And we're off and crawling through the streets of mid-town Manhattan. After getting waved off by actress/model Molly Sims (who?) and Audi ALMS driver Emanuelle Pirro shortly after 9 a.m. from the Tavern on the Green in Central Park, we're now slowly making our way toward the George Washington bridge to get out of town. This is not exactly the ideal operating environment for a big SUV, or any other motor vehicle for that matter. Driving through Manhattan, you quickly realize why most New Yorkers don't bother getting behind the wheel. The Q7 TDI is remarkably quiet and exhibits no signs of being a diesel. It has none of the characteristic clatter most Americans associate with big truck diesels and actually seems quieter than the gasoline V6. Nonetheless, it's too bad that Audi is launching its U.S. diesel push with the Q7 rather than the A3 and the TT. There are a pair of A3 TDIs on the trip but, like most of the A4s and all the Q5s, they are reserved for European journalists. As I write this we're crossing the George Washington Bridge and making our way to Philadelphia for launch and on to Washington for tonight's stopover.

Our travel and lodging for this media event was provided by the manufacturer.

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