By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 11/7/2011
The Audi Q7 received some very welcome engine upgrades for the 2011 model year – the 3.0-liter supercharged V6 gasoline engine remains well-received and the 3.0-liter V6 TDI turbodiesel delivers both ample torque and welcome fuel economy – and those two terrific engines continue for the 2012 Audi Q7. As part of the VW group's trinity of high-end SUVs (along with the VW Touareg and Porsche Cayenne), the Q7 is built to exacting performance and efficiency standards, and new standard-equipment additions and options packages give the consumer a better range of vehicles from which to choose – ensuring the 2012 Audi Q7's place in the lineup of one of the fastest-growing badges in the U.S.
Fans of the Audi aesthetic will find much to like in the Q7. The three-row seating and quattro all-wheel-drive (AWD) give drivers everything they need for reassurance in family daily driving. The commendable EPA numbers of both the gasoline V6 and the available TDI turbodiesel don't hurt either.
The Q7 is a big SUV, and some may find its bulk to be a deal-breaker, especially in the face of smaller, capable SUV competition (including Audi's own Q5) not to mention the re-emergence of the station wagon.
The base 3.0T gasoline engine gains an extra eight horsepower, bringing the non-S-Line-Package-equipped models to a total of 280 horsepower.
The 2012 Q7 has a performance-minded rear bias in its all-wheel drive (40:60 front-to-rear), but there's no escaping the effect of its size on handling crispness. Steering is responsive and the body feels inspiringly solid, but the sheer bulk of the Q7, along with its height, conspires to rob some nimbleness from what, in fairness, is a big car. As it is, the 2012 Q7 displays ride quality and feedback that many will find lacking in American SUVs, and the interior sets it even further apart. The adaptive air suspension is listed as optional, but it's a worthwhile choice.
With two-and-a-half tons to move, you might regret not taking the upgraded 333 horsepower of the S-Line. Not only does the S-Line Package give the 2012 Q7 more urgency, but in concert with the quattro all-wheel-drive (AWD) it makes for a better year-round vehicle.
3.0 TDI Diesel
The diesel engine is carving a niche in the American market at last, and Audi's TDI deserves a lot of the credit for that. In the 2012 Q7 the turbodiesel engine won't break any speed records, but it moves the big SUV around admirably while returning surprisingly good mpg in the face of the Q7's daunting curb weight.
The interior is where the 2012 Audi Q7 earns its keep. The leather is supple and elegant, and the Dark Brown Walnut wood trim is a fantastic touch. The power front seats hold the driver just so, and the second and third rows provide ample room. Speaking of room, with those back two rows folded flat there is 72 cubic feet of cargo space inside the Q7. The seating combinations (28!) are more than you'll likely ever need but demonstrate Audi's ability to coax the most out of a platform. But the biggest impression of the interior is of the overall beautiful and meticulous appearance of every detail.
The 2012 Audi Q7 makes quite a statement visually. There's no denying its heritage, with the raked windshield and subtly-aggressive stance. The Q7 is all Audi, to be sure, but updated body styling on its sibling Touareg and Cayenne models is making the Q7 look a bit old. The S-Line Package's trim additions help, but some might feel the Q7 could benefit from some redesign. What is impeccable about the exterior, though, is the level of fit and finish and overall excellent assembly quality.
Another point for the 2012 Audi Q7 is how well equipped it is as standard. The base 3.0T and TDI turbodiesel models feature rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth connectivity, Audi Multimedia Interface and a power liftgate. The 2012 Q7 Premium Plus gets additional chrome pieces, a rearview camera, navigation system (now standard with Audi Connect), and Bose Surround Sound system. The TDI Prestige package comes with 20-inch wheels and Audi's Warm Weather package. Across the line, quattro all-wheel-drive (AWD), electronic stability control with roll-over mitigation, and the full litany of airbags, including side-curtain airbags that protect across all three rows, are present. Gas/diesel fence-sitters take note: The TDI standard equipment level is a notch above that of an equivalent 3.0T V6's.
The most notable option for your conventional gas-powered 2012 Audi Q7 is the S-Line package. Improving the feel and responsiveness of the 5,400-pound Q7, the S-Line Package coaxes 333 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque out of the Q7's V6 and includes the Warm Weather Package with four-zone climate control. The Multimedia Navigation unit is available as on option on Premium models. Adaptive air suspension is also available, and will go a long way toward improving your Q7's performance on or off-road.
The base 2012 Audi Q7 is powered by a 3.0-liter gasoline V6 that delivers 280 horsepower, while the S-Line version gives 333 horsepower. The 3.0-liter TDI turbodiesel has 225 horsepower, but with 406 lb-ft of torque, it's quite the powerplant. Highway mpg for the Q7, depending upon model, ranges from 22-25, helped by the standard Triptronic 8-speed transmission found in all models.
3.0-liter V6 Supercharged
280 horsepower @ 4,920 rpm
295 lb-ft torque @ 2,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/22
3.0-liter V6 Supercharged
333 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
325 lb-ft torque @ 2,900 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/22
225 horsepower @ 3,750 rpm
406 lb-ft torque @ 1,750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/25
As is the German way, your choice of options can dramatically affect how much your 2012 Audi Q7 costs. Models range from an MSRP (Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price) of over $46,000 for the 3.0T Premium to around $64,000 for the TDI Prestige. Adding more options can send high-end 2012 Q7s easily into the $70,000 range and higher. Be sure to check KBB's Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for the 2012 Audi Q7. The initial cost can seem a bit daunting in the face of competition from BMW's X5, the Porsche Cayenne and the less-expensive Acura MDX, but Audi's growing appeal to American buyers is helping to increase resale values.