Audi Q7 Review

Audi Q7 ReviewLuxury SUVs have gained widespread popularity in the United States. However, until now, Audi has not had an offering in this segment of the market, leaving a gaping hole in its model lineup. But as the saying goes: arrive late, dress well. And Audi has done just that with its sensational Q7.

While the Q7 may be Audi's first-ever sport-utility, its strength and refinement suggest that Audi has been in this game for years, if not decades. As such, the Q7 represents a fresh and beautifully rendered newcomer to the luxury SUV segment. Like other Audis, the Q7 is a paragon of driving elegance and interior refinement.

Built upon the same solid architecture shared by the Volkswagen's impressive Touareg and Porsche's high-performance Cayenne, the Q7 is even nicer to drive than its two corporate cousins, thanks to a more compliant ride and Audi's decades of experience with all-wheel-drive systems, which Audi calls Quattro, or quattro. The Q7 is also the longest of the three, and thus is the only one to offer three-row seating. Audi also has equipped the Q7 with many luxury and convenience features not found on the Touareg and Cayenne, including a few not found on any other luxury SUV.

With a base price of less than $50,000, the Q7 is priced close to others in the luxury SUV segment, which also includes the Cadillac SRX, Lexus GX 470, and Mercedes-Benz M-Class. With all-wheel drive, a choice of powerful V6 and V8 engines and arguably the classiest interior in the segment, the Q7 deserves serious consideration when shopping for a luxury SUV.

The 2007 Audi Q7 line features two engines and two trim levels. Both the 3.6 and 4.2 models are available in regular and Premium trim. All Q7s come with six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmissions and quattro all-wheel drive.

The 3.6, available September 2006, is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 that delivers 280 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque. It comes standard with five-passenger seating, cloth upholstery, automatic dual-zone climate control, a 10-way power driver's seat, Audi MMI, cruise control, AM/FM/CD stereo with eight speakers, a manual tilt/telescoping multi-function steering wheel, power windows and locks, keyless entry, black roof rails, fog lights, alarm/engine immobilizer system, and 18-inch wheels.

Options include panorama sunroof ($1,850), leather upholstery, seven-passenger seating, heated front and rear seats and XM or Sirius satellite radio, privacy glass, auto-dimming rearview mirror, light/rain sensor, and brushed aluminum trim.

Premium trim adds leather upholstery, 10-way power front passenger with heating feature and driver seat memory, heated front and rear seats, wider wheels and tires, aluminum roof rails, Bi-Xenon headlamps, genuine wood and aluminum trim, AM/FM/6CD sound system with 14 Bose speakers, privacy glass, auto-dimming rearview mirror, light/rain sensor, an interior light package, and a cargo area cover.

Options for the 3.6 Premium include premium Cricket leather, driver's seat memory, six-passenger seat configuration, automatic rear climate control, DVD-based navigation, Rear Parktronic with rear-view camera, Audi Side Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, power tailgate, Bluetooth connectivity, Homelink, voice-activated controls, adaptive front lighting, dual-tone sills/bumpers, keyless engine starting, 20-inch wheels, and a 6,600-pound tow package.

The 4.2 ($49,900) is powered by a 4.2-liter V8 that produces 350 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. In addition to the standard equipment found on the 3.6 Premium, the 4.2 features a leather-wrapped power tilting/telescoping multi-function steering wheel, Bluetooth connectivity, side and rear sunshades and a fold-flat third-row bench seat.

Options for the 4.2 include premium leather upholstery ($1,000); six-passenger seat configuration ($1,200); four-zone climate control ($950); navigation system ($1,800); the Technology package ($2,400), which includes rear backup camera, Audi Side Assist, keyless engine starting and voice activated controls; a cold weather package ($850) that includes heated front and rear seats and a heated steering wheel; panorama sunroof ($1,850); Sirius or XM satellite radio ($550); a 6600-pound towing package ($550); Trunk tie-down system ($250); rear side air bags ($350); 19-inch alloy wheels ($800); 20-inch alloy wheels ($1,600).

The 4.2 Premium ($59,900) adds 19-inch alloy wheels, headlight washers, heated steering wheel, premium Cricket leather, panorama sunroof, rear climate control, the six-passenger seating configuration, keyless engine starting, the navigation system, Sirius or XM radio, rear backup camera and voice activated controls. Options for the 4.2 Premium include 20-inch alloy wheels ($800); Adaptive Air Suspension ($2,600); Audi Side Assist ($500); 6600-pound towing package ($550); rear side air bags ($350); and the seven-passenger seat configuration (no charge). An S-Line package ($3,800), available on all models except 3.6, features more aggressively styled lower body moldings, sport front seats, a sport-tuned suspension and 21-inch alloy wheels. S-Line models are not available with the Adaptive Air Suspension.

