Entering Its Silver Years With A Supercharged Six Life for us mammals is comparatively finite. Lacking the luxury of a mid-cycle refresh, the average human in the United States can expect to live about 80 years before their clock stops ticking. That isn't too terrible in the grand scheme of things. After all, the typical mountain lion is lucky to get 20 years as a feared predator while most guinea pigs go quietly after just eight years in the household cage. Mammals don't have many options when it comes to getting old. Not so with the automobile. With few exceptions, the average lifecycle of a passenger vehicle is a short five to seven years. However, instead of sitting idle as its beloved machinery ages into senility, manufacturers treat passenger vehicles to mid-cycle makeovers with new fascias, upgraded electronics and more efficient engines. The intent is to breathe new life into models and make them more appealing lest they get lost amid a sea of younger designs. The Audi Q7 is in the middle of its fifth model year – pushing 60 in human years. And fresh off a facelift just last year, the full-size SUV receives a complete heart transplant for 2011. The new supercharged V6 is not only engineered to make the seven-passenger vehicle more competitive in a difficult market, but to carry Audi's first crossoffer towards its eventual retirement. Or behind the shed. The Q7 was a fresh new face when it debuted at the 2005 Frankfurt Motor Show, despite sharing unibody platforms with the Porsche Cayenne and Volkswagen Touareg. However, unlike its five-passenger relatives, the Q7 rode on a stretched wheelbase allowing room for a third-row seat. When it rolled into showrooms for the 2007 model year, Audi's new Q7 was offered with either a standard 3.6-liter V6 or an optional 4.2-liter V8. A 3.0-liter turbodiesel variant, badged the Q7 TDI, arrived Stateside in 2009. Last year, both Porsche and Volkswagen introduced their second-generation Cayenne and Touareg models on new, freshly-engineered, lightweight platforms. Logic dictated that Audi would also spawn a new Q7 model. Instead, the Q5 and all-new Q3 received the bulk of attention and the second-generation Q7 was pushed out another few years. Stonewalled but not completely forgotten, Audi treated its big SUV to a facelift for the 2010 model year with new styling incorporating front and rear LED illumination, fresh wheel designs and upscale cabin enhancements. Despite last year's overhaul, the 2011 Q7 once again went under the blade. The standard 3.6-liter V6 and optional 4.2-liter V8 powerplants were dropped in favor of the more flexible and fuel efficient supercharged 3.0-liter V6. The six-speed automatic transmission was replaced by an eight-speed 'box and the cabin got a once-over for good measure. Our "Orca Black Metallic" tester is a 2011 Q7 3.0T S line Quattro Tiptronic. Just to break down that jumble, it's a top-of-the-line gasoline model with a base price of $59,775 (including $875 destination). With standard Audi MMI Navigation Plus, Bluetooth phone connectivity, …
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|MPG||17 City / 25 Hwy|
|Power||225 @ 3750 rpm|
|Drivetrain||quattro all wheel|
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