2017 Audi Q7: Prestigious Seven-Seater is All-New

By Sue Mead, February 13th, 2016

I enjoy surprises, and the all-new 2017 Audi Q7 offered many. The luxury-level SUV holds seven, but the svelte exterior package it rides on belies its interior roominess.

The Q7 weighs nearly 5,000 pounds, however its new lightweight chassis, supercharged engine, and highly regarded Quattro all-wheel drive give it the agility of a smaller sport SUV. And, despite the striking revisions to its exterior and interior, the latest in high-tech infotainment, connectivity, and updated safety systems, the new model is competitively priced.

When the Q7 was launched in 2005, it was Audi's first entry into the luxury crossover utility vehicle marketplace; its second generation is on sale in early 2016 as the centerpiece of Audi's three-vehicle stable of luxury SUVs, positioned above the compact Q3 and midsize Q5. It is available in three trim levels: Premium, starting at $54,000; Premium Plus, starting at $58,000; and Prestige, starting at $64,300 (not including $950 in destination charges). The Q7 competes with the BMW X5, Mercedes Benz GLE, Volvo XC90, and Porsche Cayenne and VW Touareg.

Every surface has been remodeled to give the Q7 a more distinctive presence on the road. A sculpted body and a new design give it a taut, leaner appearance, while horizontal lines make it look wider. There's more to its toned appearance than meets the eye, however; the sport ute is 475 pounds lighter than the outgoing model, thanks to the use of new lightweight materials in the body and chassis. Highlights start with a new single-frame grille, xenon headlights and LED taillights (or available full LED front and rear lighting), and a standard large two-panel panoramic sunroof. Wide wheel arches make a statement at the side, while the rear is accented by trapezoidal exhaust pipes and a skid-plate design trim that add a beefy look. A new power hands-free tailgate with programmable opening-height adjustment is standard on Premium Plus and Prestige trim levels.

The interior was designed to make riders feel like they are in the open air. You'll find more comfort, as well as increased interior space with more head, leg, and shoulder room in the second and third rows; standard power 50/50 split-folding third-row seats, with electric fold and return functions; and standard three-zone (and optional four-zone) automatic climate controls. A luxury package brings fine leather and seats with heat, ventilation, and massage.

From behind the three-spoke multifunction steering wheel and wraparound double-inlay dashboard, you can also enjoy a 7-inch TFT color information display and 7-inch color center infotainment display, and Audi's MMI "all-in-touch" multimedia connectivity system.

Under the hood is a 333-horsepower, 3.0-liter V-6 engine that gets 325 lb.-ft. of torque; it's mated to an eight-speed Tiptronic transmission with Audi's quattro permanent all-wheel-drive system for increased maneuverability at low speeds, and more precise steering at higher speeds; Audi says this supercharged engine can accelerate the Q7 from zero to 60 mph in as little as 5.7 seconds. Equipped with the tow package, the Q7 can tow up to 7,700 pounds.

We drove the Prestige-trimmed Q7 in the upscale wine country and winding coastal roads of northern California over a course of 250 miles -- an ideal location to highlight the updated model's premium attributes and luxury styling, as well as its more precise and proficient motoring capabilities.

It was outfitted with attractive 21-inch wheels and the dynamic air suspension, which is a must-have for enthusiasts and buyers seeking a more compliant ride.

strong>Most notable: this seven-seater tops the scales at a few pounds shy of two and a half tons, yet drives like a much smaller vehicle. Impressive is precise steering, good brakes, and the responsive throttle and transmission, especially when driven with paddles or sport shifting.

We also liked Audi's drive select that enabled us to adjust the characteristics of the engine, transmission, steering, shock absorbers, and the sport differential within Comfort, Auto, Dynamic, Offroad, and Individual settings -- for handling characteristics ranging from outstandingly comfortable to intensely sporty.

Audi sets the bar high with its technology and driver assistance systems that include standard Audi pre sense city, which detects cornering and stationary vehicles and pedestrians at speeds up to 52 mph and initiates full braking when a potential collision is detected; opting for pre sense plus as part of the Driver Assistance package supplements the pre sense city with a collision warning and emergency braking at speeds even above 100 mph. In case of an impending accident, Audi pre sense basic sets up the car for impact by closing the side windows and sunroof, pretensioning the seatbelts, and prepping the brakes for quicker response.

Specifications

Base price $64,300 (as tested: $65,250)
Curb weight 4,938 lbs.
Displacement 3.0-liter
Engine type Supercharger turbocharger TFSI V-6
Epa mileage rating 19 mpg city, 25 mpg highway
Fuel capacity 22.5 gal.
Horsepower (net) 333 at 5500 rpm
Overall length 199.6 in.
Torque (lb.-ft.) 325 at 2900 rpm
Transmission 8-speed
Vehicle type 7-passenger full-size AWD CUV
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