The Audi Q7 was the first sport-utility vehicle from Audi, introduced back in 2006, though for 2009 it’s going to be joined by the smaller Q5. In addition, the Q7 gets a new, more fuel-efficient clean-diesel TDI model for the lineup.
Unlike most other utility vehicles at the time, the Q7 doesn’t lay claims on off-road enthusiasts or look ready to churn mud; its classy, stylish appearance hints of ruggedness, yet is decidedly urbane. Sharp cutlines give athletic definition to the profile, and the body curvature on the rear end around the taillamps manages to look clean and simple when it's really a complex set of shapes.
On the Q7, buyers have two different gasoline engines to choose from—a V-6 or a V-8—and a turbo-diesel V-6 is newly available. If gasoline consumption weren’t at all on our minds, our pick of the line would still be the smooth 4.2-liter V-8, which makes 350 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. The engine doesn’t have the low-rev torque of many other SUV V-8s, but power swells with revs and it barks out a muted hammering above 4,000 rpm that’s great for passing or spirited driving. A 280-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 is standard; it has adequate performance but can feel a little wheezy moving the 5,000-pound Q7 with a full load. Audi says the Q7 accelerates to 60 mph in 7.0 seconds (8.2 seconds with the V-6) and hits a top speed of 130 mph. Neither is great on gas; the V-8 is rated at 12 mpg city, 17 highway, while the V-6 gets 14/20.