Even Audi was not immune to the 21st century big luxury SUV craze, as their first full–sized vessel, the Q7, arrived for ‘07. Well, that was then and this is now, and the Q7 didn’t change much along the way. But, now it’s gather around a second generation Q7. So, let’s see what Audi has learned about coddling your masses.
Let the record show that the 2017 Audi Q7 is quite possibly one of the most technologically intensive vehicles to ever set rubber on our shores. It feels like driving the future; mostly in a good way.
That feel mostly comes from the multitude of autonomous safety features that aim to keep you safe at all costs, sometimes to your detriment. Driving briskly on back roads will require occasional fighting with lane keep; but fortunately most driver aids can be switched off. Automatic braking is included as well, and it worked perfectly every time in our barrier test.
This new-gen Q7 comes with an updated 3.0-liter supercharged V6, now outputting 333-horsepower and 325 lb-ft. of torque.
It connects with an 8-speed automatic transmission to deliver 7,700-lbs. of towing capacity. That’s over 1,000-lbs. more than previously. But, there’s no firm timetable as to when a TDI diesel will return to the U.S. lineup.
The Q7 is certainly up for any kind of road conditions you subject it to, as standard quattro all-wheel-drive constantly and smoothly distributes power wherever it will do the most good.
The front end is easily recognizable as a modern Audi, but the overall jacked-up wagon profile carries over from before.
7-passenger seating is standard, with the 2nd row pleasantly roomy; but 3rd row space is still more adequate for kids or short distances.
Everything is highly configurable of course, to prioritize seat or cargo space. There’s 14.8 cubic-ft. of room behind the power-folding 3rd row, expanding to 37.5 behind the 2nd row, and maxing out at 71.6 with all seats folded.
The care taken to address elements like the covers for the LATCH system, speak to the level of detail Audi brings to this segment.
Front seats are beyond comfortable, and the surrounding environment is everything we’ve come to love and now expect from Audi.
Selecting Prestige trim or adding the Vision package to lesser trims, will get you Audi’s virtual cockpit with the ability to bring any important information, including navigation maps, up full in the gauge cluster. Which means you can tuck the central screen away for the most part, keep your eyes forward, and control everything right from the steering wheel.
We weren’t sure there was even a need for 1,920-watts of sound or 23-speakers in a vehicle, but after experiencing it, we’re now wondering how we ever existed without it.
Depending on your monthly payment, you’ll either have traditional 5-link fully independent suspension or the upgraded adaptive air system.
Regardless, the ride is very smooth and compliant, with good steering weight and body posture through corners. With about 250-lbs less weight to toss around, this is easily one of the more entertaining options in the luxury ute segment right now, almost sports sedan nimble.
The biggest benefit of the air setup is you can pump up some more ground clearance for off road excursions.
Our excursions were more pavement focused, including a brisk romp to 60 in 5.9-seconds. It’s plenty torquey off the line, and quattro ensures a slip-free take off.
Shifts are quick and abrupt in a good way; gears are well-spaced, as there was never any huge drop offs in power as we made our way to a ¼-mile time of 14.4-seconds at 100 miles-per-hour.
On our cone course we did find the very quick steering took some time to get used to. There was some mild understeer to deal with as well, but very minimal body roll. But, after a few turns, we were delighted to fine that the Q7 responded better the harder we pushed it. Something we don’t often say about SUVs.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 19-City, 25-Highway, and 21-Combined. Our average was a barely acceptable 20.0 miles-per-gallon of Premium.
Base pricing, while high, is par for the segment at $55,750.
The 2017 Audi Q7 makes a great case for being the definitive family luxury vehicle. It’s made for taking long trips in extreme comfort; while keeping you safe and connected with the ultimate in current dependable technology. A new benchmark has indeed arrived in the luxury 3-row crossover segment.
Engine: 3.0 liter V6
Torque: 325 lb-ft.
Transmission: 8 spd. automatic
0-60 mph: 5.9 seconds
1/4 mile: 14.4 seconds @ 100 mph
EPA: 19 mpg city/ 25 mpg highway