The luxury SUV segment has existed for about 10 years now. It’s been a party for automakers and consumers alike. And just when there are signs that the good times are starting to slow down a bit, Audi shows up with its first SUV, the Q7. Considering the stakes, one would hope that Audi thought to bring more than just the equivalent of a bag of discount tortilla chips and some plastic cups.The design brief for the 2007 Audi Q7 is familiar. Like the Volkswagen Touareg and Porsche Cayenne — vehicles with which the Q7 shares some mechanical similarity — this is a crossover SUV, which means its underlying architecture is car-based for better on-road performance and comfort. It also has a V6 or V8 for power, can seat up to seven passengers and will no doubt look very shiny and prestigious in the company parking lot. Seen it all before, right? Well, sort of. Dig a bit deeper and you’ll find that the Audi Q7 does have some distinctive attributes and features that should make it worth your SUV shopping attention.Compared to its VW sibling, the Q7 is about the same width but rides on an extended wheelbase. Overall length is plus 13 inches in the Q7’s favor, and it’s been put to use to provide a third-row seat. Audi is offering the Q7 with a traditional suspension with steel springs and an optional air spring system with electronically controlled dampers. The Touareg can also be equipped with an air suspension, but the Q7 is tuned for better handling and steering response. Furthering the Q7’s distinctiveness is Audi signature styling, an advanced adaptive cruise control system, a blind-spot monitoring feature and a huge sunroof.Overall, the 2007 Audi Q7 is very extraordinary and we highly recommend it. Its collection of luxury features, its versatile interior and its agile handling make it ideal for family-oriented daily use and long-distance drives. It will also do fine for light off-roading, though anything more will be a challenge given the SUV’s lack of low-range gearing, meaty tires or a mechanical rear-differential lock. Consumers serious about off-road use would probably be better off with a Lexus GX 470. A truer competitor for the Q7 will be the all-new 2007 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, which also boasts an available third-row seat, V8 power and many similar features.
On-road performance is the Q7’s specialty. Hard on the throttle, the V8 engine emits a satisfying growl and revs cleanly to redline. Traction is always on hand thanks to the all-wheel-drive system. Acceleration is not particularly impressive, however, nor is fuel economy. Blame the vehicle’s 5,300-pound base curb weight. More likable is the handling on Q7s equipped with the adaptive air suspension. The driver can select from three main suspension modes. Placed in “Dynamic” mode, the car can be hustled easily on a curvy road.
Read our Audi Q7 Long-Term 20,000-Mile Test
The Audi Q7 is a luxury crossover SUV that can seat up to seven passengers (third row seating is standard on the V8, optional on the V6 model). For now, there are two styles available: base and Premium. Standard features include 18-inch wheels, adaptive bi-HID headlights, a power rear liftgate, automatic dual-zone climate control, Audi’s MMI control interface and a Bose sound system with an in-dash six-CD player. Leather upholstery, three rows of seating with a second-row bench, power front seats and a memory function for the driver seat are also included. The Premium adds 19-inch wheels, a navigation system, park assist with a rearview camera, a large three-panel sunroof, heated front and rear seats, second-row captains’ chairs, an additional rear air conditioning unit and satellite radio. An optional “S line” package adds sport seats, unique front and rear fascias and 21-inch alloys wearing performance tires. Most of the Premium features can also be ordered individually on the base Q7. Other standalone options include an air suspension system, 20-inch wheels and advanced adaptive cruise control.
The Audi Q7’s interior is notable for its high-quality construction and materials. Much of the dash layout is similar to that of the A6 sedan, and Audi’s Multi-Media Interface (MMI) is standard. The Q7 has three rows of seating and accommodates six or seven passengers, depending on what is specified for the second row. As with many vehicles of this type, the third-row seat is cramped and useful for children only. With the second and third rows folded flat, the Q7 can hold 88 cubic feet of cargo, which is more than what’s available from most five-passenger SUVs and competitive with other large luxury SUVs.
Standard safety equipment includes antilock brakes with brake assist, a stability control system with hill descent control and rollover detection, tire-pressure monitoring, side curtain airbags for all outboard passengers and front-seat side airbags. Seat-mounted side airbags for the second row are optional. Also optional is Audi’s Side Assist. This feature notifies the Q7’s driver when other motorists have entered the vehicle’s blind spots by lighting up yellow LEDs in the exterior mirror housings.
Underneath the hood is either a 3.6-liter V6 (280 horsepower, 266 pound-feet of torque) or 4.2-liter V8 (350 hp and 325 lb-ft). Both engines are equipped with the latest engine technologies, including direct fuel injection. A 6-speed transmission with manual-shift control is standard on both. All Q7s come with Audi’s quattro all-wheel-drive system. Although the power plants are certainly strong, the Q7’s considerable weight of 5,000-plus pounds blunts performance. Expect a 0-60 miles per hour time of about 8 seconds for the V8 and about 10 seconds for the V6. Properly equipped, the Q7 can haul 6,600 pounds.
Sport-oriented handling on models with the adjustable air suspension, advanced luxury and safety features, high-quality interior design and craftsmanship.
An extraordinary collection of premium features and a sharp interior design make the 2007 Audi Q7 a solid choice for those desiring a seven-passenger luxury SUV.