A couple of reasons for the higher price of the Q7 compared to the Touareg can be named without even looking at the technology. The first one is the banal ranking of brands by the status and the following nuances of finishing and equipment of cars. The second is not less banal – age. In fact, Touareg and Cayenne have their history since 2002, and Volkswagen had its restyling in 2006, and Audi just got on the conveyor. Accordingly, Q7 has “sat” on the platform PL71, albeit modified, for the longest time: if Volkswagen and Porsche changed generations and got an updated platform PL72 in 2010, the Audi has been producing on the unchanged “cart” until 2015 – so long that the second generation has immediately moved to a modular platform MLB Evo. However, all these peripeteias were unimportant for an audience, in fact Q7 was initially prepared not by the same recipe, as coplatformers. They have added at once 15 centimeters of wheelbase, the third row of seats, modern engines and more options that a buyer of Audi felt like the owner of “senior” car in the family. Instead, Q7 has been deprived of transfer gearbox with step-down row, in fact the problem to move down from asphalt for it was secondary. Telling the truth, even an urban driving is able to spoil the car (in all senses) – and, in particular, the body. Let’s start with it.
The class of the automobile in case of Q7 at the same time is good for the body and complicates its life. On the one hand, it is well galvanized and painted – splinters do not rust for a long time, and paint without damages suffers mainly from clouding of varnish. On the other hand, as it should be a premium, Audi has a lot of exterior trim, which accumulates dirt and traps moisture, which eventually leads to problems regardless of operating style. Mostly the entire lower perimeter of the car suffers. The most evident typical places are the sills and rear arches with two sealing contours: on the bottom and on the contour of the rear door. Rust appears here over time under the gaskets, even well-groomed cars. Some owners manage to repaint arches even with swelling of paint, and in the most neglected cases, there already can be debris, forcing to cut out and replace a part of arches together with a sill. Front doors are less susceptible to attack, but of course they need to be inspected from underneath as well. Wide arches are also in the risk zone, both at the top, where they collect chips, and on the inner edge, where corrosion appears. Plastic wideners of arches, available in some versions like S-line, at Q7 sometimes become a compelled tuning – to hide already existing defects or to protect arches from new ones after repair. In general, it is worth to ask about the situation under them.
Another “rust belt” is the plastic moldings, which surround the lower part of the car, including doors and fenders. It can be also damp and sad under them, and the centers of corrosion are the holes for these moldings fastening clips. There are plenty of holes, but at the same time not every owner buys a new set of clips and protective stickers when removing the plastic. It is possible to consider as a bonus one more chronic illness of Q7: rust, crawling out from under door handles.
Other typical operational defects have not been cancelled either. On the aluminum tailgate, for example, the paint can swell in the license plate area. At the front, the windshield frame is at risk, collecting chips. There isn’t much chrome on the car, but it gets old and cloudy. Bumpers can chafe the paint at the contact points with the fenders. Well, a panoramic roof adds the risk of water leaks in the cabin, so it’s worth to examine it not only for care and serviceability. It is possible to finish a picture of body condition with the bottom: as we already know, Q7 was not positioned by the manufacturer as a serious SUV – it is important that the owners remember it.
The suspension asks the same. The schemes here are the same, as at brothers on the platform: two-lever in front and multilever behind, and operational difficulties are general. Levers are expensive – for 10-20 thousand for original, but the assortment of substitutes and opportunity to buy practically all silentblocks separately, and also original if desired. In general, it will not be cheap, but it is not ruinous service. The only and traditional exception – air struts, which require good care and cost good money. The price tag on the original is inhumane, and decent substitutes cost from 60-70 and up to 100 thousand. There is, of course, an opportunity to buy pneumatic cylinders for 20 thousand, but it does not cancel the necessity to pay for the work of their replacement. As always, add here the ageing compressor and sticking body position sensors – and you receive the typical picture of change of pneumoballons for springs. However, it is necessary to admit, that now to support all it is quite real, especially taking into account the price of the car, so the main thing is desire.
Brakes at Q7 are always big and powerful – in front there are six-piston calipers and disks with diameter of 350 mm. However, on the car with weight under 2,5 tons they still collect censures – if not for efficiency, but for a resource. However, the price for service is quite reasonable: for example, even the original front brake disk costs 10 thousand rubles, and the non-original can be bought many times cheaper. It is worth paying attention to the condition of callipers and trunks, the restoration of which can already cost a pretty penny. But the real shock awaits those who dream to buy Q7 with optional carbon ceramic brakes. The price for brake disks is absurdly shocking: for the price for a set of 4 disks you can buy one more Q7. Yes, yes, the original disks cost about 400 thousand (!) apiece, and there are no non-original ones. On the web you can find reports on replacement of brakes under the extended warranty with partial payment of the cost, but usually instead of replacing consumables at the price of the car owners just change the brakes complete with calipers to something more “traditional”, and in rare cases are bothered with making cast iron discs instead of ceramic to order. However, within the framework of our story all this is more of a bedtime story. Let the ceramic in the form of option was offered even for quite usual cars with a 4,2-liter diesel engine, but it was ordered by few people, and the purchase of remained by a miracle car with ceramic today is obviously not a spontaneous, but realized act.
