RE: Audi Q7 V12 TDI: PH Heroes

RE: Audi Q7 V12 TDI: PH Heroes

Sunday 5th November 2017

Audi Q7 V12 TDI: PH Heroes

It's an anti-hero this week: one made of iron and graphite and steel.



Obviously we're not talking about the Q7 itself here. The soccer mom special - particularly in the bizarrely overboard Exclusive concept trim that included enough American Walnut to relay a basketball court - is plainly not deserving of PH Hero status. But the engine beneath the Ipanema Brown paint is a different matter altogether. If the first-gen Q7 was Audi at its most mundane and predictable, the ginormous 6.0-litre V12 TDI was Ingolstadt flexing its technical and financial muscle to a most belligerent, bewildering degree.


Like many of the most interesting engines - although unusually for an oil burner - the unit's genesis was not borne out of any immediate commercial application, but rather the firm's determination to continue a remarkable string of results at Le Mans in the headline LMP1 class (while simultaneously promoting the fuel that was fast becoming Europe's tank-filler of choice). To this end Audi birthed a 5.5-litre V12 motor that developed around 700hp and beyond 800lb ft of torque, all delivered to the back end of the now legendary R10 via a pneumatically-actuated, five-speed sequential gearbox.

Winning the first 24 Hours of Le Mans it entered (and every subsequent one before being replaced by the R15) was a strong statement. Nevertheless, another manufacturer might have baulked at releasing a road-going version of the engine, given its preposterous size and expense - but Audi cheerily rolled out the world's first V12 diesel-engined production car as if it represented the logical end of its sporting investment. In truth, the 6.0-litre unit was not very much like the 5.5-litre race winner - it shared more with the six, eight and ten cylinder oil burners that Ingolstadt was building at the time - although that doesn't mean it wasn't flush with the latest tech; boasting another first with its 2,000 bar Bosch Common Rail injection system.


The V12's provenance hardly mattered in any case, so prodigious was its output and unlikely its installation. Internally, Audi discussed badging the Q7 an RS model; a marketing ploy wisely thwarted by the brain trust at quattro GmbH. The most powerful SUV of its day drives nothing like an RS model: firstly because even back in 2006 it was transparently clear to all concerned that the 5m long SUV had all the dynamic finesse of a bin lorry, and secondly because the V12 hardly helped to alleviate the Q7's weight problem - the Exclusive concept trim driven tipping the scales at 2,635kg.

But the wanton, inapposite charm of the lump is unavoidable. You do not need to open the bonnet or to see the badge to appreciate that there's a reciprocating Goliath lurking under the nose. There's a gentle twist of the Q7 superstructure as it whirrs into life, and while it cannot guffaw or bellow like a petrol-powered V12, it churns with an enormous oily presence. The unit is twinned with a six-speed automatic, one manful enough to live with the job of converting 737lb ft of torque into forward momentum.


Even by today's standards, the scale of that figure is preposterous. A BMW M50d delivers 546lb ft. A Porsche Panamera 4S, 627lb ft. Even the V12's spiritual replacement, the SQ7, with electrically assisted turbochargers, only summons up 664lb ft. Certainly it is faster - by miles - than its forbear, but that's hardly the point. The old Q7 is still a top trump title-holder, and therefore a future object of mechanical lore. It also remains enormously gratifying to drive - in the same way you'd imagine it's probably satisfying to hole punch your bank statement with a jackhammer.

The V12's peak twist is apparently on tap from 1,750rpm, although it doesn't make you wait that long to dispense a keen-edged, rumbling thrust. Driven normally - i.e. briskly, but sanely - the Q7 will barely trouble 2,000rpm, making two and half tonnes feel no more onerous a kerbweight than that of a five-door Fiesta. This was rather the point, of course: that a car of such stupendous proportions could be made to move with the sort of lavish expediency which speaks to the money spent in the engine bay - without necessarily shouting about it.


The V12 does not shout. But with 500hp at 3,750rpm, it does still go. In fact, the manner in which its umpteen moving parts suddenly rouse themselves and have you headlong down the road is affecting, even when put into the context of its quicker, cleverer descendant. The TDI's longer, lustier ratios are certainly easier to mark, and if the slurred upshifts aren't quite as sweet as in the transmissions that followed, well that just makes it an appropriately tangible bit of punctuation between one mighty, fossil-fuel-burning gear and the next. At full stride, the Q7 remains knowingly ridiculous: a long enough straight line will deliver 62mph in about 5.5 seconds, and it sails nonchalantly through the air resistance that normally has a labouring effect on big SUVs at high speeds. Audi says it'll do 155mph - which is entirely believable.

This sinewy amenability, of course, was once the appeal of big-capacity diesel engines to premium carmakers: the quiet, the effortlessness, the understated abundance of power - and, while the 6.0-litre lump will only realistically do about 20mpg - later efforts were fettled for decent economy, too. Now though, with diesel's fall from favour picking up remarkable speed, the writing is on the wall. In the next few decades, no oil burner will do what the V12 does without the assistance of an electric motor in one capacity or another. Given the earth-scorching 298g/km of CO2 emerging from the Q7's exhausts, that's only right and proper. But the V12 is too big, too burly and too outrageous to be airbrushed from history; not least because its like will never come again. Reason enough to usher it respectfully into the PH Hero hall of fame.


