The 2017 Audi Q7 40 TFSI has just been launched in India. While this is the first time that Audi India has launched a petrol variant of its flagship SUV in the country, other players including Jeep and Mercedes-Benz already have petrol variants of their competing SUVs available in the market. The 2017 Audi Q7 40 TFSI goes up against the Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit Petrol and the Mercedes-Benz GLS 400. Can the Audi Q7 40 TFSI enjoy the same popularity as its diesel sibling the Audi Q7 45 TDI does? Let's find out.
The Q7 40 TFSI is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged inline-four motor that produces 255PS and 370Nm, while the Cherokee Summit and GLS 400 both have a two-cylinder and more than a litre in engine capacity advantage over it. In terms of power, the 3.0-litre V6 bi-turbo on the GLS 400 leads the pack with 333PS/480Nm, followed by the Cherokee's 3.6-litre V6 which produces 286.9PS/347Nm. These power figures come into perspective once we factor in the weight, a major factor in these full-sized luxury SUVs.
Where Q7 40 TFSI tips the scales at 2,240kg, the Jeep and Mercedes are both nearly 200kg heavier, and only 20kg apart from each other. To factor the difference this makes, OVERDRIVE had found the diesel variant of the Audi Q7 to be a more agile handler than its 325-kg heavier predecessor during our first drive. Even with its high weight, the GLS 400 completes the 0 to 100kmph dash first, in 6.7 seconds (company claimed), only 0.2 seconds quicker than the Q7 40 TFSI. The Mercedes-Benz stands atop the top speed chart too, with 240kmph, while the Q7 manages a company-claimed 233kmph.
Jeep Grand Cherokee
Even by general dimensions, the Mercedes-Benz GLS 400 is larger with its 5.1m length, followed by the 5m length of the Audi Q7 40 TFSI, and 4.8m length of the Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit. However, at 1,948mm, the Audi SUV is the widest of the three. Whether these dimensions and weight difference mean one is more cumbersome to drive than the other will have to be seen when we can manage to get these behemoths in a comparison test.
The real test of these luxury barges is the comfort in which they can carry their passengers. The Audi Q7 gets adaptive air suspension, and the Mercedes-Benz GLS gets adjustable Airmatic suspension, while the Jeep Grand Cherokee comes kitted with a conventional independent suspension setup, a let-down when compared to the other two. In terms of drivability, all three get automatic gearboxes and all-wheel drive systems, so getting out of a low-traction situation may not be a bother for either SUV. The Audi has the better ground clearance and would be able to clear slightly bigger obstacles than the other two.
Amongst the three, the Jeep with its 3.6-L V6 still manages the best fuel efficiency of 12.8kmpl, while the Audi is almost there with 11.68kmpl (both company-claimed figures). The price is where the Audi beats the other two. The Audi Q7 40 TFSI with its top-end Technology Pack is priced at Rs 74.43 lakh, followed by the Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit at Rs 75.15 lakh and the GLS 400 is priced at Rs 79.86 lakh (all prices ex-showroom, pan-India). The Audi Q7 may not win all the spec comparison battles, but its appeal lies in the value it offers against its competitors. And this could turn out to be the reason for its popularity in the segment.