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2017 Audi Q7 2.0T quattro Tiptronic Review By Steve Purdy

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Review by Steve Purdy
The Auto Channel
Michigan Bureau

We can spend a lot of money on a full-size CUV, particularly if it is German. But, compare them closely with mainstream brands that move more upscale with every redesign, and you’ll see features and price gaps narrowing.

This week’s review vehicle is the second-generation Audi Q7, a high-tech, high-style, 7-passenger, German people hauler – just redesigned for 2017 on a new platform. With standard quattro (all-wheel drive) and a ton of options it shows a price tag just under 60 grand.

For generations Audi has achieved a remarkable balance between forward-looking and traditional design. Pretty hard to do both, you say? Well, Audi does it well, I contend. The designers continue to emphasize gentle, graceful curves with proportions and details that can be sporty, muscular or elegant depending on that vehicle’s market segment. The Q7 is on the muscular end of that scale and perhaps the most conservative in detail than anything in the Audi lineup.

Impeccable interior design and quality confirms this to be a premium crossover. First quality leather, wood, metal and plastic parts fit perfectly in spite of a great deal of complexity. The multi-purpose, 7-inch screen emerges upward out of the dash and is controlled with a knob on the console. That allows for a lower dash and negates the need to reach to touch the screen. Audi has come a long way in making the driver/car interface simpler and more intuitive but it will still require a considerable learning curve for new owners. That includes the electric shifter as well.

Interior volume comes in at about the same as other three-row crossovers. Front seats are generous, comfortable and firm. Even at higher speeds on bad roads it is remarkably quiet inside. Third row seat backs fold with the push of a button and second row tumbles and folds in a 35/30/35 configuration. Cargo volume is a modest 14.8 cubic-feet with all seatbacks in position, 37.5 with third row folded and 71.6 with 2nd and third row seatbacks down. Those numbers are about average compared to premium and mainstream competitors.

We had to check and double check the powertrain details to be sure this really is a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder motivating this 4,700-pound, full-size crossover. That weight is less than most full-size crossovers because of the liberal use of aluminum and high-strength steel in the under-structure and some aluminum body panels. With direct injection and a turbo, along with all the other modern engine technology, this diminutive four makes a good 252 horsepower and impressive 275 pound-feet of torque. A high-tech 8-speed automatic transmission helps achieve substantial efficiency and enhance performance. Fuel economy is listed at 20 mpg in the city, 25 on the highway and 22 combined using recommended premium fuel. The 22-gallon fuel tank will get you a good cruising range over 400 miles. By the way, the other engine for the Q7 is a supercharged V6 making 333 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. It adds but a click or two to the mpg numbers.

Towing capacity is listed at an impressive 7,700 pounds. You can tow a good-sized trailer with that.

Price for the Q7 2.0t with Quattro starts at 49 grand even. The list of standard features include: xenon headlights; LED taillights and running lights; self-locking differential with the Quattro all-wheel drive; a full seven driver-selectable driving modes; two-panel panoramic sunroof; three-zone automatic HVAC; leather seats, trim and steering wheel; a full slate of safety and driver assistance features; 18-inch wheels; and plenty more. Our test car has the $4,000 Premium Plus Package, $2,000 Vision Package and a bunch of other options bringing it up to the $58,725 bottom line hinted at above.

The unconventional suspension design and tuning on the Q7’s makes for a remarkably solid, sophisticated and under-control feel on the road. The five-link design front and rear with steel springs accomplishes a perfect balance between firmness and comfort. While our experience this week did not include rain, snow or sleet, I can attest to the quattro’s competence in managing all these conditions. In fact, a few years ago I took one from our home base in mid-Michigan to Chicago along I-94 in freezing slush. Everything from big trucks to small cars were in the ditch but we just soldiered on at decent speeds with the quatto system keeping us well out of trouble.

Audi’s warranty covers the whole Q7, including powertrain, for 4 years or 50,000 miles.

Driving dynamics are just what you might expect from a premium German contender; that is, quick, agile and luxurious. It suffers not from size, small displacement or even price. I will confidently predict that if all my colleagues and discerning enthusiasts were polled, the Q7 would come in the top 5 for three-row crossovers.

The Q7 is faced with stiff competition in its segment: Volvo XC90, Porsche Cayenne, Mercedes-Benz GLS, and a bunch more, even in the higher end of mainstream, 3-row crossovers. But, if you’re in this market, you’ll certainly want it on your list.

© Steve Purdy, Shunpiker Productions, All Rights Reserved

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