By Bob Nagy
KBB Expert Rating: 9.6
Completely redesigned, the 2017 Audi Q7 has morphed into an outstanding 21st century SUV that delivers more of what today’s buyers are demanding. Sleeker and even more stylish than before, the Q7’s new aluminum-intensive architecture reduces its weight by nearly 500 pounds enhancing fuel efficiency while a new suspension improves ride and handling. Complementing its more contemporary look and feel, Audi’s largest sport utility vehicle also boasts greater interior space for passengers and cargo, plus a host new safety features. Natural rivals to SUVs like the Acura MDX, BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class and Volvo XC90, all versions of the midsize Q7 share the same 333-horsepower turbocharged gasoline V6 engine backed by an 8-speed automatic transmission and Audi’s excellent Quattro all-wheel-drive (AWD) system.
If style, comfort, safety and superb road manners carry a higher priority on your must-have list than absolute scale and maximum towing capability, the new Audi Q7 – in Premium, Premium Plus or Prestige grade – could well be the new SUV of your dreams.
KBB Expert Ratings
Literally recast from the ground up, the 2017 Audi Q7 is based on a new aluminum-intensive architecture that sees it lose almost 500 pounds while gaining more sophisticated styling, better fuel efficiency, greater comfort/convenience and safety features along with far superior ride and handling characteristics.
Already one of the best handling and most fun-to-drive 3-row SUVs on the market, the redesigned 2017 Audi Q7 elevates its driving game to an entirely new level. In addition...
... to jettisoning nearly a quarter ton of mass, the Q7’s aluminum-intensive platform also lowers its center of gravity by a phenomenal 1.7 inches. Working with new, 5-link front/rear suspension setups, nicely weighted electromechanical speed-sensitive power steering and Audi’s legendary Quattro AWD, the Q7 displays class-leading agility and impressive body control that complement the quick acceleration provided by its supercharged V6 engine. Beyond standard Audi Drive Select that can fine tune the dampers, steering, throttle and transmission response on all Q7 models, the Adaptive Chassis Package available on the Prestige variant nets full air suspension and 4-wheel steering that further enhance the Q7’s dynamics qualities while slicing three feet off of the turning circle.
AUDI VIRTUAL COCKPIT
Part of an option group on the Q7 Premium Plus, but standard on the Prestige model, this 12.3-inch fully reconfigurable high-res color digital display integrates the functions of the central multimedia interface (MMI) with the conventional instrumentation to provide the driver with a comprehensive array of vehicle, navigation and infotainment data.
ADAPTIVE AIR SUSPENSION
Exclusive to the Q7 Premium, Adaptive Air Suspension is part of the Adaptive Chassis Package that also includes 4-wheel steering. Along with improving comfort and control, it can raise ride height 2.4 inches for better off-road ground clearance, and lower it an inch at freeways speeds to help reduce aero drag.
Continuing on in the Audi tradition, the new Q7’s well-appointed cabin boasts a more elegant look and feel highlighted by standard leather upholstery and a recast dash with an A8-style double-inlay design. Logically arrayed controls, a new 3-spoke multifunction steering wheel and highly legible instrumentation – both conventional and the upline Virtual Cockpit display – round out its more user-friendly character. Equally important, the Q7’s new platform expands interior volume and cargo space, adding more appeal to a new 35/30/35 split-tumble flat-folding 2nd-row bench and bigger, power-activated 50/50 3rd-row seat while boosting stow capacity behind the third row from 10.9 to 14.8 cubic feet.
Although exterior dimensions and wheelbase on the Gen II Q7 have decreased marginally, this all-new iteration puts a more sophisticated visual spin on the SUV formula while imparting an even sleeker character that brings an impressively low 0.32 coefficient of drag. The curbside appeal of the new Q7 is further enhanced by a new 3D-look Singleframe grille, edgier fascia treatments and bolder front/rear lighting graphics set off by 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels on the Premium/Premium Plus and 20-inchers on the Q7 Prestige with optional Audi Sport 21-inch rims on offer.
Highlighting the Q7’s expanded roster of standard features are numerous primo touches including leather upholstery, tri-zone climate control, an enhanced MMI radio with retractable 7.0-inch center display, multi-mode Audi Drive Select, a 2-panel panoramic sunroof, 35/30/35 2nd-row bench seats, a power 50/50 folding rear seat, and a programmable power liftgate. Audi Pre Sense basic, Pre Sense City (with pedestrian and vehicle collision warning plus automatic brake initiation) and front/rear parking assist are also found on all Q7s. The Premium Plus version adds things like MMI Navigation and a hands-free tailgate, while the Prestige brings 3D Bose Surround Sound, head-up display, LED headlights, 4-zone air conditioning, and a 360-degree camera.
As you’d expect of any luxury SUV, the Q7 also offers an impressive list of upgrades. Key extras include MMI Navigation Plus with voice control and all-in-touch handwriting recognition, smartphone integration via Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, a Rear-Seat Entertainment Package, Bose as well as Bang & Olufsen premium audio upgrades, Night Vision Assistant, a Vision Package (with full LED lighting and Audi’s fully digital instrument cluster, Virtual Cockpit), plus a Driver Assistance Package (adaptive Cruise Control and Active Lane Assist). The Q7 Prestige also can be had with a Luxury Package (Valcona leather/Alcantara trim) and the Adaptive Chassis Package that brings full air suspension and 4-wheel steering.
While Audi admits a 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline 4-cylinder and a 3.0-liter TDI turbodiesel are slated to put in an appearance at some future date, initially the new Q7 comes with the existing supercharged 3.0-liter gas-fired V6 that continues to make 333 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque. Mated to a responsive, paddle-shiftable 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission teamed with Audi’s Quattro AWD system, the engine takes this handsome and notably lighter hauler from 0-60 mph in a claimed 5.7 seconds, gives it a stellar 7,700-pound towing capability, and earns 19 mpg city/25 mpg highway fuel economy numbers from the EPA compared to the 16/22 comparative stats of the previous-generation Q7 with the same powertrain.
3.0-liter supercharged V6
333 horsepower @ 5,500-6,500 rpm
325 lb-ft of torque @ 2,900-5,300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/25 mpg (8-speed automatic)
After sitting out the 2016 season, the all-new 2017 Audi Q7 returns as a significantly better – but also more expensive – SUV for 2017. The Premium now opens at just under $56,000 – about $5,000 more than its 2015 counterpart – with the Premium Plus starting slightly below $60,000 and the Prestige commencing closer to $65,500, but maxing out around $80,000 when fully loaded with extras like the Luxury Package, Bang & Olufsen sound system, rear-seat entertainment setup, and Adaptive Chassis Package. Those numbers put the entry-level 2017 Q7 in line with the 5-passenger BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class as well as the 7-passenger Volvo XC90 although they do make it significantly more expensive than the Acura MDX that also seats seven. While Kelley Blue Book has not yet finalized cost-to-own and residual value figures for the new-gen 2017 Q7, resale value expected to remain a notable plus for the vehicle.