2020 Audi Q7 55 TFSI: German Performance for Seven

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Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

My wife Misa and me were the proud owners of a white 2012 Audi Q7 TDI and would have kept it if not for the VW emissions buyback program. The German SUV was tough as nails with a powerful diesel engine and impressive quattro all-wheel drive. I recall adding winter tires and romping through a blizzard while every other truck and SUV were slipping and sliding. Fast forward to current times to witness the reinvention of German sophistication and extraordinary performance in the 2020 Audi Q7 55 TFSI.

Interestingly, Audi went from the traditional Q7 bubble silhouette to an angular body style – which I wasn’t fond of – and then rounded out many of the edges again for the current generation, especially the front fascia. My loaner for the weekly test-drive arrived in a glistening Navarra Blue metallic exterior and an immaculate Okapi Brown interior that left all of my passengers in awe. And coincidently, we celebrated my teen daughter’s 17th, so the Q7 fit the family perfectly when we headed out for the birthday dinner. Misa fell in love with the dark Gray/Brown Fine Grain Ash Natural Wood inlays that mesh seamlessly with the brown leather trim and black glass panels.

Like most Audi sedans, coupes, and SUVs, the latest Q7 drives like a dream, literally. The new 3-liter TSFI turbocharged V6 engine (335-horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque) moves impressively in every gear of the 8-speed Tiptronic transmission, even when we weighted it down with seven occupants. Equally, the steering is dynamic, enhancing the practical SUV with superior agility.

In typical fashion, drivers can manipulate Audi’s characteristics with the Q-design 3-spoke leather-wrapped multifunction steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters and the customizable Drive Select with Auto, Allroad, Comfort, Dynamic, Individual, and Offroad settings. When I ventured into Washington, DC for a bike ride in Rock Creek Park, I chose Comfort mode so that the Adaptive Air Suspension (five selectable ride heights) with wide 285/45 R20 Pirelli P Scorpion Verde all-season tires could suck up the city potholes. Both are part of the optional $10,400 Prestige package. It also offers a 3D Premium sound system, the top view camera with a virtual 360-degree surround view, Driver Assistance package, Head-up display, and Matrix-design LED headlights.

Audi outlined my Q7 with an array of silver exterior trim, including the roof rails and grille surround, to match the 20″ 5-spoke turbine rims. But if I were to purchase a Q7  I would choose either Orca Black metallic or Carrara White with the sinister $1,750 Black Optic package. This design treatment blacks out the upgraded  21″ 10-spoke-Star rims, Singleframe grille, roof rails, front and rear bumper inserts, door side blades, and the trim around the exterior side windows.

The cabin is opulent and comfortable, almost too comfortable. The Q7 turns long mundane drives into simple spirited rides. Advanced technology puts this German tourer in an elite category if you are accepting of it. Owners receive MMI Navigation Plus with MMI Touch Response, a 2-panel Panoramic sunroof with an electric sunshade, three-zone automatic climate control, Virtual Cockpit Plus, camera views of every angle of the Q7, and more. However, the dual-screen multimedia system was complicated to operate trivial tasks. For example, I kept swerving while candidly trying to adjust the temperature controls. And everything runs through the two screens from Media and Radio to Navigation and Phone Apps. Furthermore, the haptic feedback of the 10.1” upper and 8.6” lower displays is all too familiar with CUE (Cadillac User Experience), which initially received more negative feedback than positive from owners when it debuted years ago. Audi had mastered MMI with the rotary dial and physical knobs but then went all virtual. I would have preferred something closer to BMW’s iDrive or FCA’s Uconnect, which uses a standard touchscreen and various knobs and buttons.

Audi has perfected its seating mechanisms. Such as, you can open the power tailgate from a latch on the middle seats once they are laid down. Each of the three 2nd-row chairs can be adjusted individually. You can similarly control both the 2nd and 3rd rows from a power switch from the far rear to store large items. Additionally, the rear suspension can be lowered for effortless loading of items like mountain bikes, unless you wish to attach a bike rack by way of the hitch. The only problem is that there is no storage room under the floorboard due to the subwoofer and other electronic components.

Starting at $54,800 (excluding a $995 destination fee) for the 45 TFSI 2-liter 4-cylinder, the new Q7 can be chosen as either a Premium, Premium Plus, or Prestige model. My loaner kicked off at $60,800 and topped off at $74,290. It’s a special SUV for continuous special occasions.

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