Audi’s Q7 is the SUV for those who need an SUV but don’t want to look like they are in an SUV. Gone are the days where everyone wanted to be seen riding 12 feet over everyone else on the road. The days of the box designed SUVs are thankfully behind us. Even Land Rover has gotten the memo as they plan to release their new Evoque while redesigning their flagship Range Rover. Based on the parent company’s Volkswagen Touareg and its cousin the Porsche Cayenne, the Q7 rides on the same platform yet offers more interior room. The stretched wheelbase allows for a third row and larger cargo area…More on that later.
Stand in front of the Q7 and you will notice the immense corporate grille and trademark Audi rings. It has a quite a presence. This SUV appears to snarl at you with its headlights and intimidating front end. Which by the way is a stark contrast from the rest of the car. Despite the menacing front end, the Audi crossover is more of a sexy people mover, which looks like nothing else on the road. It has a swept back roofline which gives lends to the silhouette of a coupe. Giving you the concept of movement despite it being parked. The lines and sensual curves speak to your emotions, all while drawing you to step inside of the vehicle to take command of this rather large SUV. Though it sits noticeably lower than the renowned Cadillac Escalade, it is equally as large.
Typically configured to seat 7, buyers may also opt for a second set of captain’s seats, which brings capacity down to 6. Either way passengers will be pampered by supple leather seats, which come standard in spite of what fellow Germans BMW and Mercedes offer in their trucks. Though Audi was noticeably late to the SUV party, as many Americans have slowly moved from behemoth trucks, they understood that buyers want luxury and lots of it. A massive panoramic roof that runs the length of crossover opens up the interior of Q7. Third row seating is also standard as is, wood accents and genuine aluminum trim. While everyone else has just now begun to understand the aesthetic value of ambient lighting, Audi has been adorning their interiors with well-placed red LEDs to correspond with the driver’s gauges. A high resolution LCD screen displays the navigation adorns the space shuttle like dashboard. That same screen also displays vital car info, which is accessed through MMI, which is similar to BMW’s iDrive. Only thing is this is much easier to use. Though I must admit BMW has finally tweaked their system so that your grandmother will now feel comfortable using it. Your grandmother will also love the powered tailgate that can be accessed via the key fob or driver’s seat. Storage is at a minimum with the third row seats in place, however folding them increases capacity for a party of 5 to travel comfortably with all of their belongings.
On the road you will be reminded just how big and heavy this car is. Build quality is excellent, evident by the tank like feel of the doors. The Q7 comes in both Petrol and diesel models. A long rumored hybrid has yet to arrive to our shores. Until then buyers will have to enjoy the powerful direct injection engines while piloting these machines from Audi. One thing that I noticed was crisp handling, which amazed me for a vehicle this size. Obviously its cousin the Porsche Cayenne handled better but the Audi is no slouch. I did however notice the immense weight as I accelerated. Once moving the ride was smooth. Transmission shifts were effortless and once I put the Q7 in Dynamic mode, the suspension firmed up and the ride became even more enjoyable. Not on a BMW level, but certainly what German automotive engineering is all about. All in all Audi hit its mark with the Q7, my only wish is that there was a greater focus on weight reduction, which would have only aided in acceleration and minimizing it’s thirst at the pump. Oddly enough this SUV gets worse mpg numbers than a Range Rover despite their near equal weight and the RR having true off road ability. However the Q7 can move 7 passengers, whereas the RR simply cannot. Starting MSRP $46250