A subtle, elegant approach defines the Q7, once you get past its immense grille.
The Q7 has nothing in common with most of the sport-ute milestones in automotive history. It's no brutish off-roader in the Land Rover vein, nor is it a monster truck like the bling-encrusted Cadillac Escalade. Despite its ample off-roadability, it's more like a crossover in silhouette, with a soft roofline folding and flexing into a complex, sculptural body.
It is tough to get past that grille, though. It's a floor-to-ceiling affair that opens a gaping maw on the Q7's front end, and whether or not you consider it a new design hallmark, it's completely out of whack with the rest of the balanced body. At least since last year, it's framed by headlamps graced by Audi's more convincing design motif: LED "eyelashes" that call out the brand in a more significant, more high-tech way than the enormous grille ever could or will.
The Q7's richly appointed interior wears leather, suede, and wood in abundance. The overall shape is attractively styled and tightly integrated, mostly uncluttered except for some clusters of minor switches. Audi's gone to great length to match color and texture inside the Q7, which you'll notice when you touch the faux-suede headliner and drink in the sumptuous browns and tans in some of the more daring combinations.