Lower, shorter, and lighter than earlier models, this luxurious SUV is a delight to drive.
The Audi Q7 is a dreamboat, a crossover extraordinaire. Audi’s flagship SUV has always been impressive; the second-generation Q7 introduced last year is even more so. A little lower, shorter, and lighter than before, it shines in terms of driving dynamics, luxury appointments, and technology.
Motivation comes from either of two engines; a price-leading turbo 4-cylinder or a supercharged V6. The latter is notable not only for strong acceleration and a 7,700-pound tow rating but also for exceptionally good fuel economy, given the Q7’s large size. Steering is sharp and perfectly weighted. Some might find the suspension a tad firm, but it does inspire confidence when the driver carves corners.
Like the exterior bodywork, the interior styling is refreshingly uncomplicated. The cabin is finished in leather, wood, and piano-black trim. Nary a sound—engine, wind, or road noise—disturbs the church-like quiet. The Q7 has three rows of pews: The first and second rows are heavenly, but the third row is purgatory.
Audi’s Virtual Cockpit replaces conventional instrument-panel touchstones (the speedo and tach) with multi-configurable electronic displays, and the navigation system uses vivid Google Earth images. Audi’s Quattro AWD is standard on all Q7s, as is forward automatic emergency braking.
The $50K entry price is tolerable, though that’s with the smaller engine. But load up a Q7 with a V6 and such features as an Adaptive Air suspension and a Bang and Olufsen sound system and, as with many German cars, the price can shoot into the $80,000 range. Still, with the Q7, you get what you pay for.