Q7 has usual power steering, and it does not cause any problems. If the rack does not leak, the pump does not thunder, pipes are intact, and oil is not black, then it is possible to finish diagnostics. And the price for the error is not so high by standards of the class: you can ignore the original rack for 150 thousand, and the restored ones cost from 50 to 100 thousand.
Transmission of these Audi is represented by a six-speed automatic before the restyling and an eight-speed automatic after the 2010 update. Formally, there were also manual transmissions in the lineup, but we almost never see such cars here – at least, at the time of writing, there were none on sale on Avito. So it remains to understand what to expect from automatics. Prior to 2010, there were two options: machines with “torque” motors in the form of diesel and gasoline V8 were TR60SN from Aisin, and with other gasoline engines combined ZF series 6HP19/6HP21. Japanese gearbox is noticeably more simple and reliable, and its only enemy is dirty oil. With regular changes it can go 250-300 thousand kilometers, and its repair will be moderately expensive. German automatic transmission has more progressive design and more aggressive algorithms of work, thus its sensitivity to oil purity is even higher, as well as temperature conditions. Now the probability to find a before-restyled car, where automatic has never been repaired, is very low, so it is necessary to find out as much as possible about the frequency of service of the box and details of its repair. After 2011, the six-speed automatic transmission was replaced by an eight-speed – 8HP45 from ZF, which is familiar not only with European cars, but also, for example, the Chrysler 300C. It is even more cunning structurally and demanding to temperature and purity of oil, and in early years it was marked with a number of childhood illnesses. But now, after at least 6 years, the first owners should have already coped with the problems, so all that is left is to determine with diagnostics how alive the box is. And do not spare money for maintenance, of course: oil change once in 30-40 thousand, together with the filter in the pallet and an additional radiator may well postpone repair for 100 and more thousand kilometers.
Dilemmas of a choice of the engine for Q7 are practically the same as for relatives like Touareg: petrol engines are expensive in maintenance and not always please with service life, and diesel engines are reliable and good, but scare with potential investments into fuel equipment. In practice, the diesel engine was chosen by the majority already in those years, when these cars were new, and now in the secondary market about 2/3 of cars are equipped with diesel. The only petrol engine, which can be chosen with the expectation on long common life is V6 on 3,6 liters, offered before a restyling. Yes, there is already a direct injection, not the most reliable chain timing and inclination to oil consumption, but the block is still cast-iron, resource of a cylinder-piston group is not bad, and the cost of the decision of many problems is moderate. True, the age lets you down: pre-styling cars are more than 10 years old anyway. But if you want principally a petrol sample, there is actually no choice. The senior 4,2 liter V8, offered before the restyling, is noticeably more capricious and risky in purchase: here to the problems of direct injection and chain timing the probability of scuffing in cylinders is added, and the cost of repair is absolutely inhuman. The three-liter supercharged V6, which appeared after the restyling, also suffers from problems with scuffing, which were usually solved under warranty. But buying a car with it now also involves unreasonable risks.
Diesels on this background – just a salvation: operating temperatures are lower, there are no problems with the piston, and the fuel system and the supercharger have a quite predictable service life. The easiest choice, as in the case of the Touareg is the basic 3-liter diesel V6. It is worth considering that the engine has not remained unchanged during the release of the model. In particular, it received a major upgrade in 2011, so newer variants like CCMA and CATA differ from earlier motors like CASA in fuel equipment and supercharging. But globally, maintenance costs haven’t gone up, so the newer piezoelectric injectors can’t be considered a reason to look for an older car. If you happen to have a good car with diesel 4,2, it will be a good choice – however, the cost of its maintenance is higher, not least because of the 50 thousand ruble transport tax. However, the monster 6-liter diesel V12 is the choice of rich enthusiasts. The gearbox and transmission as a whole are fragile for it, the cost of maintenance is high, and the “aggravating circumstances” like the same carbon ceramic brakes need to be taken into account… In general, big opportunities – big responsibility.
And now, having briefly found out, why they ask such money for Q7, let’s form the portrait of an optimum copy. Even, it is possible to tell, a copy of the portrait – approximately the same we saw with Volkswagen Touareg. The choice of the farsighted buyer who expects to drive Q7 happily for a long time is the three-liter diesel engine that stays within 250 h.p. from the point of view of the transport tax and 15 liters per one hundred in terms of fuel consumption. For our 2 millions, it is possible to choose from the best cars – in the market there are still examples from the first owner with run up to 150 thousand, approximately such. If Autotech will confirm a trouble-free history and honest mileage, then a premium crossover for 2 million, even if it is 6-9 years old, can be not less pleasant purchase than a new Sportage or Tiguan. Isn’t it?