2012 Q7 New Car Test Drive
The Audi Q7 is a big SUV that's big on refinement, comfort and features. Its luxurious cabin is fitted with seven seats. There's a choice of gasoline or diesel power, and all models come with all-wheel drive. We found the Q7 a paragon of driving elegance and interior refinement.
The Q7 is derived from the same platform as the Porsche Cayenne and Volkswagen Touareg, but there are substantial differences. The Audi is a foot longer and has a longer wheelbase. The extra length allows room for three rows of seats for seven passengers, while the other two offer only two rows of seats for five passengers. When compared with the Porsche and Volkswagen, we've noticed the Audi rides more smoothly and is more stable at high speed, though the Q7 is less agile in terms of handling and less maneuverable when parking due to its longer length.
The 2012 Audi Q7 3.0T comes with a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 rated at 280 horsepower, an increase over the 2011 model. The Q7 S line model has 333 horsepower.
The Q7 3.0 TDI comes with 3.0-liter turbocharged diesel engine rated at 225 hp and 406 pound-feet of torque. The diesel's impressive torque gives it a performance advantage over the gas engines when taking off from intersections or accelerating up steep hills, and it's the logical choice for those planning on towing. The diesel is also the easiest on fuel, though the diesel engine adds about $5,000 to the price.
New for the 2012 Q7 is an S line Plus package with black trim around the grille and windows and massive 21-inch Titanium alloy wheels with 295/35R21 summer tires. Also new, the 2012 Q7 integrates Audi Connect into the navigation system, enabling Google Earth and Google Local Search as well as providing a rolling Wi-Fi Hotspot for up to eight passenger devices. Launched as a 2007 model, the Q7 was freshened for 2010, and benefitted from new engines and an 8-speed automatic for 2011.
Audi Q7 competes with the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, and Volvo XC90. The smaller Lexus GX470 and the more comparable Lexus LX570 are more expensive.
The 2012 Audi Q7 3.0T Premium ($46,250) comes with leather upholstery, automatic dual-zone climate control, 280-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 11 speakers, SiriusXM 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, dealer-programmable headlights, front and rear fog lights, roof rails, and 255/55R18 tires on alloy wheels.
The Q7 3.0 TDI Premium ($51,450) comes with the turbodiesel engine and is similarly equipped except for 19-inch wheels and slightly wider tires.
Options for both models include MMI navigation ($2,850) and a panorama sunroof ($1,850). (All prices are Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices, which do not include destination charge and may change at any time without notice.)
Audi Q7 3.0T Premium Plus ($52,550) and Q7 3.0 TDI Premium Plus ($57,750) add navigation, front and rear 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 ($1,600), and a sunroof delete option.
Audi Q7 3.0 TDI Prestige ($63,950) adds 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 20-inch alloy wheels and 275/45R20 all-season tires.
Audi Q7 3.0T Prestige S line ($59,950) features a 333-hp version of the supercharged V6. It comes with S line body trim, 20-inch S line wheels with 275/45R20 all-season tires, headlight washers, and the same features and conveniences as the 3.0 TDI Prestige.
3.0 TDI Prestige and 3.0T Prestige S line are available with additional S line equipment. The S line Interior Package for the TSFI Prestige S line ($1,500) replaces wood inlays with aluminum and adds a unique shifter, three-spoke steering wheel, and black headliner. A similar package for the TDI Prestige ($2,000) includes the same interior items plus S line exterior body trim and headlight washers. The S line Plus Package ($1,200), for both models, blacks out the window frames, roof rails, and grille surround; and spins 295/35 summer tires on 21-inch five-segment titanium wheels.
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), and others too numerous to list here.
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 a blind spot warning system.