On a cracking spring day, Audi ferried a very lucky group of us to experience its new Q7 in the snowy region of Mount Hotham.
One of the first drills to test out the luxurious seven-seater Audi SUV was to power across the snow at 50km per hour, followed by an emergency break and turn. From the outside it looks like a jolted, bumpy ride, but inside it felt like a seamless, smooth and effortless maneuver pulling up on a dime.
We then moved to what could best be described as a giant ice-skating rink for cars. Our Audi driving instructor Steve Pizzati told us it was time to do what most folks have always wanted to do in the car park at the snow: we zigzag in and out of the cones as the vehicle glided across the ice. Then, as we cleared the blue cones, Steve said over the radio, “hard right and foot to the floor!”. Next was three seconds of that ‘scary excited’ feeling as two tonnes and 252 horsepower of highly refined German engineering danced across the ice, snow spraying absolutely everywhere. It’s the kind of thing you just want to do it again and again once you’ve experienced it!
We then took a change of pace and wound through the picturesque alpine roads of Mount Hotham, to help us navigate the impressive dash visual display. We were told to play around with the drive select function – it was a tough choice between efficiency and dynamic. As we switched between modes, the hydraulic system was seamless in transferring the weight of the car to create the ultimate drive experience.
When I turned on the cruise control, I suddenly realised how close we are to driverless car – you just select your driving speed and activate the lane correction and driver assist. A new level of trust is formed, as you don’t need to touch the brake; the car automatically adjusts speed and braking according to the upcoming traffic, leaving you to enjoy the beautiful landscape. We then switched to off-road mode as we went for a quick little bush bash. Surely this luxury vehicle wasn’t designed for dirt and mud? But incredibly, it does it with ease and comfort.
Audi has delivered another fine motor vehicle designed for more than navigating city traffic in its new Q7; it tackles snow-capped mountains with all the style, power, safety, comfort and efficiency you could ask for.