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Audi Q7 V12 TDI put to the test: diesel power SUV with a new dimension of performance

Hans-Dieter Seufert
Audi Q7 V12 TDI in the test
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The lettering' V12 'shines chrome on the flanks and on the rear. At the gas station, the author gets to feel that something like this is not an award in today's world. 'You should be ashamed of your climate killer,' snorts the owner of an ancient Volvo, the exhaust of which illustrates the concept of aromatic hydrocarbons. A handful of the expensive V12 models will be indifferent to the climate.

Especially since the six-liter engine of this Audi is more economical than any other engine that comes even close to its performance class. In the test average, the large SUV pulls in 14.8 liters per 100 kilometers, because it is the only twelve-cylinder automobile in the world that functions according to the Rudolf Diesel principle. Anyone who regards the swelling performance account of the multi-cylinder as a hidden reserve and rolls along comfortably can get by on just under eleven liters. But you don't buy a V12 for that.

500 PS and 5.5 seconds in the Saurier

The twelve-cylinder diesel represents a technical extravaganza and is therefore worth considering. Although one can rightly ask oneself whether Audi would not have better built a sports car with the machine based on the Le Mans tradition. That would have resulted in a 320 km /h bolide with a consumption of eleven liters and would probably have generated more applause than a giant all-wheel drive toy which, even without passengers, lets the test scale reach the record-breaking value of 2,677 kilograms. But the target customers, especially in the Arabian region, because they have pitched their tents on the richest oil reserves in the world, still love oversized SUVs.

The huge diesel engine, inflated by two turbochargers, is practical represents a doubling of the well-known 3.0 TDI-V6, which is why it has a cylinder angle of 90 instead of the cylinder angle of 60 degrees that is usual for a V12. Bore and stroke are the same as in the six-cylinder. The doubling of the number of cylinders and cubic capacity supplies seemingly surreal data: the engine shakes 500 hp from the crankshaft at just 3,750 rpm. 2,000 rpm before that, the torque peaks in its maximum value: 1,000 Newton meters. In words: a thousand. No wonder that such an immense force is indifferent to the Q7 weight. When you press the accelerator pedal, the traction control system has to diligently adjust the torque, despite the Quattro drive and the almost 30 centimeter wide tiresTo take care of.

The performance figures are in the range of really serious sports cars: 5.5 seconds to 100 km /h, 21.5 to 200 km /h. Even after that, the back-bending thrust continues, but at 250 km /h it's over. In the interests of the tires, the electronics prevent what the engine power would make possible.

Dominant acoustics

And that wouldn't be a problem from the point of view of driving safety, because the Q7 laces straight ahead at top speed with great serenity and has brakes, their 42 and 37 centimeter ceramic discs can hardly be brought to the limit of their load capacity. When braking for the tenth time with a full load, the Q7 comes to a stop a meter earlier than when it was first. The excess power that exists under all conditions is pure luxury, which is why you can safely save yourself the question of what makes sense. This shows what is technically possible. And what not.

Anyone who thinks of silky smooth, almost inaudible engine running when the keyword V12 is used, will be surprised by the diesel offshoot of the twelve-cylinder family. Even when idling, the engine chatters very audibly like a proud motorboat. Under full load, a hum accompanied by a booming frequency develops, the volume of which quickly silences the conversation in the passenger compartment. The measured values ​​underline the dominant acoustics: while a bourgeois Q7 with a three-liter six-cylinder diesel produces a sound pressure of 73 dB (A) during kickdown, the measuring device registers 78 dB (A) in the twelve-cylinder top model.

Enthusiastic especially on slippery roads

With 1,000 Newton meters of available torque, another expectation, shifting should be pretty much unnecessary. But because Audi wants to emphasize the sporty character of this Q7, this is countered by the six-speed automatic transmission. A slight pressure on the gas causes an immediate downshift and deprives the driver of the pleasure of being able to do practically everything in top gear. Another impairment of comfort is the unnecessary switching back and forth in the lower speed range, which is often accompanied by an unpleasant jolt. The test model approved as a test vehicle shows that further development work cannot do any harm. But there is one thing they cannot change either. The V12 diesel is a mighty chunk of metal that puts an additional 207 kilograms on the front axle compared to a 3.0 TDI. The light-footed handling that distinguishes the Q7 among full-size SUVs has suffered with the V12.

It reacts more slowly to the steering and requires greater steering forces - all of this at the expense of the perceived dynamism. After all, this does not affect the safety of driving behavior. The V12 instills a lot of confidence in fast corners, it remains almost neutral and impressedespecially on slippery roads because of how easily he can deal with the overflowing force. Tyrannosaurus Rex is also said to have been a very nimble fellow.


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