Safety features on all Q7 models include anti-lock four-wheel disc brakes with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) and an electronic stability program with rollover sensing and a tow mode. Passive safety features include front seat belts with pretensioners and load-limiters, dual front air bags, front side seat-mounted torso air bags, side curtain air bags that span all three rows of seats. Tire pressure monitors are also standard. Rear-seat side torso air bags are optional on all arrays.

The styling of the Audi Q7 offers no surprises, just typical Audi class, as if the A6 wagon experienced an unexpected growth spurt. The blunt front end features Audi's signature bold grille flanked by menacing headlights at the leading edge of the sculpted hood. A heavily stylized front end helps mask the formidable mass of the Q7's nose. Fog lights are set into the lower moldings.

Crisp side-view styling with articulated fenders and an arching roofline also do much to lessen the generous dimensions of the Q7. The exterior mirrors are perhaps the largest we've ever seen on a vehicle in this class, which should come in handy when towing. Two stylish, full-length metal rails on the roof provide anchor points for accessory crossbars for securing cargo on the roof.

The Q7's rear view is dominated by high-mounted, horizontal taillamps with LED illumination and fiber-optic/LED turn signals. The cut line for the tailgate sweeps outward around the taillamps to become a styling element of its own.

Lower moldings are rendered in a durable, unpainted, chip-resistant material that is color-keyed to the paint above. With the available S-Line appearance package, they are replaced by more aggressively styled lower moldings that are painted to match the body.

Other notable exterior features that would be particularly appreciable in colder climates include pull-type door handles that are easy to use with gloves, as well as wide-sweeping windshield wipers that, when not in use, rest on an area heated by the interior vents in order to prevent freezing.

InteriorAudi Q7 Review
Audi designed the Q7 interior with flexibility in mind, with 28 different passenger/cargo arrangements between three available seating configurations. With the conventional 40/20/40 split second-row bench seat, the Q7 seats five; add the third-row seat and it'll seat seven. Standard on the 4.2 Premium is a six-passenger arrangement with second-row bucket seats separated by a center console, with the third row bench behind it. All second-row seats slide for/aft four inches to maximize legroom, which Audi claims gives the Q7 the most stretch-out room in the class.

Most drivers should find the driving position nearly perfect. Getting in and out of the front or second-row seats is easy thanks to large doors and a reasonably low floor. Accessing the third row is not as easy: The second-row seat slides and folds forward to grant access, but never quite enough for an adult to get back there smoothly. To Audi's defense, the seat was designed to accommodate people no taller than five feet, four inches. As with most SUVs, the third row is best left to the kids.

Interior trim speaks of high quality, with padded surfaces everywhere one can touch and virtually no hard plastics. Three different kinds of wood are available, as is patterned aluminum trim. The mix of materials conveys a level of luxury that matches, if not exceeds, the Q7's price.

The Q7's gauges are clear and bright with an information display between the speedometer and tachometer which cycles through several menus via buttons on the steering wheel. Redundant navigation messages are also communicated through this display, even when the dashboard screen displays something else, a useful feature. The stalk-mounted cruise controls and the switches for the wipers and lights have a supple, expensive feel.

As with the A6 and A8, the Q7 combines controls for the stereo, navigation system and other functions into a screen-based system Audi calls the Multi-Media Interface (MMI). Designed to reduce the amount of buttons on the dashboard while adding even more features, MMI adds layers of complexity that require a considerable amount of time and practice to operate smoothly. That said, MMI is clearer in operation than BMW's iDrive system, a source of aggravation for many drivers, and provides dedicated menus for the climate, audio, phone and navigation systems, as well as relevant vehicle system information.

Stereo choices for the Q7 include an AM/FM/CD unit with eight speakers and an AM/FM/6CD unit with 14 Bose speakers. Both are ready for satellite radio, and Audi offers a choice of XM or Sirius. While most of the audio adjustment functions are incorporated into MMI, the controls used most often, such as the volume and seek functions, are adjusted with clearly labeled buttons and knobs mounted sensibly and attractively on the center console, just in front of the armrest. Also of note are available voice-activated controls.

The front bucket seats are superb: comfortable and supportive with power adjustment in most directions. Leather upholstery is standard on all models, while the V8 Premium array comes with upmarket Cricket leather. Leather also covers the three-spoke steering wheel, which also features redundant audio controls.

