2008-2011 Audi Q7 6.0 V12 TDI Quattro 4L

2008-2011 Audi Q7 6.0 V12 TDI Quattro 4L

Diesel has famously never taken off stateside, with its popularity limited to the commercial sector and a relatively small cohort of diesel pick-up truck owners. But in 2008, Audi planned to change all that. By showing Americans how economical diesels are, you ask? Nope, with shock and awe, badged Q7 V12 TDI.


The German manufacturer clearly decided large portions and epic power were necessary to make the impact it wanted, fitting a 6.0-litre V12 TDI diesel engine into its three-row SUV. It produced a prodigious 493bhp and maximum torque of 737lb ft (a nice, round 1,000Nm in metric units); enough to get the 2.6- tonne monster from 0-62mph in 5.5 seconds. Engineers even admitted its torque was limited by the Q7’s six-speed automatic gearbox and could have been considerably more without the risk of turning its transmission into a whisk. Perhaps unsurprisingly, its top speed was also artificially limited to 155mph – any faster and the Q7 might start to resemble a Space Shuttle on re-entry.

Its staggering engine was no accident, it was the road-going evolution of Audi’s winning R10 TDI racing motor, an engine born to race in the American Le Mans Series that dominated the competition, along with Le Mans itself in 2006, 2007 and 2008. The mid-engined diesel V12 might have been heavier than the petrol engines it competed against, but its torque and fuel-efficiency made it unrivalled. Originally, Audi wanted to put a V12 diesel engine into its R8 sports car, creating a more natural link to the racing car, and it even showed off an R10-badged concept car and a running prototype. But there was a problem.

Redeveloping the R8 to accommodate the massive V12 diesel engine was simply going to cost too much, for what would have likely been a very small seller for the brand. Slotting the tall motor into the nose of the huge Q7 was less of a problem, and work on a V12 super-SUV had been carried out in parallel. So in the end, Audi’s management team decided to go with their back-up plan, and the Q7 remains the only V12 diesel production car to date, a boast that looks unlikely to change any time soon.

Costing a sizeable £96,200 when it first went on sale here in December 2008, the Q7 V12 TDI’s price tag was as bold as its engine, making it almost twice as expensive as a Q7 4.2 V8 TDI. In reality, the only real reason to buy one was for bragging rights and its engineering prowess. UK sales didn’t even hit triple digits as a result, and the Q7 V12 TDI is now a very rare car indeed, with just 23 examples left on the roads, and 6 declared as SORN at the DVLA.

Article type:
No comments yet. Be the first to add a comment!
Drives TODAY use cookie