A roaring retreat

A roaring retreat

Leaving a line of envious work mates for dust, Charles Renwick, head of management services at insurance group Lycetts, hits the winding roads of Northumberland in Audi’s latest SUV foray
Now, I am no Jeremy Clarkson and I certainly have no pretensions to be the Northumbrian version of Lewis Hamilton when it comes to driving technique, indeed I am generally more comfortable with horsepower of the four legged variety under me than the six cylinders of the Audi Q7 S Line Plus model that I was privileged to drive for this review, so this account is from the lay person’s perspective. Nothing more, nothing less!

I shall not propose to bamboozle with stats on torque, fuel consumption, tiptronic gearboxes and CO2 emissions, worthy as they all are in the pantheon of reckoning when it comes to assessing the merits or otherwise of this beast of a motor.

What I do know is that it is an eye catching vehicle. Just casually displaying the sales brochure on my desk caused various work colleagues to wonder if I was pitching above my weight in the motoring department and to question just what I had done to even get in the frame to drive such a vehicle. Indeed, my Monday night Matfen tennis partners, some of whom really do know about and own lots of cars, were even more intrigued and, dare I day, envious.

I think that might be an apt description of the emotions this car is capable of inspiring. It has a presence, it’s mightily comfortable and dominates the road. So what are the counter points? Earlier models had some aspersions cast over the durability of their tyres, hopefully these have been remedied as it’s no small jolt to the finances to replace tyres of this grade. I don’t know how it compares on the environmental front, but there is no doubt that the Start-Stop system, which was a novelty for me and worked seamlessly, achieves
its objective.

It may not be the most economic car to run when measured against every applicable criteria, but to achieve 30 mpg in this grade of vehicle is perfectly respectable. It is big and may be too big for some situations – and travelling home along some of the tight lanes in mid-Northumberland emphasised this point. Equally when reversing into a tight parking spot you need to be on the ball and make full use of the on board parking system – but it revels in the open space of the motorway, cruising along effortlessly and most enjoyably for the driver.

There is no end of gadgets to play with or should I say assist you in your automotive journey. As somebody who prefers the challenge of the old fashioned map, I was intrigued by the HDD based Satellite Navigation system which seemed to be easy and intuitive to use, so much so I could be swayed to invest in one.

The interior’s creators have been precise and thorough in their design and execution. I rather liked the button to close the boot, less so the hand brake, applied by a pedal on the left and released by a handle on the right of the driving seat. However, the seven seats would suit a large family, and certainly my two towering teenage sons. The dashboard is well laid out and beautifully presented while the on board facilities are copious and well positioned

for comfort.

In the height of summer it was not possible to really test its off-road capability and I would like to see how it copes in the foothills of the Cheviots in the winter snows. Although I do know one thing, I would feel pretty secure in it. I have a suspicion its preferred environment is more urban based than some of the more agricultural places - with deep mud and undulating ground - that vehicles like this might end up at. However, what is not to like? It’s big, it’s smooth, it’s comfortable. Don’t take my word for it, try it yourself, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the experience!

The car Charles drove was the Audi Q7, 3ltr diesel S-Line Plus model - £51,250 OTR.

Audi Scotswood Rd, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear NE4 7YW