2011 Q7 New Car Test Drive
The Audi Q7 is a big SUV that's big on refinement, comfort and features. The Q7 is derived from the same platform as the Porsche Cayenne and Volkswagen Touareg, but the Q7 rides on a longer wheelbase. The Q7 is also longer overall than the other two, and it is the only one to offer three-row seating. There are many other differences. We've noticed the Q7 offers a more compliant ride than the Cayenne or Touareg and it's more stable at high speed though less agile both in terms of handling and parking.
The 2011 Audi Q7 benefits from major engine and transmission changes. The 2011 Q7 is available with two new supercharged 3.0-liter V6 engines plus a 3.0-liter TDI turbodiesel V6. All 2011 Audi Q7s are matched to a new 8-speed automatic transmission for better performance and better fuel economy. (A V8 is no longer offered.)
The gas engines are both supercharged 3.0-liter V6s, the standard unit at 272 horsepower, and the new S Line Prestige version at 333 hp. The 3.0-liter diesel delivers 225 hp and 406 pound-feet of torque. Torque is that force that propels you away from intersections and up steep hills, and the diesel's impressive torque gives it an advantage over the gas engines. The diesel is also the easiest on fuel, and the logical choice for those planning on towing.
Every Audi Q7 comes with seven seats and all-wheel drive. Audi has decades of experience with quattro all-wheel drive. Safety features include a blind-spot warning system.
The Audi Q7 competes with other seven-seat luxury SUVs, such as the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, Volvo XC90. The smaller Lexus GX470 and the more comparable Lexus LX570 are more expensive.
We found the Q7 a paragon of driving elegance and interior refinement.
The 2011 Audi Q7 3.0 TFSI Premium ($45,700) comes with leather upholstery, automatic dual-zone climate control, 272-hp supercharged 3.0-liter V6, 12-way power adjustable front seats, heated front seats, sliding 40/20/40 split-folding reclining second-row seats, 50/50-split folding third-row seat, wood interior trim, MMI and color screen, 180-watt AM/FM/CD/iPod stereo with eight speakers, Sirius satellite radio, trip computer, compass and outside temperature indicator, universal garage door opener, rear park sensors, leather-wrapped tilt/telescoping multi-function steering wheel, cruise control, power tailgate, power windows and locks, heated power mirrors with reverse tilt, 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 255/55R18 tires on alloy wheels.
The 2011 Audi Q7 3.0 TDI Premium ($50,900) comes with the turbodiesel engine and is similarly equipped except for 19-inch wheels and slightly wider tires. Options include navigation ($2,500) and panorama roof ($1,850).
The 2011 Audi Q7 3.0 TFSI Premium Plus ($51,700) and Q7 3.0 TDI Premium Plus ($56,900) add navigation, park assist with rearview camera, bi-Xenon headlamps with LED daytime running lights, auto-dimming power-folding mirrors, panorama sunroof, and Bose surround sound HD radio. Options include the warm weather package ($1,300), 20-inch wheels, and a moonroof delete option. (All New Car Test Drive prices are Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices, which do not include destination charge and may change at any time without notice.)
The 2011 Audi Q7 3.0 TDI Prestige ($62,900) adds headlight washers, power tilt/telescoping steering wheel, Advance key, adaptive headlights, blind-spot warning, ventilated front seats, and a Warm Weather package with four-zone climate control, rear window shades, deep-tint panorama roof. Prestige comes with unique bi-color 20-inch alloy wheels and 275/45R20 all-season tires.
The 2011 Audi Q7 3.0 Prestige S-Line ($58,900) features a 333-hp version of the supercharged V6. It comes with S-Line body trim, 20-inch S-Line wheels and 275/45R20 all-season tires. The 2011 Q7 3.0 TDI Prestige ($62,900) has the same features but with the diesel engine.
Options include a towing package with 6,600-pound tow rating ($550), a cold weather package of heated rear seats and steering wheel ($500), rear side airbags ($350).
Safety features on all Q7 models include front seat belts with pretensioners and load-limiters, dual front air bags, front side seat-mounted air bags, and side-curtain air bags that span all three rows of seats. Active safety features include anti-lock four-wheel disc brakes with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) and brake assist, hill descent control, traction control, electronic stability control with rollover sensing, and quattro all-wheel drive. A tire-pressure monitor is standard. Rear-seat side torso air bags are optional, as is the blind spot warning system.