Experienced by Leon Brittain
My family previously owned a 2012 Audi Q7 TDI and loved everything about the three-row utility vehicle. The German SUV was tough with a powerful diesel engine and impressive quattro all-wheel drive. I recall adding Pirelli P Zero winter tires and romping through a blizzard while every other truck and SUV was slipping and sliding. Fast forward to current times to witness the reinvention of German sophistication and extraordinary performance in the 2022 Audi Q7 55 TFSI quattro.
With standard quattro all-wheel-drive and seating for seven, the latest Audi Q7 drives like butter on highways and performs like a dream on winding roads to give all passengers thrills as if each was behind the wheel. Under the hood is the tried-and-true turbocharged 3-liter TSFI V6 engine with 335-horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. The new Q7 moves impressively in every gear of the 8-speed Tiptronic transmission, even when we weighted down with occupants and luggage. Equally, steering is dynamic, enhancing the practical SUV with superior agility. For the liveliest drive style, utilize the paddles shifters in manual mode and put the customizable Audi Drive Select in “Dynamic” mode. But when I ventured into Washington, DC for a bike ride in Rock Creek Park, I chose “Comfort” mode so that the Adaptive Air Suspension and wide 285/45 R20 Pirelli Scorpion Verde all-season tires could suck up city potholes. Both are part of the optional $10,800 Prestige package, including a 3D Premium sound system, Convenience package, Executive package, Head-up display, Matrix-design LED headlights, and illuminated door seals.
Interestingly, Audi went from the traditional Q7 bubble silhouette to an angular body style – and then rounded out the edges again for the current generation, especially the front fascia. Stylistically the new Q7 is more chiseled, more defining, yet, less aggressive looking. It’s a contemporary design for modern times. The octagonal Singleframe grille features standout vertical bars for more emphasis than the initial horizontal design. My weekly loaner arrived in a Samurai Gray exterior and an immaculate Okapi Brown interior that left passengers in awe. And coincidently, we celebrated my teen daughter’s Sweet 16, so the Q7 fit the family perfectly when we headed out for the birthday dinner.
Audi outlined my Q7 with an array of aluminum 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 Mythos 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 windows.
Inside, the cockpit is stimulating, comfortable, intuitive, and prods you to drive longer distances than your schedule requires. We fell in love with the Q7’s Lava Brown eucalyptus natural wood inlays that mesh seamlessly with the sporty Valcona/Cricket leather seats. The vehicle’s 3-spoke multifunctional steering wheel is light and sports-focused. Wireless CarPlay allows you to cut the cord, and the 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen 3D premium sound system kept me jamming to the Bob Marley channel on SiriusXM.
Owners receive MMI Navigation Plus with MMI Touch Response, a 2-pane 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. 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 feels too fragile. Audi had mastered MMI with the rotary dial and physical knobs but then went all digital. Moreover, the system currently needs a software update to correct some issues, but it won’t be available until later this year.
Perfection comes in the form of the Q7’s seating mechanism. 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 the 2nd and 3rd rows from a power switch from the far rear to store large items such as bags of mulch for summer yard tweaks. Additionally, the rear suspension can be lowered for effortless loading like mountain bikes, unless you wish to attach a bike rack to the hitch. The only problem is that there is no storage room under the floorboard due to the subwoofer and other electronic components.
For safety, a few semi-autonomous systems that will increase driver confidence include Parking System Plus, Adaptive Cruise Assist with Traffic Jam Assist, Audi Active Lane Assist, Audi Side Assist, Lane Departure Warning, and High-Beam Assist. Also, Audi added rear side airbags as standard, heated, power-folding exterior mirrors with memory, an Ambient interior lighting package, and a direct tire pressure monitoring system as standard on the Q7 45 TFSI and 55 TFSI.
Starting at $62,800 (excluding a $1,195 destination fee), my loaner came in at $80,890 since it features an array of option packages such as the $10,800 Prestige Package and the $5,800 Luxury Package. Buyers may also look at the efficient Q7 45 TFSI or the potent 500-horsepower SQ7! It’s an exceptional SUV for continuous special occasions.