Last week was super busy for me. One of my clients is changing his fleet of cars and this meant I had to collect an Audi Q7 Sline from Annecy and drive it back to the UK.
For a girl like me this is an ideal day at work. Fly to Geneva, buy a bit of Chanel at the airport, nip to Annecy have a salad and glass of red by arguably one of the prettiest lakes in France. Listen to those delicious French accents whilst flicking through Vogue and then step into a big, spacious and comfy car for 11 hours of driving through mountain ranges and picturesque villages. Bliss.
The Audi didn't disappoint too much. This was a Q7 3.0 TDI Quattro Sline. Full black leather, personally I prefer a nice mix of leather and Alcantara but for resale these things are better with just the leather. The car was specced with the Panoramic roof giving you the feeling of extra space but with an electronic shade that also gives you privacy or protection from the sun. Especially useful for those amongst us with a bald head. I love the way the Germans put these things together. Everything closes with a reassuring clunk or a clonk.
Slightly disappointed that this particular car wasn't fitted with heated front seats. Really I think this should have been standard fit on an Sline but I won't start picking on the finer details. Not yet. It didn't help that I was driving through snowy mountain passes for three hours. But my large bottom soon heated the seats itself. So I soon got over that.
Another missing component was Xenons. For me, in this day and age, xenons are a must and if you don't agree then its probably because you haven't driven a car with xenons and if you have and you still don't agree, then you are probably wrong.
Taking all that out of the equation and the disastrous lack of an aux port so I could play my iTunes instead of listening to awful French radio, I was at home in the Q7. The car is more comparable to the Range Rover Sport than the Vogue given that it is all mammoth and big from the outside but on the inside its compact. It is a car that's terribly long and terribly thin but as we all know length is nothing if unaccompanied by girth. However it's a bittersweet thing, the space issue.
I like having a big car but also like the snug feeling of being inside, lets say, a BMW 1series. The Q7 comes with seven seats (two of these in the boot that fold up) BUT if you have all two seats up and full of people there is no room for a dog or a buggie or any of the luggage you would need if you had six other people in the car with you and so I do question exactly what the point is. Useful for the school run or as a taxi service but not for a big seven man team expedition I suspect. I'm picturing the Q7 with one of those awful rooftop boxes now. Oh lord. Very uncool.
Driving for long periods of time in any car can be tough. You need to be in an egg of comfort that is effortless to drive, especially if you are in a foreign country on the wrong (or potentially correct) side of the road. The Q7 was all of those things. Even the steering wheel feels right in my hands and I certainly couldn't complain about that girth. There isn't too much roll in this car either. In the Range Rover Sport I always feel I am going to topple over if I hit a corner at any kind of speed.
Fuel consumption was a bit questionable, around 21 mpg BUT I wasn't exactly driving economically and to be honest, my Range Rover Vogue is sitting at 18 MPG at the moment. The Sat Nav was to the point and easy to work. Or at least it must have been because the whole car was speaking French and yet I still managed to make it back to Calais without any major hiccups.
So, would I put my money on an Audi Q7? Potentially yes. It has a classic style to it, perhaps slightly too overworked on the exterior, it retains the Germans need for practicality although it does get it slightly wrong in places. The only real issue is Audi themselves who seemingly don't want my money. After spending the last three weeks trying to get someone in head office to call me back so I can buy and finance a brand new Q7 for a VIP client, I have given up.
Great product, brilliant PR lady (you can find her on twitter @SarahAudiUK) but absolutely useless sales approach with seemingly no need to sell me a car and no want to extract money from my willing paws.
Audi, I am disappointed in you. You have something I want and yet you refuse to let me have it, I am left wanting and that's a terrible shame.
For more details on my French escapade and to read about why Visa has infuriated me feel free to drop by Not Now Nancy and read Viva La Visa! Non non non
Later on this week I will be test driving one of my ultimate cars. The Mercedes C63 AMG estate. Oh how I look forward to the school run in this beast! I will also be discussing rubber, both the exciting and the boring kind and perhaps too I shall share with you a few money saving secrets you can use when servicing your car.
Follow Nancy Atkinson-Turner on Twitter: www.twitter.com/macchinaclub