Audi Q7
(2006 - 2015)

  • All the Audi image and panache for tens of thousands of dollars less than a newer Q7.
  • Incredibly practical (with the 3rd row stowed away).
  • Comfortable and almost luxurious driving experience.
  • Very good levels of safety considering this generations age.
  • Terrible reputation for reliability.
  • Extensive list of common issues and faults.
  • Generally very expensive to repair.
  • Expensive and hard on consumables.
Overview

Audi’s Q7 was initially gun shy about SUV, its first, the large-segment Q7, arriving in 2006, fashionably much later the established competition from BMW (X5), Mercedes-Benz (ML-Class), Porsche (Cayenne) and Volkswagen (Touareg).

Audi’s largest model to date launched locally via a lengthy media tour of Outback Australia to prove its multi-terrain capabilities. By all accounts, it proved its mettle handsomely, even if conventional wisdom was, prior to today’s SUV hysteria, few owners would ever tackle serious off-roading.

Underpinned by a version of the Volkswagen Group’s PL71 and built alongside Touareg in Slovakia, the gen-one Q7 was initially offered in both TDI and FSI petrol guises, entering the fray with a choice of two six-pot engines: a 3.0-litre oiler good for 171kW/500Nm or a naturally aspirated 3.6 petrol at 206kW and 360Nm, both priced around the mid-$80k mark.

The tree-topper was a naturally aspirated FSI petrol V8 good for 257kW and 440Nm that fitted adaptive air suspension rather than the conventional spring format of the sixes. A six-speed auto was fitted range wide, while Audi’s penchant for ‘quattro’ permanent all-wheel drive was also par for the Q7 course.

Available in five-, seven- and a rarely optioned six-seat (2+2+2) guises, the Q7 was big, comfy, reasonably well equipped in low-grade from a lobbed at time where premium European marques charged for extra like wounded bulls. Nice wheels, electric leather seating and a sunroof could be a five-figure on-cost. They’re also, by today’s standards, quite thirsty, advertising consumptions of between 10.5L (TDI six) and 13.6L (FSI V8) claimed.

This was also the era when Audi pushed diesel hard as a performance choice, notably marketed through endurance motorsport, and 2008’s Q7 TDI V8, its 4.2-litre twin-turbo unit churning out 240kW and 760Nm, became the range flagship at just under $128k. But there was much more to come…

MY10 saw the arrival of the TDI V12 – that’s no misprint – offering 368kW and ONE THOUSAND Newton metres of torque from its whopping six-litre capacity and dozen-cylinder count, in homage (of sorts) to Audi’s Le Mans racing endeavors. Despite 2.5 tonnes it dispatched 0-100km/h in 5.5 seconds and cost a quarter-mil.

A facelift, going some way to amending early Q7’s frumpy styling, lobbed in 2010. Around this time, the underachieving naturally aspirated 3.6 petrol was replaced by a fitter supercharged 3.0-litre unit, outputting a far healthier 254kW and 440Nm and improved (10.7L) fuel consumption, with Audi hiking pricing up to around $94k. Australia’s 3.0SC engine was the higher-output version of two tunes offered globally.

Around this time, Audi also dropped the six-speed automatic in favour of a more modern and efficient eight-speed unit in everything par the mighty V12. Meanwhile, the petrol V8 was retired from the Q7 stable and a more efficient, Euro 6-certified 3.0-litre diesel – 180kW, 550Nm, just 7.4L/100kms – migrated to the lower end of the Q7 line-up.

Latter first-gen Q7s also benefited from Audi expanding more into S-line styling upgrade and a broader choice of aesthetic options and wheel choices. The marque’s now staple MMI infotainment format also surfaced towards the tail end of the lifecycle, which ended in September 2015 when the all-new ‘boxy’ second-generation Q7 launched in Australia.

