The Audi Q7 is the pinnacle of the German automaker’s SUV/crossover lineup and as such, it’s lavishly equipped, superbly finished, notably powerful and features the company’s near-legendary Quattro all-wheel drive.
This is a large, roomy SUV with generous cargo space and outstanding all-around performance. It has many of Audi’s current styling cues including, of course, the huge grille with the four famous rings, which gives the vehicle an assertive appearance and a solid, secure-looking, stance. The LED lighting is another bold recognition feature and at night, the headlamps are exceptionally powerful.
Although it’s as luxurious as any SUV is likely to get, it’s also capable of serious off-road work if the owner so chooses. It’s one of the aristocrats of the SUV world for sure, one of four or five real leaders in this lofty class. This is the second generation Q7 and Audi is anxious to point out that it’s fully 115-kilograms lighter. That makes a big difference when it comes to liveliness and it makes the big rig feel like a compact crossover rather than a very large vehicle. Interestingly, the Q7 is assembled in Bratislava, Slovakia.
Power in my test Q7, and there was lots of it, came from a 3.0-litre TFSI V-6 engine producing 333-horsepower and 325 lbs-ft of torque. It’s supercharged and this endows it with very sporty acceleration and a general feeling of agility and pep. It’s as quick as many sports sedans and will top 100 km/h in around 5.7-seconds. The transmission is a 6-speed Tiptronic.
The interior typifies exactly what Audi does so well – position the driver to perfection and array the instruments and controls in all the right places. Also, the appearance and design detailing around the cabin is exceptionally good with every control and switch functioning with a fine precision. There are certainly a great many controls to be figured out for a new owner with no “Audi familiarity,” but it’s easy enough to get used to. With superb leather seats and trim, the ambiance in the cabin is as good as it gets and sitting behind the wheel, it’s hard to believe that SUV driving can get any better. One way the buyer can further ice the Audi Q7 cake is to opt for the Bang & Olufsen sound system, which creates some of the best music I’ve ever heard in a vehicle. It’s quite a novelty too, with small round tweeters that pop mysteriously out of the dashtop. Audiophiles will know Band & Olufsen well because they’ve been producing some of the most significant designs in home stereo for decades.
Obviously, a vehicle like this doesn’t come inexpensively but its price is actually somewhat below that of its key rivals. It has a surprisingly wide range of safety features, standard or available, and is built to the very highest industry standards of quality and finish. Anyone shopping the upscale SUV market should make sure this Audi is on his or her list.
SPECS AT A GLANCE…
BODY STYLE: Four-door fullsize SUV
ENGINE: 3.0-litre 333-horsepower TFSI
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed Tiptronic, Quattro all-wheel drive
TOWING CAPACITY: Up to 7,700 lbs
FUEL ECONOMY: 10.0-litres/100 km city; 7.3-litres/100 km hwy