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Steve Says This Audi Q7 Rides Like It’s More Expensive Cousin – The Bentley

It’s no surprise; Audi sells far more SUVs these days than cars.  And its largest has just been updated with modern tech and a new engine.  This is a family-friendly, 3-row Audi Q7.  

With a starting price of $55,795, admittedly the family has to have some money in the bank, but that being said this is the only Audi with seating for up to 7, standard all-wheel drive and 7,700 pounds max towing. 

It’s the brand’s 2nd best-selling model and shares a platform with some very exclusive Volkswagen Group machines like the Bentley Bentayga and Lamborghini Urus.  And this year, the Q7 has been updated with some key changes.  Complementing the entry-level, 4-cylinder Q7, higher trim V6 models like this one here have had their supercharger replaced with a twin-scroll turbocharger, the cabin tech has taken a big leap forward and the body styling has been tweaked. 

Mine is the top-of-the-line Q7 Prestige, certainly well-equipped but not fully loaded, with an as-tested price of $76,040.    

The prestige package adds $10,400 to the price and bundles lots of goodies but none more noteworthy than the air suspension which gives this Q7 a Bentley Bentayga-like ride. 

Paired to the Drive Select settings, the body is raised or lowered based upon your choosing while you can also use it to your advantage while unloading the groceries with these switches in the cargo area.  The adaptive nature of this suspension insures that the Q7’s body reacts as the driver intends; whether for off-road, comfort or sportier driving.  Either way, it’s always super-forgiving and 6-figure luxurious.  It’s the Q7’s hallmark characteristic and while it’s standard here, it’s also optionally available on the lesser Premium Plus trim.      

Because it’s so quiet and the ride so smooth the Q7 is a superb highway cruiser. And of course, it has adaptive cruise control with steering assist and automatic adjustments based on the speed limit. But this turbo is considerably thirstier than the supercharged engine it replaces – gas mileage is down 16% and even though it’s torquier it isn’t any quicker off the line. But the drive is impeccably good with my mind constantly flashing back to my week with the Bentley Bentayga. It’s not as powerful or quite as isolating but the ride quality is just as incredible with lots of driving precision baked in. 

This new form of air compression produces 335 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque working through a smooth 8-speed auto with paddle shifters.  And 0-to-60mph in 5.7 seconds is plenty quick but MPGs drop from 21mpg in mixed driving to 18mpg, on premium please.

The Q7 receives the excellent new tech from other recent Audi models like the Q8. This is a fabulous system. It’s not as intuitive as the industry leaders but with some time I’ve grown to love it. 

It’s a 2-screen system with a reassuring click when you press its virtual buttons.  It supports wireless CarPlay, wired Android Auto, and handwriting recognition.  Climate controls dominate the bottom screen while the top screen acts as the dominant unit with tons of cool features like this top view camera you can spin about, the gorgeous ambient lighting choices which really make the cabin pop at night, and satellite map views which are the best in the industry.  That view can also be projected over here as part of the fantastic Audi Virtual Cockpit…completely customizable. 

The only oddity is that the weather radar can’t be viewed while the car is moving…which is exactly when you’d want it.  The 19 speaker Bose surround sound is quite impressive but if you think that it’s not enough a 23-speaker B&O unit is optional.  Another note about the tech…there is a wireless charger with a signal booster inside the center console but my iPhone consistently gets too hot on it forcing it to shut down.  Also, this space is far too small for Audi’s largest family vehicle…it holds virtually nothing.       

The Q7 seats, well 7 as long as the kids are really little. And those in the 2nd row are willing to slide up. But for 5, this is a really nice place to take a nap and relax. 

The panoramic roof is huge but the 3rd row is not…strictly small kids fodder.  They do power-fold for added convenience but the 2nd row is manual operation and completed in 3 parts.  But once all are folded, the floor is completely flat and very large.  

A couple of other observations…and I had this same issue with the Bentayga, the brakes start smoking after only a couple of firm stops which is a bit disconcerting.  You might think, after looking at the grille, that the Q7 is using Lidar for autonomous driving, but it is not.  Placeholders for future plans, I imagine.  The Black Optic Package is to thank for this dark look.  The 48-volt electrical system means this Q7 can also recapture some energy for fuel savings.  There’s a great heads-up display with traffic sign recognition and soft close doors.  

All told, this Q7 feels every bit as premium as its asking price…a real delight to drive.  But if you think you might need even more engine, the 500hp SQ7 is now in dealerships.   

By TestDriveNow Auto Critic Steve Hammes for SouthFloridaReporter.comSept. 7, 2020

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