Dual-zone automatic climate controls are nothing new for this segment, but Audi made an effort to provide ventilation while reducing draftiness when the vehicle is being heated or cooled rapidly. Hence, the Q7 has an abundance of generously sized vents, including a diffused air vent at the base of the windshield in the front, as well as vents in the both the B-pillar and the rear of the center console for second-row occupants. One particularly upscale option is four-zone climate control (two zones in front and two zones for the second-row passengers), though its price is a bit upscale as well.

Four full-size adults can enjoy plenty of space in the five-seat array; the 60/40 split rear bench seat allows cargo/passenger flexibility while also allowing second-row passengers to slide rearward up to four inches for extra legroom. Second-row seatbacks are also designed to recline up to 10 degrees. The six-passenger configuration brings sport-inspired second-row bucket seats separated by a large console with storage and cupholders. The latter arrangement feels more upscale and makes the third row feel less confining, thanks to better forward vision.

Interior storage space is adequate, if not stellar. The glove box is tiny, but features a handy air duct that draws in air from the climate control system to help prevent the melting of one's lip balm (or lipstick) on hot days. Additional storage is found under the armrest and in pockets in the doors. The Q7 is available with up to six 12-volt power points, including one on the tailgate, as well as 10 cupholders, including molded bottle holders in each door.

Cargo space is on par with other luxury SUVs with three rows of seats, which is to say there's not much behind the 50/50 split third row. But thanks to the sliding second-row seats and flat-folding seat stowing, the Q7 makes the most of its available space. That said, hauling anything but groceries will likely require that at least one half of the third-row seat be stowed.

Loading cargo into the Q7 is facilitated by a wraparound tailgate that reveals a very wide aperture. A power tailgate is optional on 3.6 models, and standard on all Q7 4.2s. Particularly clever is the load assist feature that lowers the rear of the vehicle approximately three inches at the touch of a button in the cargo area (requires the Adaptive Air Suspension), handy when loading dogs as well as groceries. Numerous tie-down hooks and floor tracks are designed to fit accessory cargo securing devices available at the Audi dealership. Five-passenger models feature an additional storage compartment behind the rear seat.

One option that families will find particularly cool is the Open Sky System: a full-length, three-panel panoramic glass moonroof that brightens the interior significantly. About 5.5 feet in length, the system consists of three tinted glass panels spanning all seating areas. The front section slides back over the fixed second section for full exposure for front seat occupants; another glass panel over the third-row seat/cargo area tilts up for added ventilation. A power retractable sunshade helps keep heat down on hot days.

Driving ImpressionsAudi Q7 Review
On the road, the Audi Q7 behaves much like an Audi sedan or wagon. The fully independent suspension delivers a comfortable ride without sacrificing handling. Road imperfections are managed without being transferred into unbecoming jolts or booming sounds in the cabin. Even at high speeds, interior noise level is low enough for conversation to be held without raising one's voice. Not as pillowy as the Lexus GX 470 nor as stiff as the BMW X5 or Infiniti FX45, the Q7's ride hits the sweet spot many luxury SUV shoppers are looking for.

Power from the 280-hp 3.6-liter V6 is more than adequate for most drivers, with plenty on tap for quick, smooth acceleration in spite of its high curb weight of over 5200 pounds. The V6 emits a satisfying growl under full throttle but goes virtually silent when coasting or cruising. The throaty 350hp 4.2-liter V8 offers even more impressive acceleration numbers (0-60 in just 7.0 seconds, according to Audi), but ultimately is more powerful than all but the most aggressive drivers need.

All Q7s come with a six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission that shifts so smoothly it's almost imperceptible except during full-throttle acceleration. A Sport mode can be selected that provides faster shifts and automatically holds gears a bit longer for more responsive performance. If the driver wants to shift manually, the Tiptronic manual shift feature is selected by moving the shift lever to the right, then tapping it up or down as desired. The multi-information display in the instrument cluster clearly displays the selected gear.

The Q7's standard full-time quattro all-wheel drive system requires no driver input. Normally, power is delivered to the front and rear wheels in a 42/58 percent split in order to create a rear-wheel-drive sensation for confident dry-weather handling. When driving conditions become such that traction becomes compromised at, the torque split is automatically adjusted between the parameters of 65/35 to 15/85 percent, front-to-rear.

The electronic stability control, or ESP, manages any additional wheel slip by applying the brakes at the slipping wheel without interrupting power deliver to the wheels with grip. ESP helps maintain stability in corners by lightly applying the brakes to individual wheels when the vehicle's path doesn't match the driver's intentions. The Q7's ESP system is enhanced with an off-road mode that can be switched on to allow some slip for smooth power delivery on gravel roads. For steep, slippery grades, a downhill assist function automatically maintains a 12-mph speed by applying the brakes to individual wheels without driver input, allowing him or her to concentrate on steering.

