2021 Audi Q7
2021 Audi Q7
The Audi Q7 is a sophisticated three-row crossover SUV that can haul families in style and comfort. It got a major update last year, and for 2021 gets more standard safety equipment, and a revamped infotainment system with new touchscreens that are big and bright. The new system is faster and has more features and more frequent updates.
The Q7 might be seen as a seven-seater, but the third row can be cramped; it’s too small for adults. But with the seats folded flat, there’s more than 70 cubic feet of cargo space.
The base engine is a 248-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo-4, but the more popular engine is a 335-hp 3.0-liter turbo V-6, which is also a lot more costly. A third engine is a blistering 500-hp 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 in the SQ7 model. Every Q7 is all-wheel drive, and the turbo-4 can tow 4,400 pounds, while the V-6 and V-8 engines can tow up to 7,700 pounds.
The 2021 Q7 with a turbo-6 is EPA-rated at 17 mpg city, 21 highway, 18 combined, on premium fuel. The turbo-4 gets 19/23/21 mpg.
The 2020 Audi Q7 earned “Good” marks in all the IIHS tests, and its standard automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection was called “Superior.”
For 2021 the Q7 adds more standard safety features, including active lane control, blind-spot monitors with rear cross-traffic alert, automatic high beams, and a driver-attention monitor that can slow the Q7 to a stop and turn on hazards if the driver becomes unresponsive. Optional safety features include a surround-view camera system, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, and traffic jam assist that provides brief periods of hands-free driving in slow traffic up to 40 mph.
The Q7 is available in Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige models.
The Premium starts at about $56,000, and includes all-wheel drive, leather upholstery, power-adjustable heated front seats, panoramic sunroof, 19-inch wheels, power-folding third row seats, a 12.3-inch digital instrument display, a 10.1-inch touchscreen for infotainment, an 8.6-inch touchscreen for vehicle and climate controls, a power liftgate, and a panoramic sunroof.
The Prestige, which starts at $86,000 (not much more than the Premium Plus), comes with more of everything, such as the V-6 engine, better leather, more speakers and safety features, and an adaptive air suspension. The sport package or other options, such as the V-8 engine, get it into six-figure range.
The Q7 strikes the right balance between form and function. Audi touched up the Q7 last year with updated LED headlights and taillights, a modified grille, and bolder wheel choices that start at 19 inches. The trapezoidal grille features vertical slats over a broader lower bumper for a more muscular presence in rearview mirrors.
From the rear, the quad tailpipe design suggests the Q7 means more than just family business.
The cabin is a lap of luxury, while reflecting an appealing and unassuming design mentality. Standard leather upholstery, real wood trim, and a two-touchscreen layout to balance texture and tech. High-gloss (and high-smudge) piano-black plastic is at a minimum. If the leather isn’t soft enough for you, there’s optional Valcona leather.
The front seats are heated and offer power lumbar adjustment.
The reclining second row seats three in a 35/30/35 split, and can be heated in an optional cold weather package.There is nearly 39 inches of leg room and good enough head room for 6-footers, but that third passenger in the seat will be wedged in.
The third row is a power split-folding affair, but two kids is its capacity. Leg room is a mere 29.2 inches.
There’s 14.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row. When it’s dropped, there’s more than 35 cubic feet, and with both rows folded there is nearly 70 cubic feet. That’s still less than most three-row SUVs, but few look as good inside as the Q7.
The base 248-hp turbo-4 in the Premier provides peppy acceleration, while the 3.0-liter 335-hp turbo V-6 in the Prestige enables smooth acceleration from 0-60 mph in 5.7 seconds, which is impressive for a 5,000-pound SUV. It represents the best balance of value and power. There is some turbo lag, but the paddle shifters overcome that with quick downshifting to keep the revs up.
Next is the SQ7 with its 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 that makes 500 hp and a staggering 568 lb-ft of torque. It hits 60 mph in a blistering 4.3 seconds.
An 8-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive come standard with all three engines.
And adaptive air suspension is Prestige and SQ7, as is all-wheel steering and larger front and rear disc brakes. The ride is exceptionally composed, and allows the Q7 or SQ7 to aggressively cut through corners.
The 2021 Audi Q7 has elegant style and sparkling performance, even without the ultra-powerful V-8—even in base trim. Of course, if you want to spend $100,000 for your family SUV that can blast from 0-60 in 4.3 seconds, it can do that, too.
—by Sam Moses with driving impressions by The Car Connection