2017 Audi Q7: First Drive

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Audi’s three-row SUV gets a new look, more space and a major upgrade in technology. It’s a solid choice in the seven-passenger SUV arena.

The upright, angular, three-dimensional grille trademarking Audi cars (like the A4 and the TT) now lives on the flagship SUV. Sharp shoulders give the body a new, substantial, angular presence.

While essentially the same size as the previous model, the new Q7 has more interior space. The door panels and the backs of the seats have cut-outs for shoulders and knees. It feels spacious and ample enough to comfortably seat at least five adults. The third row has gained space thanks to a more compact rear suspension and lower floor, and allows for an additional two passengers, albeit small ones. Aluminum body panels and an all-new chassis help give the Q7 more interior space. The new design and smaller center differential means that the floor inside the Q7 is lower than it was in its predecessor, making more room for luggage and passengers.

Audi has outfitted the new Q7 with more than 31 driver assistance packages. The rear cross-traffic alert system uses two radar sensors embedded in the bumper of the Q7 that scan crossing traffic while you are backing out. If you aren’t paying attention, the system alerts you with visual cues, and then strongly applies the brakes if you continue to back into traffic.

The collision avoidance system helps prevent frontal collisions. Using the forward-looking camera mounted behind the rear view mirror in the windshield, the Q7 can detect when you are about to turn into oncoming traffic. If you continue to do so, the Q7 sends out an audible alert and then applies the brakes, holding itself in the lane until the oncoming car passed.

Audi’s Presense Plus not only senses and warns about collision, but also can stop the car at up to 137 miles per hour.

Plus Audi offers a suite of technologies including everything from Apple Car Play and Android Auto to the ability to open your Q7 using your phone. With Audi Connect you can set various tracking situations for your Q7, including a “curfe,” that can alert you when the Q7 has been started or stopped between certain hours; speed and valet alerts when the car is out of your possession (like with teenagers or valets); and geo-fencing, alerting you when the vehicle has entered or exited a specified area. You can also remote lock and unlock your Q7 using Audi Connect.

The Q7 even has a smart rack that attaches to rails on the Q7’s roof. When a load is detected the damper settings are automatically adjusted to keep the Q7 planted.

The Audi Q7 is powered by a 3-liter, V-6 with 333 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque, mated to an eight-speed automatic and Audi’s Quattro all-wheel-drive—all good for a run from zero to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds and a top speed of 130 mph. An optional air suspension can be adjusted based on your driving style using Audi’s MMI system or by using hard keys on the dash.

Audi expects the new Q7 to get similar gas mileage to the current one. The 2017 Audi Q7 is still elegant, and has beefed up its offerings with a suite of new technology and more space inside a good-looking package.