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2013 Audi Q7 3.0 TDI Premium quattro Tiptronic Review By Steve Purdy

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2013 Audi Q7 3.0 TDI Premium quattro Tiptronic

By Steve Purdy
Michigan Bureau

Now, here’s a concept I can sink my teeth into – a large, luxurious, 7-passenger SUV with torquey diesel engine, all-wheel drive, German design and engineering. Those are the essentials of the Audi Q7 TDI Quattro. For around 70 grand we get tons of technology, eye-catching design, impressive performance and 25 mpg on the highway.

Regular readers will know I’m a fan of diesels, is spite of owning some of the worst of the genre back in the 70s and 80s – an Oldsmobile 88 diesel that lost it’s valve train at 45,000 miles and a VW Rabbit diesel that was so pokey it couldn’t get out of its own way. Both were slow, smoky and noisy, as were all diesels of the day. Modern technology has solved all those problems at less cost than might be expected.

The Q7 comes with either a 3.0-liter V6 turbo gasoline engine or this turbo-diesel. Our TDI “Clean Diesel” tester has urea injection as one of two catalyst systems in the sophisticated exhaust treatment system that also has two particulate filters. Engineers we encountered at the Society of Automotive Engineers show in Detroit insist that the air coming out of the exhaust pipe is cleaner than the air entering the intake. In fact, when working on the car inside a garage they needn’t even vent the exhaust. Now that’s clean!

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The TDI produces 225 horsepower and an amazing 406 pound-feet of torque mated to an efficient and smooth 8-speed automatic transmission with manual mode and electronic controls that adjust to conditions. That’s good for a 0-to-60-mph time of just about 8.5 seconds. Not bad for a 5,400-pound vehicle. The EPA rates this combination at 17-mpg in the city, 25 on the highway and 20-mpg combined. With a generous 26.4-gallon fuel tank we have a 600+mile cruising range, and a towing capacity of 6,600 pounds with the towing package, 5,500 pounds without.

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Teutonic design characterizes the Q7. Without a hint of garishness, this practical but elegant design would be at home in an art museum. Often the complexity of an automobile results in aesthetics that seem a bit incongruous. Not this, or any other, Audi. Smooth, functional lines flow around the car without gimmickry. Our Ibis White test car has a natural stance and profile that pleases the eye. The S-Line package, with which our tester is equipped, includes dark-pewter-colored wheels that appear nearly black giving an appearance of aggressive, macho performance. Dramatic use of LED accent lights front and rear stand out as well.

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Inside, Audi combines elegant simplicity with leading edge technology that we found easier to understand and manage than most. Audi was an early adopter of what I once thought of as superfluous technology. In the early days of adaptive cruise control and navigation systems, Audi systems didn’t seem so easy or intuitive. But, Audi has been at the forefront in making all these technologies easier to understand and manage. Now, I would rate them as among of the best.

The basic Q7 with gasoline engine starts at just under 47 grand. Our TDI starts at just over 51 grand, so the premium for the diesel is around 4 grand, but may include some standard features not included on the lesser model. On our test car we have a $12,500 Prestige Package that includes navigation system, adaptive LED lighting front and rear, power folding mirrors, Bose Premium Sound system, Audi parking system, 20-inch wheels, panoramic sunroof, side window shades, four-zone climate control, power tilt and telescopic steering wheel, and a variety of other features. We also have two separate “S-Line” packages, one includes 21-inch titanium wheels (does that mean we’re paying twice for wheels?) with summer performance tires and the other includes a variety of special trim elements. The bottom line on our sticker shows just over 70 grand. Considering the level of size, content and sophistication of the Q7, this price is not out of line.

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I experienced a problem fueling up this week, being unable to insert the nozzle into the filler neck. As it turned out the nozzle at the Sonoco station was not updated to the current version and it would not release the protective valve at the opening to the fuel neck. It was a bit disconcerting but I’m assured that it is an anomaly not likely to be a problem for diesel owners. I just went to a nearby Mobil station and that one worked just fine.

I found the entire driving experience this week to be gratifying and enjoyable notwithstanding the fueling niggle reported above. While it’s a large vehicle, the Q7 does not feel cumbersome or bulky. Rather, the handing, performance and ergonomics are exceptionally lithe, strong and convenient.

Based on the variety of upscale, competent vehicles I’ve reviewed lately I would give the Q7 very high marks in just about all categories. If you’re in that large, luxury SUV market you owe it to yourself to talk a good look at this one.

2013 Audi Q7 3.0 TDI Premium quattro Tiptronic Review

ęSteve Purdy, Shunpiker Productions, All Rights Reserved