Fuel economy for the 4.2 is surprisingly favorable at an estimated 17 miles per gallon city and 23 highway, thanks in part to waste-reducing advancements such as fuel stratified injection (FSI) and electronic throttle control (ETC). This compares well to competitors such as the Cadillac SRX V8 (15/20 mpg) and the Mercedes-Benz ML500 (15/19 mpg).

Towing capacity starts at 5500 pounds for all models. Tow capacity rises to 6600 pounds with the optional tow package, available on most Q7 models. The optional Adaptive Air suspension features a trailering mode that helps manage the unique physics of trailering. The Q7 also offers a separate Tow mode for the electronic stability control that is calibrated to counteract swaying motions that can become dangerous when pulling a trailer.

The power steering is speed-sensitive, reducing the amount of assistance as the Q7 accelerates to deliver more road feel at higher speeds. On-center feel is outstanding and with steering inputs met by quick response, thanks to just 2.66 turns from lock to lock. Steering isn't as heavy as that in the BMW X5, for example, but nor is it as light as that of the GMC Yukon.

Handling is superb. Both of the 4.2 models we drove featured the optional adaptive air suspension, featuring electronically controlled, air-filled shocks in place of traditional steel springs. The air suspension allows the driver to select one of three firmness settings, as well as raise the vehicle to a ground clearance of 8.5 inches for deep snow or off-road driving.

The Comfort setting allows the suspension to absorb more road impacts for a relatively smooth ride at all situations. The Automatic mode offers compliance during straight-line travel, but stiffens up during cornering for tauter handling. The Dynamic mode lowers the vehicle 0.6 inches to a ground clearance of 6.5 inches, which lowers the center of gravity and enhances aerodynamics. Generally, we found the Q7's ride to be acceptable though firm, even in the softest Comfort setting. That's typical of a German sedan. We preferred the Automatic setting during normal driving, as it offered the best ride/handling balance. The Dynamic setting was noticeably stiffer; rewarding during enthusiastic driving, but hard enough that most will switch back to Automatic or Comfort for around-town motoring.

We didn't get a chance to attempt any serious off-roading, but given its short overhangs, generous vertical wheel travel and aforementioned traction/stability-related technologies, the Q7 promises to be quite capable. We were very impressed by the off-road capability of the Volkswagen Touareg on some aggressive trails near Moab, Utah.

The Q7's four-wheel disc brakes feature ABS, electronic brake-force distribution and Brake Assist, all of which can help the driver maintain control after slamming on the brakes. Not surprisingly, the Q7's brakes proved to be terrific: responsive, with a firm yet communicative pedal. There was no hint of brake fade whatsoever on our spirited drives.

The optional Rearview Camera and Parking System incorporates a camera in the liftgate to provide a view behind the vehicle when backing up. The image is clearly projected on the MMI screen, with parking guide lines showing the path the vehicle would take given the steering wheel angle at the time. As the wheel turns, the guide lines change accordingly. We found this to be an extremely useful feature that would be valuable when backing up to a trailer. It's also a great safety feature, whether backing out of the driveway or out of a space in a crowded shopping center parking lot, because it helps spot people or objects that might be difficult to see from the driver's seat. Plus, it allows the driver to back within an inch of the vehicle behind, making parallel parking easier.

The optional Adaptive Cruise Control goes a step further than conventional cruise control systems by using radar to maintain a constant distance between the Q7 and the vehicle ahead, accelerating and braking as necessary, such as during rush hour. The Q7's system is unusual in its ability to bring the vehicle to a complete stop, and then accelerate again all the way to speeds up to 90 miles per hour without any driver input. The driver can even specify how aggressively the system will operate, from sporty to leisurely.

Audi Side Assist is a new option employing a radar sensor mounted in the rear bumper to monitor the presence of vehicles occupying or entering the Q7's blind spots. The presence of a vehicle traveling alongside the Q7 within the 16.5-foot range of the sensor will prompt subtle amber LEDs to illuminate in the corresponding outside mirror housing. If a turn signal is switched on, indicating a pending lane change, the LEDs become brighter and start to flash. The system is active at speeds above 35 mph and can be deactivated.

Summary & Specifications
The new Audi Q7 represent a winning combination of comfort, style and space. With Audi luxury made even more enjoyable by a taller roof and a more commanding view of the road ahead, the Q7 has an interior package that will be an excellent match for today's luxury SUV customer. [source :]


Get your need about automotive here Copyright © 2010 LKart Theme is Designed by Lasantha