Up until the introduction of the 2011 Audi Q7 3.0T Quattro, the Q7 was available in two flavors: There was a 3.6-liter V6 that made 280 horsepower, got 14/19 mpg and was painfully slow for a luxury truck. The V8 Q7 with its 350 hp was tolerably quick, knocking down 7.7-second 0-60 times and finishing the quarter-mile in 15.9 @ 88.2. Trouble is, it was a thirsty beast. That's sort of a by-product of wanting your 5,000-pound SUV to keep up with traffic. Or at least it used to be....
In 2011, Audi kicked both the 3.6 and the 4.2 to the curb along with the six-speed auto in favor of the misnamed 3.0T and a new eight-speed automatic. This new supercharged (ignore the T), direct-injection V6 makes 272 hp and 295 pound-feet of torque while returning an EPA-estimated 16 mpg city/22 mpg highway. That's an improvement over the V8's 13/18, but it's also something like 78 hp down. (There's an S line trim that cranks out 333 hp, but that's for another day.)
On paper it's a dubious solution: 272 hp and a few more gears to replace 280 or 350? Sure, the fuel economy will improve, but what will it do to the drive? Will it be 3.6 slow? Or worse?
Vehicle: 2011 Audi Q7 3.0T Supercharged
Driver: Mike Monticello
Drive Type: Front engine, all-wheel-drive
Transmission Type: 8-speed automatic
Engine Type: Supercharged, DOHC V6
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 2,995 (182.2)
Redline (rpm): 6,400
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 272 hp @ 4,750
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 295 @ 2,250
Brake Type (front): 13.8-inch ventilated disc with 6-piston fixed calipers
Brake Type (rear): 13-inch ventilated disc with four-piston fixed calipers
Steering System: Speed-sensitive power rack-and-pinion
Suspension Type (front): Independent, coil spring
Suspension Type (rear): Multilink, coil spring
Tire Size (front): P255/55R18 109H
Tire Size (rear): P255/55R18 109H
Tire Make: Pirelli
Tire Model: Scorpion Zero
Tire Type: Asymmetrical all-season
As tested Curb Weight (lb.): 5,256
0-30 (sec): 2.7 (2.9 w/TC on)
0-45 (sec): 4.8 (5.0 w/TC on)
0-60 (sec): 7.7 (7.9 w/TC on)
0-75 (sec): 11.5 (11.7 w/TC on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 15.7 @ 87.5 (15.8 @ 87.5 w/TC on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 7.4 (7.6 w/TC on)
30-0 (ft): 31
60-0 (ft): 122
Slalom (mph): 59.3 (non-defeat traction control)
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.81
Db @ Idle: 45.5
Db @ Full Throttle: 71.1
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 62.4
RPM @ 70: 2,000
Acceleration: Not much to do here -- just put the automatic in Sport and let the supercharged V6 and AWD do their best to pull this behemoth down the strip. The engine feels more overwhelmed than it does in Audi's car variants, but it's smooth and willing: only allows a minor amount of power braking before it creeps forward. Manual shifting via console lever (push forward for upshifts). Does not blip on downshift nor hold gears at redline.
Braking: Scary-long pedal travel, giving the initial impression that the 5,256-pound SUV isn't going to stop any time soon. Although pedal feel wasn't great, it never worsened throughout six stops. Aside from significant dive, there was very little commotion and it tracked straight.
Handling: Skid pad: Understeer was the prevalent theme here, with light, unfeeling steering. Non-defeat ESC would start to cut in about halfway around the circle, and by the end of the arc your right foot would be planted to the floor. Slalom: Huge body roll and light (although fairly quick) steering make for a squishy, lumbering beast around the cones. Over-driving results in excessive intervention of the non-defeat ESC. Despite its weight and soft suspension tuning there's more speed to be found if not for the ESC. The excessive amount of brake force added caused us to hit a few cones because we couldn't finish the turn.