2009 Q7 New Car Test Drive
The Audi Q7 offers strength and refinement in a large, luxurious SUV. It is a paragon of driving elegance and interior refinement.
For 2009, a new 3.0-liter diesel engine is available, a turbocharged dohc V6 with four valves per cylinder. It makes 325 horsepower at 3750 rpm and a very robust 406 pound-feet of torque at 1750 rpm. It is matched with the same six-speed automatic used with the 4.2-liter V8 but, in consideration of its torque curve, has a numerically lower axle ratio of 3.27:1. Not only does it deliver a lot of torque, it also has remarkable fuel economy, and is EPA-rated at 17 mpg City, 25 mpg Highway. The diesel is known as the Q7 TDI and is said to be the world's cleanest diesel sport utility vehicle. It meets emissions regulations in all 50 states, and offers 600 miles of driving range on a single tank.
In addition to the availability of the diesel, for 2009 there are some slight alterations to the trim levels and options. Otherwise, the 2009 Q7 line is unchanged. The Q7 was launched as a 2007 model.
The Audi Q7 shares its solid architecture with the Volkswagen Touareg and Porsche Cayenne. The Q7 rides on a longer wheelbase, however, and it has a more compliant ride than the Volkswagen and Porsche. The Q7 is the longest of the three, and is the only one to offer three-row seating. To make its cabin more luxurious and inviting, Audi has equipped the Q7 with features not found on the Touareg or Cayenne. And when the weather turns sour, the Q7 benefits from Audi's decades of experience with quattro all-wheel drive.
With a base price of considerably less than $50,000, the Q7 is priced close to others in the luxury SUV segment, which includes the Cadillac SRX, Lexus GX 470, and Mercedes-Benz M-Class. With all-wheel drive, a choice of three powerful engines and the classiest interior in the segment, the Q7 deserves serious consideration when shopping for a luxury SUV. High-technology features such as its blind-spot warning system add to safety and convenience in the Q7.
The 2009 Audi Q7 lineup features three engines and various trim levels. The base model is the 3.6 quattro; above that is the 3.6 quattro Premium, 3.6 quattro Premium Plus, and 3.6 quattro Prestige. The top of the line is the 4.2 quattro Prestige. The diesel is available in Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige trim levels. All Q7s come with six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmissions that can be shifted manually and quattro all-wheel drive with front, center and rear locking differentials.
The Q7 3.6 ($43,500) is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 that delivers 280 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. It comes standard with five-passenger seating, leather upholstery, automatic dual-zone climate control, 12-way power adjustable front seats, 40/20/40 split-folding rear seat, aluminum interior trim, cruise control, AM/FM/CD stereo with eight speakers and six-disc CD changer, a leather-wrapped tilt/telescoping multi-function steering wheel, power windows and locks, heated power exterior mirrors with tilt-down back-up aid, remote keyless entry, alarm/engine immobilizer system, cooled glovebox, auto-dimming rearview mirror, rain-sensing wipers with heated nozzles, cargo cover, automatic headlights, front and rear fog lights, roof rails, and P255/55R18 tires on alloy wheels.
The Q7 is available with a very wide range of options, some available individually, some included in packages of varying comprehensiveness, and many of them with availability based upon the individual trim levels. The more typical options include a panorama sunroof ($1,850), rear side airbags ($350), and 6,600-pound towing package ($550). Since there are so many options available with the different engines and across the various trim levels, potential buyers should check closely with Audi dealerships in order to select the packages and features that best suit their requirements.
The 3.6 quattro Premium model ($46,900) adds heated front seats, a 50/50-split folding third-row seat to boost passenger capacity to seven, wood interior trim, Sirius satellite radio, rearview camera, trip computer, compass and outside temperature indicator, universal garage door opener, and front and rear park assist.
The 3.6 quattro Premium Plus ($50,150) and 3.6 quattro Prestige ($52,800) have correspondingly higher levels of luxury and convenience features. The TDI diesel trim levels are equipped similarly to those of the 3.6 gasoline-engine models. There is the 3.0 TDI Premium ($50,900), the 3.0 TDI Premium Plus ($54,150), and the 3.0 TDI Prestige ($56,800).
The 4.2 quattro Prestige ($59,220) is powered by a 4.2-liter V8 that produces 350 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. In addition to the standard equipment found on other models, the 4.2 Prestige features a power tilt/telescoping steering wheel, four-zone automatic climate control, navigation system with voice recognition, memory for the driver's seat and exterior mirrors, keyless access and starting, remote engine starting, Bose sound system, power rear liftgate, steering-linked adaptive bi-xenon headlights and P275/45R20 tires.
Safety features on all Q7 models include anti-lock four-wheel disc brakes with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) and brake assist, Hill Descent Control, traction control, and an electronic stability program with rollover sensing and a tow mode. Passive safety features include front seat belts with pretensioners and load-limiters, dual front air bags, front side seat-mounted torso air bags, and side-curtain air bags that span all three rows of seats. A tire-pressure monitor is also standard. Rear-seat side torso air bags are optional, as is the Audi Side Assist blind spot warning system.