Q7 due to go soon – what next?

In May sometime, I have to surrender the Q7.
It’s been an amazing car and despite the negative press (and my hypocritical, slanderous dismissal of the car on launch), I am strongly considering getting another.

Pros
It has one of the best 3.0TDi’s in the business. The BMW unit is more modern and the twin turbo more powerful, but they don’t hold a light to the smoothness of the Audi unit. Dishing out 400 lb/ft, it’s also a surreal proposition. Seeing a 2.5 tonne car being hauled with such ease is off-putting at best of times.
Fabulous gearbox. The six speed auto is smooth and responsive. Sport mode is very effective too, with a far more dynamic use of gears, preferring to hold gears much longer, giving better response. Paddle shift available also for those pretending it’s of any use.
It is very comfortable. With the standard air suspension, it’s a cruiser on all types of terrain. Its high seating position also giving it a naturally comfortable vista, allowing even the wife to navigate the car with suspicious ease.
Surprising agility for a behemoth with adjustable suspension settings providing flexibility based on your mood.
Mountain bike fits right in, no problem. Don’t have to disassemble anything.
Oh, can also fit motorbikes in there too

Cons
Fuel consumption is horrific, averaging 25MPG, making fuel stops a frequent and irksome pastime, especially as each tank costs £100.00, taking absolutely forever to fill up at some courts.
Size is intimidating at first, but even after getting used to the fact that it doesn’t drive like a big car, you realise 80% of parking spaces suddenly become unavailable. You cannot fit in anything other than a completely empty space.
Build quality is typically Americanised. It’s got thin paintwork, exposing tiny scratches. I’ve had trim fall off, minor electrical components fail and fascia dent very easily.

What’s my shortlist? I’m going to hell, but I really like the concept of a roomy, 4×4. With two kids, both with car seats, and a pushchair permanently in the boot, it’s either a 4×4 or people carrier. And I’m not quite the quaker yet.

Audi Q7 – the new ones have engine modifications so they incorporate stop-start tech. This will help the fuel bills no end.
BMW X5 – The dynamic class leader. Not as big as a Q7, but that isn’t such a bad thing
Cayenne Hybrid – too expensive!

Whatever I choose, I will miss this car. It’s been fantastic and easy to live with. A true fire and forget car.

IMG_1047

Full set here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/blowdog/sets/72157623431857407/

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