By Barbara & Bill Schaffer
With its outstanding acceleration and precise handling, the 2017 Audi Q7 is more like the class leading sport sedan than a 5,000-pound, seven-passenger SUV. The 2017 Audi Q7 excels on so many levels, it has quickly become our benchmark vehicle for three-row SUVs.
Redesigned in 2015, the 2017 Audi Q7 has a crisp exterior styling starting with the large signature Audi grille and complex lighting system up front. Flowing rearward over smooth sides there are crisp character lines that lead back to the uncluttered rear end which has taillights that match the shape of the headlight pods. Keeping up with the industry trend, the rear liftgate is powered and has an available hands-free opening and closing system. Cargo capacity ranges from 14.8 cubic feet with all three rows of seats in place up to 71.6 cubic feet with the two rear rows folded.
Inside the passengers are treated to graceful lines, quality materials and plush sport seats with available heat and ventilation, plus there?s an available heated steering wheel for cold mornings. The Audi?s unique control system looks great and has real buttons and knobs, not touch screens. Speaking of screens, the Q7 control screen rises from the center of the dash as the car is started ? it?s in a perfect position, so the driver can keep eyes on the road and see the screen with only a sideways glace. The screen is controlled by Audi?s MMI?navigation plus control system, voice controls or the MMI all-in-touch handwriting technology that allows you to spell things like addresses simply by drawing the letters with your finger on an innovative console-mounted touchpad.
The 2017 Audi Q7 also has the available Virtual Cockpit which is standard on the Prestige model or part of the optional ($2,000) Vision Package which includes LED headlights and a top-view camera system. The Virtual Cockpit features a large 12.3-inch display instrumentation in the instrument panel position behind the steering wheel that is powered by a superfast NVIDIA? quad core processor. The screen reacts instantly showing the driver a customizable instrument panel along with the large or small navigation screen ? your choice. An optional ($2,500) night vision assistant also uses the same Virtual Cockpit screen.
Audiophiles can add an outrageous $5,000 Bang & Olufsen 3D Advanced sound system which has 23 speakers including two retractable acoustic lens. All the speakers are powered by a 23-channel amplifier with an output of 1,920 watts.
The audio system includes an available in-car Connect Care and Connect prime infotainment systems. It integrates with Apple Car Play and Android Auto to provide a variety of services including Roadside Assistance, Automatic Crash Notification and Emergency Call (SOS). It also includes the ability to track the vehicle, lock or unlock the doors and it provides a multitude of data services.
A 333-hp supercharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine powers the 2017 Audi Q7, and it feels more powerful than the numbers indicated. The all-aluminum alloy V-6 drives through Audi?s eight-speed Tiptronic? automatic transmission and quattro? permanent all-wheel drive with self-locking center differential. The transmission may be shifted manually using the steering wheel mounted shift paddles or the short shifter stalk mounted on the center console.
The numbers for the 2017 Audi Q7 are impressive with the 5,000-pound SUV accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in just 5.5 seconds, which puts it in the league with many of the big name sport sedans. It has at track top speed limited to 130 mph. With the available towing package, the Q7 boasts a 7,700-pound towing capacity. The EPA lists fuel economy at 19 mpg city, 25 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined. We averaged 22.3 mpg during the week we enjoyed this beauty.
To further enhance the Audi Q7 handling there is an adaptive chassis package option ($4,000) which adds a speed-dependent all-wheel steering control and adaptive air suspension. The four-wheel steering makes the big SUV feel more agile and responsive to steering inputs. The air suspension improves the on- and off-road capabilities by allowing the driver to raise or lower the ride height over a range of 85 mm (about 3.3-inches) to best suit the terrain and conditions.
The 2017 Audi Q7 is available in three trim levels: the Premium with a starting price of $55,750, including the destination charge, the Premium Plus at $59,750 and the Prestige at $65,250. With all the available options, the Prestige pricing can go as high as $87,000.
Between the luxury appointments, the outstanding performance capabilities and the universal capabilities of the 2017 Audi Q7, we think it?s the top model in its class.