AUDI Q7 V12 TDI EXLCUSIVE CONCEPT
Engine
: 5,934cc, turbocharged V12
Transmission: 6-speed tiptronic, all-wheel drive
Power (hp): 500@3,750rpm
Torque (lb ft): 738@1,750-3,250rpm
0-62mph: 5.5sec
Top speed: 155mph
Weight: 2,710kg (unladen)
MPG: 20.8 (NEDC combined)
CO2: 298g/km
On sale: 2009-2012
Price new: £154,175
Price now: £32,995 -£40,000

Inspired? Buy a Audi Q7 V12 TDI here

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author
Discussion

jwilliamsm3

Original Poster:

158 posts

60 months

Sunday 5th November 2017
quotequote all
only once i have ever seen one, was down the mumbles in swansea. i was walking down a street and as i approached the bottom where a mini roundabout is, this appeared from the right, and all i saw was a q7, until i looked at the brakes and saw some CCb's, and thought st i think that is a v12, and it was. first and last time i've seen one, couldn't hear it though

Murphy16

212 posts

13 months

Sunday 5th November 2017
quotequote all
Didn't they plan on sticking this engine in the R8?

thelawnet1

1,526 posts

86 months

Sunday 5th November 2017
quotequote all
Not sure I see the point.

Get a petrol V12 for pennies and then the SUV of your choice.

760LI for £7.5k https://www.autotrader.co.uk/classified/advert/201...

Save the manuals

30 posts

25 months

Sunday 5th November 2017
quotequote all
I really enjoy that interior colour combo to be honest.

CS Garth

1,592 posts

36 months

Sunday 5th November 2017
quotequote all
£155k new 5+ years ago. Strictly for the crack enthusiasts (although in a way prescient thinking of the Bentayga)


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cptsideways

12,698 posts

183 months

Sunday 5th November 2017
quotequote all
thelawnet1 said:
Not sure I see the point.

Get a petrol V12 for pennies and then the SUV of your choice.

760LI for £7.5k https://www.autotrader.co.uk/classified/advert/201...
This is a much better option for the money & thats an expensive one.

T5R+

996 posts

140 months

Sunday 5th November 2017
quotequote all
Suspect many that own Q7/V12 also have other cars. Certainly both of those that I know.

Bought my ML from a guy that replaced it with a Q7/V12. Having driven his car, have to say it is fantastic in a straight line whilst not as "chuckable" as a say a X5 through bends. Suspect the whole point of this particular Q7 is motorway/autobahn.


don logan

2,091 posts

153 months

Sunday 5th November 2017
quotequote all
I have a V10 Toerag which I've been in love with for 3 years / 40k miles, I'm keeping my eye on these Q7 V12s!

ZX10R NIN

10,986 posts

56 months

Sunday 5th November 2017
quotequote all
These things have epic performance they're not an X5M etc but as a cruiser it's a great car in fact it's perfect tow car.

TTOBES

471 posts

98 months

Sunday 5th November 2017
quotequote all
Wandering around West London Audi in 2010 waiting for a salesman to take my deposit for my A1, there was a Q7 V12 TDI in the showroom with this "boat deck" trim around the gear stick with an eye-watering price on the dashboard. Not seen the trim again since, until today!

I wonder if it might be the same car?

Dapster

2,602 posts

111 months

Sunday 5th November 2017
quotequote all
From memory these things had a list price below £100k, so this one clearly had more than £50k worth of options!

samoht

730 posts

77 months

Sunday 5th November 2017
quotequote all

A used Q7 seems to offer all the running costs of a serious performance car, combined with none of the fun.




AC43

6,133 posts

139 months

Sunday 5th November 2017
quotequote all
I heard and smelt the race version at Goodwood the first year it won Me Mans. It sounded awful and created vast clouds of rank black smoke. A technical dead end. Thankfully.

DanielSan

13,127 posts

98 months

Sunday 5th November 2017
quotequote all
Soccer mom special? Haymarket are getting worse at geography.

The V12 Q7 is damn cool though, fk ugly and in any other form I can’t see the appeal, but I’d love a V12 one.

Jimmy Recard

14,496 posts

110 months

Sunday 5th November 2017
quotequote all
I don’t like Q7s at all other than the V12, which I love

Sheepshanks

14,479 posts

50 months

Sunday 5th November 2017
quotequote all
jwilliamsm3 said:
only once i have ever seen one, was down the mumbles in swansea. i was walking down a street and as i approached the bottom where a mini roundabout is, this appeared from the right,
Did it drive straight over the roundabout, and without slowing down?

Trophy-GTA

72 posts

29 months

Sunday 5th November 2017
quotequote all
Hate diesel. Love this.

Oakman

140 posts

89 months

Sunday 5th November 2017
quotequote all
Would that engine fit in a T5 - T6 Transporter........?

Andrewph75

17 posts

82 months

Sunday 5th November 2017
quotequote all
Brilliant and and funnily enough there was one of these in Victoria Park, Bath last weekend as clocked the V12 badges, never knew they were £150k+ wow.

What the official price list to buy an engine then? Be surprised if they broke even on this one!

Filibuster

1,005 posts

146 months

Sunday 5th November 2017
quotequote all
Hate Diesel, don’t like the Q7, love this!!