By KBB.com Editors
Audi admits it's late to the game, the most important in its history, but its arrival on the sport utility scene with the Q7 quattro is a triumph of technology, elegance, performance and quality. The Premium version wraps around six passengers (seven in the base model) in classy comfort and safety, offering innovative features to help you park easily, drive fast, and enjoy a versatile lifestyle. With all the hallmarks of the Audi heritage, the Q7 does not disappoint. Classified as a light truck by the EPA, it is built on a unibody which Audi prefers to call a car and indeed handling and interior amenities compare with any luxury sedan. Built-in is 25 years of permanent all-wheel-drive experience for limited off-road duties.You'll Like This Car If...
You'll like this car if parking a large SUV is your recurrent nightmare. Instead, it's a dream when the Q7's rearview camera guides you onscreen inch by inch. Hauling people? Try the 28 different seat configurations. Cargo? Maximum trunk space is a mammoth 72 cubic feetYou May Not Like This Car If...
You may not like this car if adults use the third row. They could have trouble squeezing in and out but children and packages can fit. And if you're an impatient pedal-masher you may find that the throttle response lags a little from zero to 30 miles per hour, although 30 to 60 is surprisingly exhilarating in this 5,269-pound vehicle.What's New for 2007
The 16-foot 8-inch long Q7 is specifically designed for the high-end U.S. SUV market, focusing on craftsmanship, multi-function seating, plenty of horsepower, unlimited cargo space, and every techie gimmick going. Upping the ante on driving dynamics, the Q7 bundles in Audi's latest generation of quattro, and pioneering safety features.Driving It Driving Impressions
The heft and solid feel of this well-built, agile Q7 tooling along at high speeds transfers a sense of sure-footedness and road grip to the driver. The cruise control is a snap to use and the adaptive air suspension's three very exact driving characteristics with adjustable ride height—Dynamic for sporty outings, Automatic, and Comfort—cover every driving requirement depending on the mode selected and speed. When you shift into Off-road, the superb stabilization technology kicks in. The 8.1-inch of ground clearance works well over rocks and deep ruts although severe washboard trails can set unsecured headrests rattling. Back on-road, the suspension system automatically lowers the Q7 for high-speed stability. Despite a few aluminum parts, this is still a heavy vehicle, and while the turning circle can require a three-point effort, the precise steering helps. Road noise is minimal. The seats are high, wide and supportive, the airy sunroof lets in 5.6-feet of light, and with every function and feature at your fingertips, driving the Q7 compares well to the top players in its field.Favorite Features
Adaptive Cruise Control
A world first, the system controls distance and speed as a safety feature in traffic. The driver chooses his driving mode, which automatically determines the time interval from a vehicle in front.
Brand new, the system consists of a rearview camera and audio alert to help you park. An image of the rear bumper appears onscreen as you back the Q7 into a parking space, following the colored guidelines on the monitor. Blue areas show if the space is large enough; orange lines guide the driver for parallel or angle parking.
The interior, like all Audis, is second to none in the automotive industry and the Q7 is trimmed with luxury woods, aluminum inlays, and stitched leather everywhere including the heatable steering wheel. The cockpit is based on the A6 and every ergonomically-designed button, knob and switch is at hand either on the steering wheel, the dash, or next to the shift lever on the center console. Ten cupholders stash drinks. The driver's seat is height-adjustable, as is the steering column. Both front seats have lumbar support. The middle seat in the second row bench flips down to form a mini-table, and single-pull levers fold the seats flat. Airbags abound front and side, and seatside bags along the full side length to the third row. Air conditioning conveniently cools the glove box. The luggage compartment is a treasure trove of tie-downs, cargo nets, a retractable cover, partitions, telescoping racks, a ski sack, and a protective liner.Exterior
The Q7's exterior is sleek, striking, and sporty, with a bold rectangular grille, high beltline, narrow side windows and a coupe-like roofline capped by a rack. The front overhang is comparatively short but in perfect proportion to the intent of the sporty design. A long wheelbase provides the Q7 with a self-possessed elegance. Headlamps, door handles, and arched fenders fuse into a seamless, graceful unit. Sporty styling rescues this large SUV from the behemoth bin and sets it apart as a well-appointed vehicle for the Ritz or riverside camping. A raked windshield, a small rear roof spoiler that houses the third rear light, and a three-panel sunroof, complete with shade, are well-integrated. A wrap-around 45.7-inch wide tailgate lifts on hydraulic pistons and, fortunately for anyone under 5 foot 4 inches, can be programmed to rise to the height of your choice. Heatable, fold-flat sideview mirrors are massive, and settings are saved in memory.Notable Standard Equipment
The Q7 Premium is loaded with advanced technology and exceptional standard features. Among the most innovative are turning headlamps that follow bends in the road, and a hill descent control to automatically apply the brakes to maintain speed on steep, loose-gravel downhill grades or when the axles are articulated. Another first is the Multi Media Interface (MMI) which controls the navigation system, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, air suspension, and audio.Notable Optional Equipment
Worth the extra bucks is the adaptive air suspension system with adjustable ride height and roll stabilization. Also debuting in this 2007 model is an adaptive cruise feature to automatically control distance from zero to 90 miles per hour in stop-and-go traffic. Another safety option is Audi's Side Assist with a flashing arrow in the sideview mirror. It uses radar technology to detect fast-moving vehicles moving into your critical zone, and monitors blind spots during lane changes. A towing package increases haul capability from 5,500 to 6,600 pounds. Rear-side airbags and 20-inch alloy wheels with high performance tires complete the list of add-ons.Under the Hood
Audi's Q7 has all the latest mechanical toys: Fuel Straight Injection (FSI) for spontaneous response and more power, a drivetrain that combines quattro, a six-speed Tiptronic transmission, and a Dynamic Shift Program that adjusts gear changes to your driving style and road conditions. Premium unleaded fuel is recommended but the Q7 functions on regular unleaded, losing five-percent horsepower. A 3.6 V6, 280-horsepower engine is ready for September 2006. Rumored in the wings is a 5.2 V10.
350 horsepower @ 6800 rpm
325 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/19
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) on the Audi Q7 Premium 4.2 six-speed Tiptronic quattro is $60,620, and $10,000 less on the base model. Both versions include MMI, adaptive front headlamps, power tailgate, three-row head-curtain airbags, and 18-inch wheels. The higher price on the Premium covers Cricket leather, four-zone climate control, heated front seats and steering wheel, DVD navigation with voice control, rear Parktronic, and SIRIUS Satellite Radio. Be sure to click on Fair Purchase Prices to see what people are currently paying for their Q7s. The resale figure of the Q7 is currently not available since the vehicle is brand new and doesn't go on sale until June but like most Audis, it is expected to hold a high value. Competing top-of-the-line SUVs with V8 engines include BMW's X5 4.8is with an MSRP of $71,795, although, unlike the Q7, it lacks a third row of seats; the $55,675 Mercedes-Benz GL450 with no available sunroof, and Volvo's XC90 priced at $50,555.