a good amount of floor area) it is quite shallow once the luggage cover is deployed."

Source: Autocar