It was evening. Twilight had set in. Individuals from across the city were making their way towards Mulund. A small group of the free-revving species was busy wrapping up some last minute work. A couple of them left for the day, promising that they would join them soon at the designated meeting place. A relatively new free-revver joined the group at the office, unaware of the exact location where the rendezvous was being planned. He was quickly brushed up with the course of action for the night.
In the meanwhile, the chief free-revver’s place was abuzz with activity. In the background of some soulful music by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, a keen observer would easily fathom that something big was underway. One by one, everyone dropped in at the rendezvous place and the course of action was repeated once again. No mistake could be risked. It had to be handled professionally.
After some cussing and swearing over a free revver who could not make it on time to the designated meeting place, the group set out. The location of Ground Zero was known only to the chief and a couple of other free revvers. The battle tank in the form of an Audi Q7 4.5 TDi was tanked up and kept ready for the big event. It now showed a range of 720 Kms, which was deemed sufficient by the chief.
Upon stepping in, the group was immediately transported to a new world. In contrast with the sweltering heat outside, the interior of the vehicle was utterly cool and comfortable. Considering that it had been less than a minute since the chief revved up the engine, the air conditioning system can indeed be deemed commendable. With individually adjustable air vents and temperature control for the second and the third row occupants, comfort was guaranteed. And comfort was indeed of paramount importance. A long night lay ahead for the free revving species.
After having picked up some more supplies for the night and spending a few minutes in getting the third row seat ready for yet another passenger to be picked up on the way, the big Audi Q7, our liner for the odyssey set out on its voyage. We navigated the behemoth through the outbound traffic that was made worse by a bridge repairing work undertaken by the authorities that very night.
Within minutes the traffic was left far behind and 245 horses worth of power and torrential torque from the 2967cc turbo diesel V6 engine was easily noticeable as we found ourselves relishing a fast and smooth drive on the highway. Soon enough the group reached another checkpoint and swiftly parked to wait for a few others to catch up in another, smaller ship. The zeal and enthusiasm of the free revving species was very much noticeable as the trailing members managed to reach the checkpoint not much behind the swift Q7. Without wasting a second, the two cars set out towards their destination.
In the meanwhile, some passengers rearranged themselves in the Q7 to experience it from all positions. The hour and a half long journey did not cause any noticeable discomfort, even to the average built passenger in the third row with a height of 5’10”. This is usually a cause of concern for any car that boasts of three rows of seats. Although, a better position for the spare wheel could have made matters much better as well as freed up another seat for the occasional 7th passenger.
Once the group left the highway to begin its ascent on the ground zero, the real comfort and performance, coupled with the reliability of the car was put to test. The comfort level scored an eight out of ten throughout the trip, two points being deducted for the placement of the spare wheel, after all one cannot simply nudge a 255/60 R18 sized wheel for some extra side space without being met with some stiff opposition. The 600 Nm of Torque ensured the performance received full marks. A little extra push on the throttle, even during steep ascent, caused a headrush and a sense of a hook being jerked from behind the navel. This kind of adventure drive on the top of a hill at midnight did not compromise on the safety, thanks to an array of safety features on the big Audi.
The powerful LED headlamps created a day like situation in pitch black darkness. This battle tank of a machine can certainly take on any terrain, even those which are deemed unassailable by other vehicles, without as much as a protest. And while it’s a battle tank when tackling rough terrain, it could very well be a space ship too, as the occupants were transported to a different world altogether on the inside.
Upon alighting at the destination, the free revving species found the weather to be in stark contrast with the sweltering heat of Mumbai. Here it was windy and it was cold, literally cold, and we were just a two hour journey away in our spaceship. Having reached ground zero at around 2.30am, the members quickly set to work to find a flat area where preparations for a feast could be made. The barbeque was set up and the tenderly marinated chicken and paneer was quickly devoured. The ground zero could be considered as the base camp from where further journey to the top of the hill was to begin at daybreak.
It was around 4.30am when the first signs of dawn were visible in the eastern sky. The team could only take on the serenity of the moment as the darkness slowly swept away. Soon, the members occupied their seats in the car and the journey to the peak began. The sunroof was pulled back and all the free revvers took turns at enjoying an enviable view of the serene beauty through the vantage point. Within a couple of kilometers, the glimpse of the windmills brought out a cheer of joy from everyone.
The windmills were the first thing that had attracted the chief to this location and the desire to watch the sun rise from this picturesque location was the reason behind this nightly venture. After having reached the very top of the hill and under a windmill, the team settled down for some refreshing pictures. The fog, coupled with the cloudy weather and the chilly winds enthralled each and everyone. We missed the sunrise owing to the heavy fog, but for the better, as the misty environs made the experience utterly unforgettable for the entire team. Skipping sleep the previous night was definitely worth it.
After a refreshing break, the team set out to explore the other peaks in the same mountain range. The intention was to cover the entire region during the trip, so as to find a place with the best view of the valley. The Audi Q7 took on everything in its stride – tar roads at the base, roughly laid concrete at some stretches, loose gravel and soil at others, and stones – big and small at the top.
Soon, after covering all possible locations atop the hill, the team made its way towards a lake in search of breakfast and some other picturesque spots. A reliable breakfast joint eluded us, but everywhere the team went, they were greeted with stunning views, to the extent that the team was now threatened with the possibility of the DSLR battery running out. However, the 12V socket in the car provided a sense of relief and the journey continued.
Towards the end
Like all good things come to an end, the team too decided that it was now time to end the joyride and head back towards Mumbai. Finding its way through the meandering roads in the valley, the team navigated towards Mumbai, where the first halt was at Vitthal Kamat’s for a late breakfast. Having had a stomach full of food, the infotainment system of the Audi Q7 was put to test and all sorts of medleys and songs were played through the last leg of the journey.
With day time visibility and sparse traffic on the route, within no time the team reached the fringes of the city. At the entry of Thane, the team saw the repair work of the aforementioned bridge that held them up last night as well. After a slow but steady progress through the traffic, the battle tank aka spaceship aka Audi Q7 4.5 TDi transported the jubilant free revving species to the constantly-at-work city of Mumbai.
With the extreme cold experienced atop the hill the previous night and a satisfying air conditioning system in the Q7, the summer heat of late afternoon Mumbai hit the team on their face. The last leg of the journey involved dropping off the team members one by one at spots along the route from where their onward destination would be easily accessible. When the car was finally parked back at the chief’s place, the tank showed a range of 260 odd kilometers, which meant that the battle tank covered a whopping 460 Km in one night.
The fascinating drive, commendable comfort, captivating views and thrilling adventure of barbecuing atop a hill post midnight left a lasting impression on the minds of the free revving species. A journey cannot be termed as memorable until it leaves a lasting impression on the minds of those who are a part of it. This one surely did. If cars could speak, the Audi Q7 4.5 TDi would have narrated its own experience of the serene night and we would have been glad to feature it on Motoroids.
Here’s a mega gallery of our experience during that unforgettable drive. Hope you enjoy it