New for the latest model year, the second-generation Q7 is the biggest member of Audi's crossover lineup. It offers seating for seven passengers, a high-tech cabin, and Audi's quattro all-wheel drive system.
Despite its oversized dimensions, the big crossover avoids looking like a box thanks to sleek styling elements such as a tapering roof line and character lines running along the base of the doors. A huge rendition of Audi's trademark singleframe grille adorns the front fascia, and LED daytime running lights provide a bit of illuminated bling.
In typical Audi fashion, the cabin is comprised of attractive and high-quality materials. Moving the infotainment screen to the top of the dashboard gives the cockpit a modern, uncluttered look that helps set the Q7 apart from many other seven-seaters on the market.
The exterior styling fools the eye into making the vehicle seem smaller than it is but the interior, in reality, is smaller than one might expect. While the first two rows are spacious and comfortable, the third-row seats are best suited to children, and 14.8 cubic feet of cargo space is available with all seats in the upright position. Fold the rearmost seats and a more sizable 37.5 cubic feet are available, while folding the second row seats as well unlocks a total of 71.6 cubes.
Buyers can pay extra to replace the standard instrument cluster with Audi's futuristic Virtual Cockpit, which is a 12.3-inch high-resolution screen located behind the steering wheel. The driver can configure the screen to display a host of information including pair of gauges, a map, vital information about the SUV and its surroundings.
The Q7 is offered with the latest version of Audi's MMI infotainment interface, which groups the SUV's connectivity, entertainment, navigation (if equipped), and climate control features into a color screen mounted on top of the dashboard.
Also available is Audi Connect, which turns the crossover into a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot and includes access to Google Earth - complete with panoramic views and high-resolution 3D satellite and aerial imagery.
Buyers looking for even more convenience features can order Connect prime, a software that includes smartphone integration with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay (features not available on the base trim), a vehicle status report feature, online roadside assistance, and automatic crash notifications. Additionally, Connect prime lets the driver set curfew, speed, and valet alerts, as well as remotely lock and unlock the crossover.
The Q7 is only offered with a single gasoline-burning engine. A diesel-powered mill was scheduled to join the lineup, but its arrival has been delayed indefinitely in the wake of the Dieselgate scandal.
Power for the Q7 comes from a 3.0-liter TFSI V6 engine that generates 333 horsepower from 5,500 to 6,500 rpm and 325 lb-ft. of torque from 2,900 to 5,300 rpm. Bolted to an eight-speed automatic transmission, the six-cylinder sends the nearly 5,000-pound SUV from zero to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds and on to a top speed that's electronically limited at 130 mph.
Audi's drive select technology lets the driver choose from one of five driving modes called Comfort, Auto, Dynamic, Offroad, and Individual.
Shift paddles and Audi's quattro all-wheel drive system comes standard. The Q7 can tow up to 7,700 pounds when it's equipped with the optional towing package.
Trim Level Breakdown
The Q7 is available in Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige trim levels.
Premium models ship with three-zone climate control, a three-spoke multi-function steering wheel, a manually-adjustable steering column, a panoramic sunroof, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, 10 cup holders, LED ambient lighting, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a ten-speaker sound system, cruise control, a HomeLink transceiver, a keyless ignition, Bluetooth connectivity, a rear-view camera, parking sensors on both ends, automatic headlights and wipers, rear fog lights, and a power tailgate.
Premium Plus trims gain a voice-controlled navigation system, Audi's handwriting recognition technology, smartphone integration with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, keyless entry and a hands-free tailgate release.
Finally, Prestige models include four-zone climate control, additional LEDs in the cabin, ventilated front seats, a 19-speaker sound system, the aforementioned Virtual Cockpit, a top-view camera, a blind spot detection system with rear cross traffic alert, Audi's pre sense technology, a heads-up display, and LED headlights.
Dual front, side and side-curtain airbags are fitted as standard, as are traction and stability control systems. ABS, ESC, and EBD-enhanced four-wheel ventilated disc brakes are also standard.
Rivals to the Q7 in the seven-passenger premium crossover segment include the elegant Volvo XC90, the rugged Land Rover LR4, and the luxurious Mercedes-Benz GLS. Unlike the Q7, the GLS is available with a turbodiesel engine.