Audi Q7 was all-new for 2017. Audi’s largest luxury SUV, capable of seating seven, reached the U.S. market for the 2007 model year. A second generation debuted for 2017. Therefore, little has changed for the 2018 model year, aside from a proximity key being made standard on all versions. A Bose audio system now is included with Premium Plus trim.
In short, the 2018 Audi Q7 is entering its second year as a completely redesigned model. With its family sized interior space and impressive advanced technology, augmented by glorious ride quality, the Q7 promises just about everything you’d want in a luxury crossover.
In nearly every way, the 2018 Q7 ranks among Audi’s most impressive offerings.
Two engines are available, in three trim levels: Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige. A turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, rated at 252 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque, is standard in Premium and Premium Plus.
Choosing Prestige trim brings a supercharged 3.0-liter V6, developing 333 horsepower and 325 pound-feet. The V6 is optional for lesser trim levels. An 8-speed automatic transmission couples with standard Quattro all-wheel-drive.
Even the entry-level Q7 Premium model is amply equipped. Picking the right options can transform that base Q7 into an utterly posh highway cruiser, but those extras come at a hefty price. ,One of those options, the Virtual Cockpit, is a large, configurable high-resolution screen, which takes the place of the conventional gauge cluster. Coupled with Audi’s navigation system, the Virtual Cockpit can display crisply clear Google Earth maps, among other features.
In each element of crash-testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Q7 has earned admirable (Good) marks, except for assessment of its headlight function. All Q7s have a rearview camera, but a lot of the available safety technology is optional rather than standard. A Vision Package adds a surround-view camera, full LED headlights, and the Virtual Cockpit with 12.3-inch LCD screen. Side airbags for the rear seat are optional. Pre Sense City, Audi’s low-speed automatic emergency braking system, can automatically apply brakes as needed, at speeds up to 52 mph. A full-speed braking system, dubbed Pre Sense Front, is part of the Driver Assistance Package for upper trim levels, which also includes adaptive cruise control and automatic high-beam headlights.
Premium 3.0 Supercharged V6 ($56,400) is similar to Premium 2.0, but substitutes the 333-horsepower V6 engine, and is available with Premium Plus 3.0 Supercharged V6 ($60,400) equipment. Prestige 3.0 Supercharged V6 ($65,400) includes 20-inch wheels, power soft-close doors, LED headlights, 19-speaker Bose audio, a top-view camera, four-zone climate control, and Vision Package with Virtual Cockpit. A Luxury Package for Prestige trim includes upgraded leather and ventilated front seats with massaging. An air suspension coupled with four-wheel steering is optional.
Few design details could be called excessive or overdone. Viewed from the side, the Q7 bears a greater resemblance to a tall wagon than some of its more boxy-profiled rivals. At the rear is a clamshell-style liftgate.
Wheels come in a selection of styles, from 18 to 20 inches. LED headlights, flanking a wide grille, are standard with Prestige trim and optional for Premium Plus.
Comfort is another strong point. Even for taller occupants, front and second-row seats are both comfortable and nicely supportive. Upholstered in leather, even in base trim, the front seats offer an abundance of adjustments. Three passengers in row two have ample space.
As expected, the third row is somewhat snug for adults, but the same can be said of competitive crossovers. Youngsters will like it better. Overall space ranks as excellent for five passengers, but less so with seven.
At the rear, the cargo area is spacious and flexible, if not quite as wide as expected. The standard power-folding third row yields a largely flat load floor. Cargo volume is minimal with the third row upright.
Genuine wood trim features either glossy or matte finish. Even the plastic trim elements look good. Ample storage space is available for small items, as well as beverages.
In certain cities, Audi’s MMI Navigation Plus Package can communicate directly with the urban infrastructure.
The standard four-cylinder will satisfy many drivers, with its 0-60 mph acceleration time of 7.1 seconds. For some, the strong V6 may be a better choice, making the Q7 an excellent vehicle for long journeys. With V6 power, the Q7 can reach 60 mph in 5.7 seconds. Even with a full load, the V6 model feels energetic.
Although the Q7 looks big and bulky, substantial use of aluminum keeps its weight near 5,000 pounds. As a result, the Q7 feels both agile and responsive.
The suspension absorbs rough pavement, without turning floaty when taking corners. A Q7 feels confident and securely planted, even through curves. Audi’s Drive Select system modifies throttle response, shift points, and steering effort. Optional, larger wheels don’t impair ride quality.
Especially with the V6 engine, Audi’s 8-speed transmission shifts swiftly, with little discernible hesitation. Standard all-wheel drive is most welcome on wet, slick pavement. Off-roading isn’t its forte, even with the height-adjustable air suspension available for the Prestige edition.
Considering its size and weight, Q7 fuel economy isn’t bad. Surprisingly, both the four-cylinder and V6 models are identically EPA-rated, at 19/25 mpg City/Highway, or 21 mpg Combined. A start/stop system can shut off the engine at stoplights.
On a variety of levels, Audi’s larger crossover stands on par with, or above, most of its competition. Careful attention to details helps make the Q7 a good value, easily worth its relatively high starting price. Total cost rises fast when options are added. Only top trim levels qualify for the most valuable advanced technology.
Driving impressions by Andrew Ganz, The Car Connection. James M. Flammang contributed to this report.