By Keith Buglewicz
KBB Expert Rating: 8.0
The 2015 Audi Q7 is a handsome, poised and polished 7-passenger luxury SUV. It not only delivers when it comes to pampering passengers and impressing the neighbors, its lineup of three engines gives everyone an option, coupled with a taut and adjustable suspension that makes this big SUV fun to drive. You can choose between two different supercharged V6 engines, or opt instead for the turbocharged V6 diesel for excellent fuel economy. Audi's industry-leading quattro all-wheel-drive system is standard on all Q7 models. The sleek styling is subtle from most angles, and even the oversized grille doesn't seem so shocking these days. Unfortunately, the exterior styling hides an interior short on 3rd-row and cargo space.
Audi loyalists will gravitate to the 2015 Q7 as their families outgrow their A4 or A6 sedans, and newcomers will be attracted by the good fuel economy, a proven safety record and standard all-wheel drive.
KBB Expert Ratings
Audi rearranges a few options for the 2015 Q7, and adds two new exterior styling packages. A new Offroad Style Plus package gives the Q7 a more off-road-ready look, while the Sporty Style Plus package does the opposite, emphasizing the Q7's sporty driving characteristics.
Driving Impressions Despite being taller, wider and heavier than any other Audi vehicle, the 2015 Audi Q7 still feels similar to one of the company's famously sporty sedans. Credit things like the...... quattro all-wheel-drive system, which retains a bias toward rear-wheel drive to give the Q7 a more performance-minded feel. Still, even Audi's cleverest engineers can't completely mask the Q7's bulk and weight. This is no nimble Q5, although the Q7 boasts responsive steering and an inspiringly solid chassis. The Audi Q7 delivers the kind of driver feedback that's so lacking in competitors like the Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Navigator. Audi's adaptive air suspension is a worthwhile option for those seeking a smoother ride or towing heavy loads. Neither the gasoline nor diesel engines are short on power, providing remarkable thrust yet also much better fuel economy than you'd expect for a 7-passenger luxury SUV weighing more than 5,000 pounds.
BANG & OLUFSEN ADVANCED SOUND SYSTEM
Do you love music? Do you only kinda like music? Either way, anything you play through the 14 custom-made speakers of the amazing Bang & Olufsen optional audio system simply needs to be heard to be believed.
3.0 TDI DIESEL
Audi deserves a lot of credit for the new proliferation of diesel power in the American car market. If you're still skeptical, check out the Audi Q7 TDI. It's just as quick as the standard V6, gets significantly better fuel economy and isn't much more expensive.
There's just something special about Audi interiors, and the 2015 Audi Q7 is no different. The supple leather and dark brown walnut wood trim complement each other, and there are just enough chrome and metal accents to make it feel special, without being flashy. The front power seats are wonderfully comfortable, and the second row offers up good room as well. Unfortunately, the cramped third row and tiny cargo space behind it aren't particularly useful. However, the split-folding third row and the folding second row combine for 28 different interior configurations, so hauling cargo shouldn't be a chore.Exterior
One look at the front, and there's no doubt the 2015 Q7 is an Audi. The unmistakable grille hardly even needs the giant 4-ring logo to identify it. Then there are the aggressive stance and the sloping windshield. However, the current Audi Q7 has been around since 2005, and it's steadily turning from familiar to dated as newer competition debuts. This year, Offroad and Sport style packages play up different faces of the Q7's split personality. The Offroad package adds stainless-steel front and rear skidplates among other things, while the Sport makes the Q7 look like the Europe-only V12 TDI.
The 2015 Audi Q7 comes very well equipped. Leather seats are standard, unlike many European competitors, and the base Premium trim Q7 also features rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth connectivity, Audi Multimedia Interface and a power liftgate. The base model also comes standard with a supercharged V6 engine, and all Q7 models offer standard quattro all-wheel drive. Also across the Q7 line, there's electronic stability control with roll-over mitigation, and the full litany of airbags, including side-curtain airbags that protect across all three rows.
The 2015 Q7 offers all the options you'd expect on a high-end luxury SUV: a navigation system, high-end audio system and a 3-panel panoramic sunroof. But we're more interested in the mechanical options. There's the 333 horsepower V6 available with the S Line models, or the fuel-efficient turbodiesel TDI engine to choose from. An adaptive air suspension is also available, and it will go a long way toward improving your Q7's performance no matter what the surface and conditions.
The base Audi Q7 3.0T features a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 engine that puts out 280 horsepower, which Audi says propels the Q7 to 60 mph in about 7.7 seconds. The more powerful S Line model features an upgraded version of the same engine, putting out 333 horsepower, good enough to get that 0-60-mph time under seven seconds, but without a fuel-economy penalty. Interestingly, the turbocharged V6 in the TDI puts out only 240 horsepower, but its massive 406 lb-ft of torque is more than either gasoline V6, and it keeps pace with the 3.0T. An 8-speed automatic transmission transmits power to all four wheels in all Q7 models, and Audi's Tiptronic allows manual selection of those eight gears.
3.0-liter supercharged V6
280 horsepower @ 4,920 rpm
295 lb-ft of torque @ 2,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/22 mpg
3.0-liter supercharged V6
333 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
325 lb-ft of torque @ 2,900 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/22 mpg
3.0-liter turbocharged diesel V6
240 horsepower @ 3,750 rpm
406 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/28 mpg
We see this with many luxury automakers: a low base price that escalates very quickly as you add options. For example, the base 2015 Audi Q7 3.0T Premium starts with a reasonable Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of just under $49,000, or $54,000 if you want the diesel engine. The S Line, with the more powerful V6 engine, starts closer to $62,500. However, once you start adding options, you can drive the price up quickly to nearly $80,000. That's about on par with competitors like the BMW X5 and 5-passenger Mercedes-Benz M-Class, and notably less than the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class 7-passenger SUV. Before buying, it's always a good idea to check out KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price calculator to see how much others in your area are paying for their Audi Q7. Residual values for the Q7 are among the best in its class.