By KBB.com Editors
Audi admits it came late to the sport utility game, but, nevertheless, the 2009 Q7 quattro is a triumph of technology, elegance, performance and quality. The Premium Plus version wraps around seven passengers in classy comfort and safety, offering innovative features to help you park easily, drive smoothly and enjoy a versatile lifestyle. With all the hallmarks of Audi's heritage, the Q7 does not disappoint, and handling and interior amenities compare with any luxury sedan. Finally, the quattro all-wheel-drive system provides exceptional slick-surface traction and security.You'll Like This Car If...
If you require seating for seven but dread the thought of trying to park a full-size SUV, you'll love the Q7. The Q7 's available rearview camera guides you into place with an onscreen view. Hauling people? Try the 28 different seating configurations. Cargo? Maximum trunk capacity is a mammoth 72 cubic feet.You May Not Like This Car If...
You may not like the Q7 if adults must use the third row. They could have trouble squeezing in and out, but children and most packages fit easily. Speed demons may find the gasoline V6 version a bit underpowered.What's New for 2009
The base 3.6 trim gains more standard content, including the Premium audio system, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, a trip computer and telescoping front sun visors. Later in the model year, a 3.0-liter clean diesel version is slated to join the line.Driving It Driving Impressions
The heft and solid feel of the 2009 Audi Q7 tooling along at highway speeds delivers a sense of sure-footedness and stability. The cruise control is easy to use and the adaptive air suspension's three choices – Dynamic for sporty driving, Automatic, and Comfort – cover every imaginable preference or requirement. In the off-road mode, the 8.1 inches of ground clearance works well over rocks and deep ruts, although severe washboard trails can generate some expected harshness. Then, back on-road, the suspension system automatically lowers the Q7 for higher-speed stability. While the Q7 is a fairly heavy vehicle and has a less-than-tight turning circle, the steering is precise and road noise is minimal. The seats are high, wide and supportive, the airy sunroof lets in lots of light and, with every function and feature at your fingertips, driving the Q7 compares very well to the top players in its field.Favorite Features
Adaptive Cruise Control
This system controls speed and following distance in traffic. The driver chooses his driving mode, which automatically determines the following interval from the vehicle in front.
This system consists of a rearview camera and audio alert to aid in parking. An image of the rear bumper, with color-keyed assistance, appears on the monitor as the Q7 is backed into a parking space. 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. The 2009 Audi 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 within easy reach, whether on the steering wheel, the dash or next to the shift lever on the center console. There are ten cupholders, a cooled glovebox, the driver's seat and steering column are both height-adjustable and 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 allow folding the seats flat. As would be expected, there is a full complement of frontal and side airbags. The cargo compartment includes tie-downs, cargo nets, a retractable cover, partitions, telescoping racks, a ski sack and a protective liner.Exterior
The 2009 Audi 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 keeps this large SUV from the behemoth category and sets it apart as a well-appointed vehicle, for either the Ritz or river-side camping. The 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 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 3.6 features Premium Sound audio, quattro all-wheel drive, side mirrors with LED turn signals, 12-way adjustable power front seats in leather, xenon headlamps and 18-inch alloy wheels. The Premium Plus adds dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, navigation with rear parking camera and ultrasonic rear park assist, Bose Surround Sound audio and power folding side mirrors. Standard safety equipment includes front side and side-curtain airbags, electronic traction and stability control and anti-lock brakes (ABS).Notable Optional Equipment
A worthwhile extra is the adaptive air suspension system with adjustable ride height and roll stabilization. Also available are rear side-impact airbags and an adaptive cruise control that controls speed and following distance in traffic. Audi's side assist utilizes radar to detect other vehicles approaching along the sides and monitors blind spots during lane changes. A towing package increases trailering capacity from 5,500 to 6,600 pounds, and 20-inch alloy wheels with high performance tires are available for the Premium Plus, Prestige and 4.2 models.Under the Hood
Audi's Q7 has the latest powertrain innovations: Fuel Straight Injection (FSI) that contributes to spontaneous response and enhanced power, the quattro all-wheel-drive system, 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 2009 Audi Q7 can operate on regular unleaded, although doing so results in a five-percent power loss.
280 horsepower @ 6200 rpm
266 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20
350 horsepower @ 6800 rpm
325 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/18
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) on the 2009 Audi Q7 runs from around $45,000 for the 3.6 to about $48,000 for the nicely-equipped 3.6 Premium. The V8-powered 4.2 Premium starts around $60,000 and, when fully loaded, tops out at over $75,000. Be sure to click on Fair Purchase Prices to see what smart buyers are currently paying for their Q7s. The resale value of the 2009 Audi Q7 is on par with such similarly-equipped competitors as the BMW X5, Lexus GX 470 and Land Rover Range Rover, and higher than the Cadillac SRX. Competing top-of-the-line SUVs with V8 engines include BMW's X5 4.8is (priced in the low-$70,000 range, although, unlike the Q7, it lacks a third row of seats), the Mercedes-Benz GL450 (in the mid-$55,000 range) and Volvo's XC90 (in the low-$50,000 range).