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2011 Audi Q7 3.0T quattro Tiptronic Review and Roadtest

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2011 Audi Q7

COMPARE: 2011 Audi Q7 Trim Level(3) Specs, Prices and Options - Audi Buyers Guide
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SPECIFICATIONS: 2011 Audi Q7 3.0T quattro Tiptronic

Model: 2011 Audi Q7 3.0T quattro Tiptronic
Engine: 3.0-liter supercharged V6
Horsepower/Torque: 272 hp @ 4,750 rpm/295 lb.-ft. @ 2,200 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic with Tiptronic
Wheelbase: 118.2 in.
Length/Width/Height: 200.3 x 85.7 x 68.4 in.
Tires: P255/55R18
Cargo volume: 10.9/42.0/72.5 cu. ft. (3rd row seats up/3rd row seats down/2nd row seats down)
Fuel economy: 16 mpg city/22 mpg highway/18.8 mpg test
Fuel capacity: 26.4 gal.
Curb weight: 5,192 lbs.
Sticker: $53,075 (includes $875 destination charge, $6,500 in options)

Five Top Reasons to Buy This Car

1. Excellent power for its size
2. Roomy
3. Excellent handling for its size
4. Good road manners
5. Features

The Bottom Line: Audi, which had a great reputation as a small-car builder, is fully into full-sized SUVs with the Q7. This large vehicle has capability to go along with good looks, power and handling.

I have to confess to being taken aback when I first encountered the Audi Q7. Oh, I had driven the Q7 before, in one of its earlier iterations, but I guess I forgot its size. The Q7 compares quite favorably with a Chevy Tahoe, for example.

Along with its size, the Q7 has tremendous capability. It has three rows of seats for people carrying, and when we had to care for three grandchildren, rather than the usual two, we appreciated the extra row.

Conveniently, there's good cargo capacity behind all rows. With all the seats up, there are 10.9 cubic feet. Drop down the third row of seats and the cargo capacity explodes to 42.0 cubic feet. Get serious about cargo capacity and drop the second row seats and you have 72.5 cubic feet for cargo. My wife and daughters in their heyday would have trouble filling all that up.

Under the hood is a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 that delivers a healthy 272 horsepower. The Q7 weighs 5,172 pounds, so it needs all that power. However, with the weight, I never felt a need for more. Power reaches the wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic, which is the German way of saying manual capability. With quattro all-wheel drive, there's a temptation to go off-roading, and the manual side of the transmission is a help.

Our Q7 had an "Orca black metallic" exterior and "Espresso Brown" interior. My wife wasn't thrilled with the color combination, but we have run across it several times recently and it appears to be the new trend. I, for one, liked it.

The front seats are comfortable, which may account for the Q7's good road manners. The second row seats have excellent knee and leg room. There's a huge sunroof that provides an open-air feel for the front and second row seats. Only the front glass opens, though. You can open the screen, but Audi isn't liable for bug bites.

As with many large cars, there's a rear camera display that powers up when you shift into reverse. Audi's take on the technology is to show where the Q7 will go when you turn the wheel. The curvy lines are accurate. I tested it once with an Audi engineer who didn't flinch when I came within a foot of taking off his foot. In normal situations it's handy for judging accurately if the Q7 will fit into that parking space.

Instrumentation is excellent with a very good display between the tachometer and speedometer that has everything you could need in one place. We had it set to show, from the top, the station we were listening to, a digital speedometer, fuel economy, gear selected and outside temperature.

The Q7 isn't inexpensive, but it has a lot to offer, not the least of which is Audi technology and performance. There are several similarly sized SUVs on the market and the Q7's $53,000 sticker isn't out of the ordinary.

2011 The Auto Page