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What goes wrong
  • There are reports that the windscreen wiper arms are known to break far too easily and the windscreen washer fluid lines are known to leak. It seems some Q7’s make it very hard to wash or clear your windscreen.
  • The keyless entry sensors in the door handles are known to fail, as are the actual locking actuators, basically not unlocking the car, potentially leaving you stranded. To fix these issues, occasionally you’ll have to buy an entire new handle, for all 4 doors and requiring genuine Audi parts, this will become expensive.
  • The power windows are beginning to have regulator issues.
  • The electric tailgate may not close properly due to a faulty latch or it can close “”abruptly and unexpectedly”” after being opened, with a chance of injury to anyone in the way at the time. However, this should have been sorted by Audi thanks to a recall.
  • There are many reports of water leaks thanks to clogged drains located under the windscreen and around the infamous sunroof drains.
  • The problem here is that the water can leak into the interior and play absolute havoc with the cars electronics, this can result in a horrific repair bill.
  • Early Q7s are reported to occasionally burn out the rear lights, sometimes requiring a new wiring harness for these lights.
  • The Blower motor for the air conditioning is known to fail but luckily it should be a relatively easy fix. However, there are regular reports of other air conditioning issues that require expensive parts (evaporators and compressors) and lengthy repair times, all of which add up to horrendous repair bills.
  • There are loads of reports that the multimedia system fails and fail to play any audio or sound whatsoever.
  • This can be due to failed amplifiers due to more potential water leaks that can occur.
  • The multimedia system can just attempt to reboot over and over, draining the battery and the system can just completely fail in general.
  • Also, due to many of these systems being interconnected, if one module goes down, it can potentially take others with it.
  • Mechanically, Injector seals and injector issues are becoming a regular issue. Injector seals (per injector) can cost approximately $300, however an entire injector can potentially cost upwards of $2000. If you require all 6 injectors replaced, yes that can become a $12,000 repair bill in some circumstances.
  • It’s important to note that non-OEM (not an Audi/Volkswagen genuine part) injectors and injector seals are available and in most circumstances will cost far less.
  • There are many reports regarding timing chain issues, again which can cost into the thousands to repair.
  • Diesel particulate filter (DPF) and exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) issues are coming common.
  • Turbo issues are reported regularly as are the typical Audi/Volkswagen coolant and oil leaks.
  • Various electrical gremlins and software issues are now common place throughout the entire vehicle, and in the worst case scenario, can impact the transmission with reports that some examples can suffer catastrophic failures.
  • We should note, these are just the more common issues we found through our research, the range and breadth of sporadic problems and faults are terrifyingly extensive.
Model range, pricing & features

3.6 FSI quattro SE

  • Price when new: $79,900 - $81,233
  • Price used: $6,500 - $22,500

The 3.6 FSI quattro SE was the base model of the range and was identical to the 3.6 FSI quattro except is lacked auto headlights, rain-sensing wipers and power adjustable front seats with leather upholstery.

It was powered by the BHK petrol variant of Audi’s 3.6 litre V6 petrol engine.

The model was discontinued in 2009 with the introduction of the 2010 model year Q7s.

Features:

18-inch alloy wheels
Full-size spare wheel
Aluminium roof rails
Side indicators integrated into the side mirrors
Front and rear fog lights
quattro all-wheel drive
Electronic differential lock (EDL)
4-star ANCAP safety rating (tested 2007)
8 airbags: driver and front passenger, front side, second row side, curtain airbags
Anti-lock braking system (ABS)
Brake Assist
Electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD)
Electronic stability program (ESP)
Traction control / anti-slip regulation (ASR)
First aid kit with warning triangle
Reversing camera
Central locking
DataDot technology
Cruise control
Climate control air conditioning
Rear air vents
Multi-functional 4-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel
Steering wheel: telescopic height and reach adjust
Trip computer
Electric mirrors – heated
Electric windows – auto up/down for all windows
Cloth seating
Manually adjustable drivers and front passengers seat
7-inch infotainment system with MMI
11-speaker sound system (180 watts)
CD changer (6 disc)
Single sun visors
Cup holders – front and rear
Front armrest
Front and rear floor mats
Partition net
Luggage cover
60:40 rear folding seats

3.6 FSI quattro, 3.0 TDI quattro & 3.0 TFSI quattro

  • Price when new: $84,900 - $105,785
  • Price used: $7,500 - $78,000

The 3.6 FSI quattro, 3.0 TDI quattro and 3.0 TFSI quattro models all came contained the same standard equipment across all model years.

