As you read this – hopefully in a relaxed and comfortable kinda way – a convoy of 15 Audi Q7s are within a few days of Broome.
They’re on a three week transcontinental crossing to launch the marque’s long-awaited SUV here in the widest and brownest of lands. At least, there should still be 15 of them. We joined the roadshow for last week’s 1100km leg between Broken Hill and Birdsville via Tibooburra, Cameron’s Corner and Innamincka.
Apart from four flat tyres – pretty much a given on the gibber – this procession of luxo soft roaders proved to have considerable off-road (or at least off the main road) application, proving their build quality (and dust proofness) beyond reasonable doubt.
Indeed, it was with some bemusement that a couple of gen-u-wine four-wheel-drivin’ bush bashers watched the Q7s race with impertinent ease up the famous Big Red dune on the edge of the Simpson Desert near Birdsville. The only concession to the extra-urban conditions were off road tyres and a barrier between the front seats and the load area.
The 4.2 FSI V8s made the most stirring sound, but the 3.0 TDI V6s lost little by comparison. Four of the latter came sans the air suspension set up that gave slightly more off road facility, but also slightly denuded feel for the road.
In terms of the real world, at highway speeds on the bitumen between Broken Hill and Packsaddle, our TDI (weighing almost 2.7 tonnes with an immense load of gear) returned 9.8 litres per 100kmh. Seldom did it much exceed 12 litres even in the most trying conditions with try-hard driving.
For Q7 owners, the wilds of Woollahra and Mosman need hold no fear.