San Francisco: Not
content to be left out of the luxury SUV market, Audi introduced its Q7
for 2007 with everything short of the proverbial kitchen sink. There is
certainly room for one; itís just not on the order sheet. At nearly 17
feet long and about 5,400 pounds, this Audi takes up plenty of driveway.
Until recently, Audi has exercised restraint on extra lines, bulges, and
extremes of all kinds, creating a soothing and just-right kind of
styling. Todayís cars have grown more evocative and interesting,
although that serene beauty is no longer there.
My Q7 tester, in a lovely Sycamore Green Metallic, had the same giant
mouth that all Audis wear proudly. The body is in the style of todayís
crossover vehicles, which look more like a car on steroids than an
old-fashioned, utilitarian box. The bold lower body and bulging
wheelwells evoke rugged trucks, while the carefully radiused curves and
dropping roofline is all car like. Itís pretty, for a fortress.
A fortress it is, too. The Q7 just passed the governmentís battery of
crash tests with a top-level five-star rating. You get airbags galore,
including the Sideguard inflatable curtain, which helps in side impacts
One thoughtful new safety feature is the Side Assist system, which warns
you if somebody is in your blind spot on either side. Whenever a car
enters the zone, a little glimmer of yellow light flickers on the
massive outside mirror. Once, I put on my left blinker, planning to look
and then move over a lane, but this time the light flashed at me like
the beacons atop a CHP car.
The Advanced Parking System provides a rearview camera for the
center-mounted navigation screen. It switches on automatically when you
move the transmission lever into reverse. Itís so good, that I found
myself looking at it first, and then out the windows to see what was
going on behind me.
The inside looks like an A6 sedan, oversized. The controls surround the
driver like an airplaneís cockpit, with the gauges tucked in under a
rising hood that follows the curve of the steering wheel. The center of
that wheel bears a chrome miniature of the grille surround. My tester
featured a warm Cardamom Beige that toned in nicely with the green
exterior. Trendy metallic accents join glorious samples of patterned
genuine wood for a truly upscale feel.
Of course, what could be more luxurious than a great big 4.2-liter V8
engine? This one packs 350 horsepower and mates to a six-speed automatic
transmission that you can shift manually. Itís strong enough to get you
from zero to 60 in 7.0 seconds. Thatís fast for any seven seater.
I actually did pack seven people into it. My sonís cross-country team
needed transportation to an event, so I shuttled six lucky teenagers in
regal comfort. The third row seats are useful, but the two girls who
rode back there found it a little tight. The seats fold flat for useful
The 4.2-liter engine gets mileage ratings of 14 City, 19 Highway, but my
real world driving, yielded just 13.3 mpg. If that upsets you, and youíd
like to save $10,000, you can opt for the 3.6-liter V6-equipped model.
You still get 280 horsepower, but itíll cost you 1.2 seconds in the 0-60
dash, while improving mileage figures by a couple of mpg.
My tester came with a load of wonderful options. Notable were the air
suspension, which not only filters out uncomfortable bumps in the road,
but adjusts for height and firmness. At freeway speeds the suspension
automatically drops for better mileage.
The enormous Panorama Sunroof gives the open feeling of the observation
deck on the Santa Fe Super Chief train. And if the sun is bearing down
on you can close an electric shade. At the bottom of the car my tester
wore 20-inch cast alloy wheels, the largest available. The Technology
Package includes keyless entry and start, which lets you enter the car
and start it while leaving the key in your pocket.
German cars have been offering various forms of center console devices.
Audiís Multi-Media Interface (MMI) uses a selector knob with four
buttons, in the corners of the MMIís platform. Working with the display
screen, with practice you can pick different features, such as setting
the tone of radio broadcasts or setting the climate control, much in the
same way as using a mouse with your computer to point and click.
These are true luxury vehicles. My Q7 came to $64,520, including a $720
destination charge. The base price is $49,900. The V6-powered 3.6 model
starts at $39,900.
Made in Bratislava , Slovakia , the Q7 gives you an alternative to the
other luxury SUVs. Iím guessing that most Q7s will go to Audi
enthusiasts who were just waiting for a way to take their big family out
in the style they love. But it could entice a few BMW, Mercedes, and
Lexus shoppers too, as it offers everything that makes Audis desirable,
and plenty of it.
Steve Schaefer © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
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Column Name: The Q7 offers everything that makes Audiís desirable
Topic: The 2007Audi Q7 4.2
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Photo Caption: The 2007Audi Q7 4.2
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