Only exceptions to the models were the different prices across option packs as well as availability of some option packs with the 3.0 TFSI quattro model having access to more luxury and convenience packs.

The 3.6 FSI quattro was available until 2010, until is was phased out and replaced by the 3.0 TFSI quattro featuring a supercharged V6 engine.

The 3.0 TDI quattro model continued throughout the whole model generation, and receiving two engine changes to the 3.0 diesel V6 unit over the generation, with the BUG variant being replaced in 2008 with the CASA V6 turbo diesel, then in 2010 the CASA engine being replaced by the CJGA V6 unit.

Adds:

Automatic headlights
Rain-sensing wipers
Electrochromatic rear vision mirror
Electric drivers and front passengers seat, including lumbar support
Leather upholstery
Dual sun visors with illuminated vanity mirrors
Twin rail luggage system
Under floor storage comparment

November 2009 (MY10) updates:
Audi Parking System Advanced
Electric tailgate – opening and closing
7-seats, with no cost option for 5 seats with 60:40 folding rear seats
Single disc CD player – previously CD changer (6 disc)
Bluetooth phone connectivity
Bluetooth music streaming
Audi music interface

September 2013 (MY14) updates:
Bi-xenon headlights
LED daytime running lights

4.2 FSI quattro & 4.2 TDI quattro

  • Price when new: $116,800 - $134,600
  • Price used: $12,000 - $55,000

The 4.2 FSI quattro and 4.2 TDI quattro models came standard with the same equipment across all model years as well as access to different option packages.

The 4.2 FSI quattro model was powered by a 4.1 litre petrol V8 engine, and was phased out in 2010, while the 4.2 TDI quattro was powered by a 4.1 litre twin turbo diesel V8 engine. The V8 turbo diesel engine went through two changes, with the first in 2009, where the model switched from the BTR to the CCFA turbo diesel V8 unit, and then again in 2010 when the engine was changed from the CCFA to the CCFB unit.

Main additions in equipment over the V6 models included 20-inch alloy wheels, adaptive air suspension, towing hitch preparation, xenon headlights, 4-zone climate control and a 13-speaker BOSE stereo system.

Adds:

20-inch alloy wheels
NO full-size spare wheel
Adaptive air suspension
Towing hitch preparation
Xenon headlights
Adaptive headlights
Headlight washers
Electric mirrors – heated, electrically folding with auto dimming functions
Electric tailgate – opening and closing
4-zone climate control
Multi-functional 3-spoke leather-wrapped sports steering wheel
Electric steering wheel adjustment
Memory settings incorporating: driver’s seat, exterior side mirrors, steering column
13-speaker BOSE sound system
Satellite navigation (DVD based)
Preparation for bluetooth connectivity
Audi Music Interface – preparation for MP3 devices
TV reception, analogue and digital TV

V12 TDI quattro

  • Price when new: $254,814 - $257,700
  • Price used: $39,000 - $125,500

Available from 2009 onwards, the V12 TDI quattro was the flagship of the Q7 range, with the obvious difference being the 6.0 litre twin-turbocharged V12 diesel engine (CCGA unit).

Additional equipment over the V8 models included 21-inch alloy wheels, adaptive cruise control, 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen stereo, power sunroof, courtesy door lamps and headlamp washers.

Adds:

21-inch alloy wheels
Adaptive cruise control
14-speaker Bang & Olufsen stereo
Power sunroof
Courtesy door lamps – front and rear
Headlamp washers

Should you buy it?

We do understand why you’d want to.

Besides the fact that Audi have absolutely nailed their marketing, convincing large chunks of the population that the Q7 is some sort of aspirational status symbol of an SUV, even when used, it is still a genuinely lovely thing to drive, it’s ultra practical and still, (sort of) does what this category of car requires.

But unfortunately, that’s about where the positives end.

