Audi Q7 Review
The Audi Q7's purposeful acceleration, agile handling abilities and sharp styling make it a standout in the three-row luxury crossover class. You may not expect it from a premium German brand, but the Q7 offers solid value by keeping the price competitive and demonstrating the quality and understated opulence buyers have come to expect from the luxury automaker. Craftsmanship is first-rate throughout the interior and a wide array of sophisticated luxury and safety features are available.
The current Q7 is impressive from the moment you open the door and step into the richly appointed cabin. The horizontal dashboard layout is sleek and modern, and everything you touch feels substantial and expensive. It represents an incredible improvement over the previous, first-generation Q7. That crossover was hugely impressive when it first debuted, but a lack of upgrades over its lengthy lifespan meant it was consistently outclassed by updated rivals. Its hefty weight also didn't do much for handling abilities (current generation Q7s are hundreds of pounds lighter than their previous-gen counterparts).
Current Audi Q7
Redesigned for the 2017 model year, the current-generation Audi Q7's unique exterior design, luxurious cabin appointments and superlative performance will rouse even the most ardent Mercedes-Benz or BMW enthusiast. A new turbocharged four-cylinder base engine is a more cost-effective option than the supercharged V6 carried over from the previous model. Weight is reduced significantly across the board, resulting in a Q7 that not only handles better but also enjoys healthy gains in fuel economy. Improved materials quality and striking new features such as the Virtual Cockpit digital instrument panel and semiautonomous driving technology round out the headlining changes.
The standard engine on Premium and Premium Plus models is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 252 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. Optional for those trims and standard on the Prestige is a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 with 333 hp and 325 lb-ft on tap. Fuel economy estimates are virtually a dead heat between the two; on our 115-mile test loop, the V6 was actually a bit more frugal. You'll save quite a bit by selecting the four-cylinder — the V6 is thousands more expensive — but the cost is offset by the V6's increased performance. Even though it bumps the price tag substantially, we think the V6 is the one to get, as the four-cylinder doesn't offer the acceleration expected at this price point.
When we took the Q7 out on the road, we were immediately impressed by its exceptional ride comfort, aided in part by the optional adaptive air suspension. When put into Dynamic mode, the steering and dampers firm up to deliver an engaging driving experience. In the corners, the Q7's fantastic handling makes it feel like a much smaller vehicle. This tight feeling is evident even at lower speeds. Overall, we're pleased with the level of dynamic competence that Audi has achieved with the second-generation Q7.
Used Audi Q7 Models
The first-generation Audi Q7 was produced from 2007 to 2015. There was no 2016 model. Audi's largest SUV bucked trends with a car-based unibody construction at a time when many of its American and Japanese rivals relied on a trucklike body-on-frame architecture. In doing so, towing and off-road abilities were traded for a serene ride and comparatively sprightly corner-carving skills. Its interior was another high point, with appropriately luxurious materials and solid construction. The Mercedes-Benz GL and BMW's second-generation X5 launched the same year; both cabins looked a little behind the times compared to the futuristic Q7.
When it was introduced, the Q7 offered the choice between a 3.6-liter V6 with 280 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque or a 4.2-liter V8 with 350 hp and 325 lb-ft. Both came with Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive system and a six-speed automatic transmission. A turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 diesel debuted with 225 hp and 406 lb-ft (increased to 240 hp in 2013). It offered similar outright performance as the V6 but vastly improved fuel economy. In 2011, the gasoline engines were replaced by a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 with two levels of output. The 3.0T produced 272 hp and 295 lb-ft (boosted to 280 hp in 2012), while the more robust 3.0T S line boasted 333 hp and 325 lb-ft. All engines now utilized an eight-speed automatic.
The 2007 Audi Q7 was sold in two trims: base and Premium, although features differed depending on which engine you specified. The V6 base model was equipped with dual-zone automatic climate control, a CD player, the MMI infotainment interface, a power driver seat and a 40/20/40-split second row. The V6 Premium and V8 base offered similar features, including adaptive xenon headlights, a power passenger seat, leather upholstery, an upgraded MMI system and a Bose audio system with a six-disc CD player. Optional on the V6 Premium and standard on the V8 base was a third row with two seats. Upgrading to the V8 Premium added a panoramic sunroof, a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, a navigation system, four-zone climate control, premium leather, satellite radio and second-row captain's chairs. Available options included an adaptive air suspension, keyless entry and ignition, adaptive cruise control and a blind-spot monitor.
In reviews of the time, we noted the Q7's optional adjustable air suspension helped it navigate bumps and ruts with panache, and Audi's all-wheel-drive system kept the wheels firmly glued to the road. The SUV's hefty weight hurt acceleration and fuel efficiency. On the inside, the cabin managed to be both high-tech and warm at the same time. There's lots of burled wood on display, and come nighttime, the gauges lit up with a pleasing red glow. Its luxury status was cemented by class-leading construction and first-rate materials quality. The navigation, climate control and audio systems were all accessed via Audi's Multi Media Interface (MMI). It wasn't the most intuitive interface we'd ever experienced, but once you learned all the ins and outs, it was fairly easy to use. Third-row seating was strictly for the kids, making rivals from Mercedes-Benz and Infiniti more family-friendly. Both the second and third rows of the Q7 folded flat to swallow 71.9 cubic feet of cargo, which was below that of most other competing large luxury crossovers.
The first-generation Q7 received several notable updates over its nine-year lifespan. The V8 base trim was dropped in '08, while '09 saw a complete renaming of the trim lineup. It consisted of base (V6), Premium (V6 and diesel), Premium Plus (V6 and diesel) and Prestige (V6, diesel and V8) levels. The V6 base was dropped in '10, coinciding with a refresh that included revised front and rear fascias, new headlights and taillights, and an updated MMI system. There were also minor feature additions to trims throughout the Q7's life cycle.
Read the most recent 2018 Audi Q7 review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Audi Q7 page.
For more on past Audi Q7 models, view our Audi Q7 history page.