2017 Audi Q7Posted on September 30th, 2016
Full-size SUV ready for adventure
By Nina Russin
For those who have the means, there is no partner better suited for adventure on and off-road than Audi’s all-new full-size sport-utility vehicle, the Q7. Building on momentum created by the original model, the second-generation vehicle adds a seven-mode drive select system that enables drivers to adjust the car’s throttle, braking and suspension for on and off-road surfaces. Cars with the optional air suspension can also change ride height, up to about 2-1/2 inches for clearing obstacles on off-road trails.
Power comes from a 333-horsepower V-6 engine and eight-speed automatic transmission. The engine develops peak torque, 325 pound-feet, as low as 2900 rpm for exceptional acceleration off the line. Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive system sends engine power to the wheels with the best traction for sure-footedness on wet or snow-covered roads.
Base price is $54,800 excluding the $950 destination charge. Options on the test car include white metallic exterior finish, 20-inch rims with run-flat tires, Bose premium audio system, heads-up display, Audi Connect infotainment, navigation, smartphone interface, heated power side mirrors, LED interior lighting, adaptive cruise control with lane keeping assist, automatic high beams, heated steering wheel and heated rear seats, rear seat entertainment system and black headliner. Final MSRP is $72,875.
Test drive in Arizona
Over the past week, I drove Audi’s full-size SUV on highways and surface streets around Phoenix, Chandler and Scottsdale, Arizona, taking in a few rainstorms at the tail end of this year’s monsoon season. For a car with a 118-inch wheelbase, the Q7 is a remarkably nimble performer, with 5.7-second zero-to-sixty acceleration, precise cornering and excellent steering response.
When the driver shifts into reverse, a combination of rearview and overhead cameras eliminates any blind spots around the perimeter, enabling the driver to see obstacles that might otherwise be hidden. Because the car is quite wide- the rear track is 66.6-inches- the feature makes both parallel and perpendicular parking much easier.
Exterior styling is classic Audi, with the front end of the vehicle punctuated by the brand’s trapezoidal grille, Zenon headlamps and LED daytime running lamps. A high beltline and large wheel arches framing the test car’s large rims gives the Q7 a distinctly masculine appearance. Ditto for the interior, with a substantial shift lever and steering wheel.
Engineers used electronic controls to modify the shift lever for ease of use. The lever itself toggles between drive and reverse, while a button on the side locks the vehicle in park. The sound system automatically dims when the driver shifts into reverse to make it easier to hear people walking behind the car.
On the road, performance is what one would expect from a company with a rich racing heritage. The Q7 is fast and sure-footed. Suspension on the test car is the standard four-wheel independent system with five-link setups front and rear. Ventilated disk brakes provide firm, linear stopping power.
The turbocharged V-6 engine and eight-speed transmission are beautifully matched, downshifting quickly when the driver punches the throttle but offering a smooth progression through the gears under normal driving conditions.
The optional 20-inch rims provide a fat footprint for high-speed driving. Those who plan to take their vehicles off-road might do better with the standard 19-inch rims that allow for tires with taller sidewalls.
Audi’s active safety technology is some of the best on the market, in that it is unobtrusive to the driving experience. While lane keeping assist might seem like a good idea on paper, it can be more of an inconvenience that a benefit, with systems chiming and buzzing every time the driver apexes. This one does not. Blind spot monitoring illuminates large LED signals in the A pillars when vehicles in adjacent lanes pass through the driver’s blind spots. Whereas some competitive systems produce false warnings from vehicles several lanes away, this one does not, giving the driver more sense of security.
Engineers did an excellent job of minimizing noise intrusion to the interior so occupants can enjoy the optional Bose surround-sound system or converse with ease.
The Q7 holds up to seven passengers in three rows of seating. Second-row seats fold and tumble forward in a 35/30/35 configuration to ease third-row access. When not in use, third-row seats fold into the floor to extend the cargo bay.
Drivers can adjust height for the liftgate so it is easier to reach and clears the home garage door. The liftgate can also be programmed for hands-free use, making it easier to load in bicycles and other large cargo. Standard crossbars make it easy to add a bike rack or overhead cargo carrier. The Q7 can tow up to 7700 pounds when properly equipped.
Standard keyless entry and start saves the driver from fumbling for the key fob. Although the Q7 is a high profile vehicle, the seats are low enough that most adults should have no problems with access and egress.
A panoramic sunroof brings an abundance of ambient light inside the car, while optional LED interior lighting creates a pleasant ambience after dark.
Audi’s MMI controls for programming the audio and climate settings work very much like a PC mouse: intuitive to operate and eliminating a clutter of buttons on the instrument panel. Driver’s seat adjustments give small drivers enough height for a clear forward view. There is amble lower lumbar support for drives several hours in duration.
The Audi Q7 comes with front, side and side curtain airbags, antilock brakes, traction control, stability control, tire pressure monitoring, automatic windshield wipers.
Standard Audi pre-sense uses a video camera to monitor the road ahead of the vehicle. If a collision is imminent, it automatically tightens the seatbelts, closes the windows and sunroof. In cases of rear collisions, it will move seats into the safest position. The system can also increase the driver’s braking force as necessary.
The all-new Audi Q7 is rolling into dealerships nationwide.
Like: The new Q7 is a stylish full-size sport-utility vehicle with a powerful engine and all-wheel drive for four-season performance. A versatile interior with three rows of seating makes the Q7 perfect for outward-bound families.
Dislike: Expensive option packages significantly increase the price of the vehicle.
Model: Q7 3.0T Quattro Tiptronic
Base price: $54,800
As tested: $72,875
Horsepower: 333 Hp @ 5500 rpm
Torque: 325 lbs.-ft. @ 2900 rpm
Zero-to-sixty: 5.7 seconds
Antilock brakes: Standard
Side curtain airbags: Standard
First aid kit: N/A
Bicycle friendly: Yes
Fuel economy: 19/25 mpg city/highway2017, Luxury 2017, Active Lifestyle Vehicles, Audi, auto review, performance, pricing, Q7, Quattro, standard safety