No matter how fancy the brand name or how lofty the associated image may be, the potential for serious mechanical and electrical issues, and the cost to repair them are just far too high in our opinion.

Combine that with truly terrifying levels of depreciation and the fact that, even when looked after and cared for, the Q7 isn’t ageing all that gracefully.

Yes there are those unicorn examples out there that have never had an issue and their owners love them but now that these are getting older, even perfectly maintained examples are beginning to have catastrophic failures completely out of the blue.

If you can easily afford to pay for the potentially exorbitant parts and repair bills, and you’re in the financial position to justify the stupid levels of depreciation, and you have another car to drive around while your Q7 is away getting repaired, and for whatever reason even though you can afford all that you want one of these older Q7s, sure buy one, it’s only money right.

But, if you’re on a budget or don’t enjoy the feeling of a dark cloud of potential expensive repair costs hovering over you every time you drive your large SUV, do not buy a Q7.

Warranty & servicing

Warranty:

3 year/100,000km

Servicing:

12 months/15,000kms

Tech specs

Body Style:

5-door SUV

Engines:

3.6 litre V6 BHK petrol (3.6 FSI quattro SE, 3.6 FSI quattro)
3.0 litre V6 BUG turbo diesel (3.0 TDI quattro) – Until 2008
3.0 litre V6 CASA turbo diesel (3.0 TDI quattro) – From 2008 to 2010
3.0 litre V6 CJGA turbo diesel (3.0 TDI quattro) – From 2010
4.2 litre V8 BAR petrol (4.2 FSI quattro)
3.0 litre V6 CJT supercharged petrol (ABCTBA) – From 2010
4.1 litre V8 BTR twin-turbo diesel (4.2 TDI quattro) – Until 2009
4.1 litre V8 CCFA twin-turbo diesel (4.2 TDI quattro) – From 2009 to 2010
4.1 litre V8 CCFB twin-turbo diesel (4.2 TDI quattro) – From 2010 to 2015
6.0 litre V12 CCGA twin-turbo diesel (6.0 TDI quattro) – From 2009

Power:

206kW – 3.6 litre V6 BHK petrol
171kW – 3.0 litre V6 BUG turbo diesel
176kW – 3.0 litre V6 CASA turbo diesel
176kW – 3.0 litre V6 CJGA turbo diesel
257kW – 4.2 litre V8 BAR petrol
245kW – 3.0 litre V6 CJT supercharged petrol
257kW – 4.1 litre V8 BTR twin-turbo diesel
250kW – 4.1 litre V8 CCFA twin-turbo diesel
250kW – 4.1 litre V8 CCFB twin-turbo diesel
368kW – 6.0 litre V12 CCGA twin-turbo diesel

Torque:

360Nm – 3.6 litre V6 BHK petrol
500Nm – 3.0 litre V6 BUG turbo diesel
550Nm – 3.0 litre V6 CASA turbo diesel
550Nm – 3.0 litre V6 CJGA turbo diesel
440Nm – 4.2 litre V8 BAR petrol
440Nm – 3.0 litre V6 CJT supercharged petrol
760Nm – 4.1 litre V8 BTR twin-turbo diesel
760Nm – 4.1 litre V8 CCFA twin-turbo diesel
800Nm – 4.1 litre V8 CCFB twin-turbo diesel
1000Nm – 6.0 litre V12 CCGA twin-turbo diesel

Transmission & drivetrains:

6-speed automatic “”tiptronic””, all-wheel drive (AWD)
8-speed automatic “”tiptronic””, all-wheel drive (AWD) – 3.0 TDI quattro (from 2010), 3.0 TFSI quattro

Fuel Consumption:

7.4 – 13.6L/100km (depending on engine and variant)

Length:

5086mm

Width:

1983mm

Height:

1737mm

Kerb Weight:

2195 – 2665kg (depending on engine and variant)

Towing braked/unbraked:

3500kg/750kg

Disclaimer

Information correct as of March 18, 2022.

The advice provided on this website is general advice only. It has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this advice, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs.

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