2011 AUDI Q7 REVIEW
The Seven Up
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Sat, Oct 1, 2011
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
Audi’s got more than one 7 model. One is long, low and wide—and it’s called the A7. An even lower one may be in the works. It’ll be called the S7. Then there’s the tall one—the Q7. Based on the platform that brings you both the Porsche Cayenne and Volkswagen Touareg, the Audi Q7 is fitted with the company’s esteemed supercharged V6. John-Fredrik Wright reports on the tall 7. By John-Fredrik Wright Audi is great at setting standards, introducing innovative new features that can make the drive more enjoyable and safer. Large luxury sedans such as the A8 and the A6, together with the hard-to-categorize A7 and the smaller A4, make up an impressive sedan line-up. For those who have lifestyles that demand more space in their daily ride, say for dogs, kids, or toys, the options become a little more limited. Unfortunately, Audi decided not to sell the 2012 A6 Avant (station wagon in Audi-speak) in the American market – a favorite of mine in the European market. The A4 Avant (which is sold here) might feel a little small for the modern family. That leaves two Audi-options, (or Auptions)—namely, the Q5 and the Q7. The Q7 being the larger of the two, is the largest SUV that Audi manufactures.
So, for the family with hauling needs, or the individual with lots of toys, the Q7 stands out . I am a little disappointed with the interior roominess however. Sure, there’s ample space for the two first rows of seats (seating for five), it’s when you get further back (the third row) where it starts to get awkwardly cramped. Looking at the Q7 from the outside, it looks as if it should be able to swallow a whole bunch of stuff. Yet, opening the trunk, or the storage compartment since this technically isn’t a “trunk”, you realize that, while this car is large, a lot of space magically disappears. If you compare the rear end of the Q7 to other large SUVs, the others’ tailgate usually goes from the roof of the car to the top of a bumper that is more vertically thin compared to the Q7. Since the rear bumper of the Q7 is so large, especially vertically, and the storage compartment offers no more height than the opening, the Q7 loses a lot of its hauling capabilities due to this loss of vertical space. With that said, I have to admit that this issue is the only somewhat negative (emphasis on the word “somewhat”) aspect of the Q7. Now let’s move on to more fun features. Driving the Q7, you can really feel the Audi-ness come through. It flows forward just like you would expect a luxury vehicle to, without the interior noise that many other large vehicles might subject occupants to. The driver and front seat passenger enjoy easy reach to the MMI system controls, located between the two seats rather than up on the dash. The driver can use the system without having to reach forward, making it even easier to keep at least one eye on the road up ahead. The fact that the navigation system can be used even while the car is in motion is highly appreciated.
Driving a large SUV is always a different experience in relation to the feel of driving more asphalt-close sedans. Many SUVs exhibit a tendency to lean from side to side during rough cornering or swerving. The Audi Q7 has very little of this, and even while braking during turns – a time when this lean often can be felt – the Q7 handles steadily and keeps the driver in control and confident. The supercharged V6 (yeah, no hefty V8 needed here) can keep up with most other SUVs with larger engines. It’s a sleeker way to propel a large vehicle, with better gas mileage without sacrificing so much of the performance. The quick response of the engine, coupled with the quick transmission, really gave a convincing feeling, and since there was not much rolling around, even at higher speeds, this is a fairly easy SUV to maneuver. Moreover, the Q7 also does well in tighter spaces. The driver can easily see (ok, easily given that it is an SUV) where the car is and what objects lay in its path. To assist with this, the back-up camera is of course a great feature.
The 2011 Audi Q7 delivers what is expected from an Audi in the SUV market. Supreme styling – the front of this behemoth looks both aggressive and stylish – throughout, a driving experience that comes close to a large sedan, and the comfort and convenience we have come to expect from the masters of luxury. On the whole, it delivers an impressive driving experience. I would, however, love to see the V12 TDI brought to the US market, why do the Europeans get to have all the fun? For more information on Audi products, go to www.audiusa.com
SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2011 Audi Q7 3.0T S line Quattro Tiptronic Price: $58,900 (base) $60,275 (as tested with Cold Weather Package) EPA fuel economy rating: 16 mpg (city) 22 mpg (highway) Engine size and type: 3.0 liter supercharged, DOHC V6 gasoline engine with FSI® direct injection and variable intake manifold Horsepower: 333 hp @ 5500 RPM Torque: 325 lb-ft. @ 2900 RPM Transmission type: Eight-speed Tiptronic® automatic transmission Drive configuration: quattro all-wheel drive Steering (type): Vehicle speed-sensitive power rack and pinion, maintenance-free Suspension (front and rear): Front: Double-wishbone independent steel spring suspension Rear: Four-link independent steel spring suspension Brakes and tires: Dual-circuit brake system with diagonal split, Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brake pressure Distribution (EBD) and Electronic Stability Control (ESC); brake booster 275/45 all-season tires Dimensions: Length: 200.3 in Width: 85.7 in Height: 68.4 in Curb weight: 5,291 lbs