For the lazy automotive writer, it would be tempting to label the 2007 Audi Q7 as another "me, too!" luxury SUV, plug in a clichéd "Q Ship" headline and retire to the local bar for 5 o'clock happy-hour wings.
After all, Audi is pretty much the last luxury automaker to offer an SUV (Jaguar is now the lone holdout), and the Q7 is built at the same facility that produces the Porsche Cayenne and Volkswagen Touareg. But Audi officials are quick to point out that the Q7 shares only a small percentage of its parts with its relatives.
Audi's engineers and designers also strived to make the Q7 distinct and provide it with some truly innovative features. In regards to nomenclature, "Q" has been designated for all future Audi SUV-related products and "7" refers to the SUV's approximate positioning between the A6 and A8 sedans.
Another crossover The Q7 is what we would describe as a crossover SUV, with a unibody structure for stiffness and crashworthiness. Compared to the Touareg, the Q7 is about the same width but rides on an extended wheelbase and is 13 inches longer. And as is typically the case with SUVs, the growth spurt has been utilized to provide room for an optional third-row seat.
Its suspension is fully independent and features a double-wishbone design at every corner. Up front, the wishbones are made from aluminum to reduce unsprung weight. Audi is offering the Q7 with a traditional steel spring setup or an optional air spring system with electronically controlled dampers.
Between the two, the air suspension is the one to get all geeked up over. The driver can select different modes for specialized on-road or off-road performance. At high speeds, the system lowers the Q7's ride height to reduce its center of gravity and aerodynamic drag. Off-road, the ride height elevates to improve body clearance.
In addition, damper operation is tied into the different modes, and body roll is actively monitored and minimized during cornering through the control of damping force. Compared to an air suspension-equipped Touareg, the Q7 is more on-road-oriented and trades some maximum ground clearance for better handling dynamics.
In terms of handling, the air suspension-equipped and V8-powered Q7 we drove was surprisingly competent given its weight. On curvy roads, the SUV was secure and exhibited minimal body motions. In fact, we had a niggling feeling that a few drivers might find the Q7's ride quality to be a bit too sporty for normal driving.
We also took the Q7 on a dirt road. The road, alas, was a bit of a disappointment, as it provided the opportunity to kick up huge clouds of dust and do World Rally Championship navigator imitations but not much in the way of testing ground clearance. Then again, we don't expect Q7 owners to do much more off-roading than this, as the Q7 is not meant to be a serious boulder-bashing machine.
RS4-related V8 and plenty of features To get the Q7's not-so-insubstantial weight of 2.5 tons moving, there are two engines available. The larger of the two, and the one that will be in all North American Q7s to start out with, is a new 4.2-liter V8. Related to the engine in the RS4 high-performance sedan, it features direct fuel injection, a new two-stage variable intake manifold and modifications to improve lubrication during off-road situations. Audi rates it at 350 horsepower at 6,800 rpm and a maximum of 325 pound-feet of torque at 3,500 rpm.
As a reduced-cost alternative, a 3.6-liter V6 will become available in the second half of 2006. It's the same engine used in the 2006 Touareg and is rated at 280 hp at 6,200 rpm and 265 lb-ft of torque from 2,500 rpm to 5,000 rpm.
For both engines, power is channeled through a six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission to all four wheels. In this particular application of Audi's quattro system, the normal front-to-rear torque split is 42-to-58.
Acceleration is on par for a luxury crossover SUV. Official 0-to-62-mph acceleration times are 7 seconds for the V8 Q7 and 8.2 seconds for the V6. For comparison, Mercedes-Benz lists a 0-to-60-mph time of 6.7 seconds for the 2006 ML500. The last BMW X5 4.4i we tested hit 60 mph in 7.1 seconds. Audi also says the Q7 can tow 6,600 pounds when properly equipped, which is considerably more than the 3,500-pound limit for the Cadillac SRX and Infiniti FX45.
Carlike interior On the inside, the Q7's dash layout is similar to the one in the A6. Audi's Multi-Media Interface (MMI), which features a console-mounted controller that allows the driver to adjust and select many of the car's features, is standard. MMI options are viewed on both the center stack's main screen and on the smaller screen in the gauge cluster. And as is the case with all modern Audis, the quality of the interior materials and detailing is extremely high.
As mentioned earlier, the Q7 can be had with a third-row seat, which bumps maximum occupancy to seven. The seats in the second row can be adjusted fore and aft and have a recline feature. Seating in the third row, as one might expect, is rather tight in terms of headroom for adults. Dropping the second and third rows for a flat load floor reveals 88 cubic feet of cargo space. A BMW X5 tops out at 69 cubic feet.
Unexpected extras Most of the typical luxury and safety features expected on this class of vehicle are either standard or optional. The Q7 also boasts three special options not found on the typical SUV: an extended sunroof, an advanced adaptive cruise control system and Side Assist.
