The hot SUV arms race shows no signs of cooling down. Only a few weeks ago Porsche revealed its 631bhp Cayenne Turbo GT, giving the related Audi RS Q8 with its ‘mere’ 592bhp something to think about. Don’t be surprised if Audi hits back at some point with an even more potent ‘Performance’ version.
Even if that happens, however, it still wouldn’t be the German company’s maddest SUV moment. For that, we have to go back over a decade to 2008 and take a closer look at a technical SUV wonder which will never be topped in terms of absurdity - the Q7 V12 TDI.
Keen to make some sort of vague marketing connecting with its enormously expensive R10 TDI FIA World Endurance Championship campaign, Audi set Quattro GmbH the task of creating the world’s first production V12 TDI. All this time on, it’s still the only one, because no other manufacturer has been daft enough to blow so much money on something so complicated and of niche appeal.
Even when performance diesels were in vogue, before their reputation was decimated by the VW emissions fiddling scandal, this thing was a hard sell. Yes, it developed 493bhp and a mighty 737lb ft of torque, but it could also only do 25mpg and chucked 300g/km of CO2. Even the RS Q8 we mentioned earlier is cleaner.
The cost of buying one in the first place was steep, too - we’re talking R8 money. The starting price was £96,295, and that didn’t get you everything you might want. There was an ‘Exclusive Concept’ pack for £44,350, bumping the price to the equivalent of nearly £200,000 once you factor in inflation.
The V12 TDI was on sale for five years in the UK, during which time Audi sold a grand total of 44. Right now, there are only 29 left in the country, so the car you see here, which is currently up for online auction, represents a rare opportunity.
The 2010 example is finished in Ibis White with a black Nappa leather interior. Both are subtle choices that neatly contrast the engineering ridiculousness going on under the skin. Factory-fitted options include 21-inch wheels and carbon-ceramic brakes.
The mileage is low for the age at just 65,920, and the Q7 had a very recent service at Audi in Belfast. We’re guessing the workshop staff don’t see these vehicles all that often, so that must have been something of a treat. Or a massive headache they could have done without.
The bidding was at £16,500 at the time of writing, with the auction due to end on Friday evening. Tempted?