The three-section panorama sunroof extends nearly the entire length of the roof. Adaptive cruise control (ACC) uses radar to monitor and maintain the Q7's position in traffic and, in certain situations, can even bring the Q7 to a complete stop without any input from the driver. Also associated with ACC is a two-stage warning system that alerts the driver when a vehicle ahead has braked suddenly. Side Assist is another driver aid. It also utilizes radar but in this case notifies the Q7's driver when other motorists have entered the vehicle's blind spots by lighting up yellow LEDs in the exterior mirror housings.
Sort of like sending payments through online banking, both ACC and Side Assist require a bit of faith that they are working properly. Caught in heavy highway traffic, we turned on the ACC system. Though we will certainly assess it more thoroughly in a full road test, our initial observations confirmed that it does indeed work as advertised. Side Assist will probably be more useful for Q7 owners on a daily basis. It minimizes the need to turn one's head for lane checks and should help drivers who don't position the Q7's mirrors properly.
A competitive crossover SUV Overall, we're impressed with the Q7. Certainly, there are many choices available for luxury SUVs these days. For buyers interested in the crossover type, the 2007 Audi Q7 should be one to check out. Its interior is top-notch, its feature content is attractive and its handling is vastly better than traditional seven-passenger SUVs.
Pricing for the V8 is set to start at $49,900, which pits the Q7 directly against the Mercedes-Benz M-Class and the next generation of BMW's X5. Only a comparison test will give us a winner out of that trio but for now the Audi Q7 has proved that it's more than just a "me, too!" SUV.
2007 Audi Q7 Overview Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2007 Audi Q7 and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2007 Q7 featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
Our Review Process This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.
Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2007 Audi Q7 and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2007 Q7 4.3 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2007 Q7.
Review All cars have + & -; from a high end luxury SUV you expect mostly +. That's the case. My problem was leaking draining tubes resulting in water in the front passenger well and in the back, invisibly in the area with the unprotected amplifier, MMI, GPS units. Result: all failed + battery drained. Cost:$3,500 (not covered by warranty). That's the most disturbing part to me: this car has been maintained by Audi as recommended but I still end up with a problem I could not avoid. This is not compatible with the premium price you pay for a Q7, you expect peace of mind. Moreover it is a known problem since Audi/VW lost a class action suit on this problem. Details at LeakingAudi website and Twitter.
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Available Audi Q7 2007 Submodel Types: SUV, Diesel
Available Trims: 3.0T Premium Plus quattro, 2.0T Premium Plus quattro, 3.0T Prestige quattro, 3.0T S line Prestige quattro, 3.0T Premium quattro, 3.6 Premium quattro, 4.2 Premium quattro, 3.6 quattro, 4.2 Prestige quattro, TDI Premium Plus quattro, TDI Prestige quattro, 2.0T Premium quattro, 4.2 quattro
Exterior Colors: Orca Black Metallic, Graphite Gray Metallic, Glacier White Metallic, Ice Silver Metallic, Ink Blue Metallic, Atlantis Blue Metallic, Carrara White, Night Black, Daytona Gray Pearl Effect, Florett Silver Metallic, Phantom Black Pearl Effect, Lava Gray Pearl Effect, Cobalt Blue Metallic, Ibis White, Calla White, Cobra Beige Metallic, Condor Gray Metallic, Light Silver Metallic, Teak Brown Metallic, Garnet Red Pearl Effect, Mugello Blue Pearl Effect, Scuba Blue Metallic, Sycamore Green Metallic, Tofana White Crystal Effect
Interior Colors: Black leather, Nougat Brown premium leather, Limestone leather, Pistachio Beige leather, Cardamom leather, Espresso leather, Rock Gray, Espresso Brown premium leather, Cardamom Beige leather, Limestone Gray leather, Cedar Brown premium leather
Popular Features: AWD/4WD, Alarm, Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Auto Climate Control, Fold Flat Rear Seats, Multi-Zone Climate Control, Power Driver Seat, Rear Bench Seats, Stability Control, Tire Pressure Warning, Leather Seats, Power Liftgate/Trunk, Trip Computer, Bluetooth, Third-row seating, Heated seats, Parking sensors, Aux Audio Inputs, Post-collision safety system, Upgraded Headlights, 6000lb Towing Capacity, Electronic Folding Mirrors, Navigation, Sunroof/Moonroof, USB Inputs, Back-up camera, Blind Spot Monitoring, Mobile Internet, Keyless Entry/Start, Upgraded Stereo, Pre-collision safety system, 360-degree camera, Cooled Seats, Towing Hitch, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, Apple Carplay/Android Auto, 3500lb Towing Capacity, Heads up display, 2nd Row Bucket Seats, Rear Entertainment System