Shopping for a new Audi Q7?
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PERFORMANCE | 7 out of 10
Heavy car; fuel economy averages around 15 mpg in the 3.6-liter
The Q7 3.6 and the Q7 4.2 are not only capable but also, when pushed, emit somewhat of a hearty, sexy growl
Car and Driver
The 2008 Audi Q7 might be a heavy car, but TheCarConnection.com finds that this big sportscar comes with great features and a growl that can seduce even the most critical drivers.
The brand's smooth, forceful 4.2-liter V-8 churns out 350 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque in the top models. Though it's been tuned for better low-end torque, the strongest impression the eight-cylinder leaves behind is the muted hammering it barks out above 4,000 rpm. Cars.com says, “The V-8 engine moves the Q7 capably despite the SUV's substantial bulk, and there's fluid power for high-speed acceleration and passing.” The Audi “isn’t especially quick or athletic,” ForbesAutos admits.
A 280-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 is also available, and Audi promises it will accelerate to 60 mph in 8.2 seconds. Edmunds says “the 3.6-liter V6 is noticeably lacking in oomph.” In either version, Cars.com says “it'll be saddled with a lot of mass to haul around”—up to 5,500 pounds of mass to transport. Hence, neither Audi Q7 is great on gas; the V-8 is rated at 12/17 mpg, the V-6 at 14/20 mpg. A diesel version coming for the 2009 model year is expected to lift highway fuel economy into the mid-20-mpg range.
The transmission is a six-speed Tiptronic automatic gearbox, which does a good job of managing the power if you decline to use its sport-shift mode. “The transmission features a manual mode and adapts to driving style,” ForbesAutos observes. “For instance, if a driver is accelerating aggressively, the transmission will downshift sooner and hold gears longer for stronger acceleration.” Edmunds reports “the six-speed automatic transmission is also not the smoothest in the world, providing a jerky response when accelerating slowly.”
“Standard towing capacity is 5,500 pounds,” ForbesAutos says. “A $500 tow package increases it to 6,600 pounds.” And though its quattro all-wheel-drive system is designed mostly for on-road use, the Q7 proves to be “extremely capable while driving off-road through a narrow forest trail in upstate New York,” they add. With quattro, “up to 65 percent of engine power can be sent to the front wheels or 85 percent to the rear wheels by means of the self-locking center differential,” Cars.com explains.
An all-independent suspension and quattro all-wheel drive grant the Q7 comfortable, capable handling. The Q7 also has an optional three-mode air suspension--sport, comfort, and automatic--that varies the damping of the vehicle according to conditions and the speed of the vehicle. It also raises the vehicle in off-road driving and lowers it at highway speeds. The Cars.com reviewer “spent most of my time switching between the softest available setting, Comfort, and the tautest, Dynamic. In Dynamic mode, the ride is so firm you might find yourself wondering if the suspension is damping anything at all; all bumps and holes in the road are keenly felt.”
The Q7's power steering, with lovely effort and feedback, is hydraulically actuated. MyRide.com says it has "Sublimely fluid and linear steering with perfect assist levels" and yields a "comfortable ride both on and off the road." ForbesAutos feels “There’s certainly plenty of handling grip, especially with the huge, optional 20-inch wheels and tires. But the steering, while well-weighted, feels noticeably numb just off center, and this big Audi is reluctant to change directions quickly.” Cars.com contends “the steering wheel itself turns with relatively little effort and amazing smoothness, but the driver is deprived of any feedback.” Edmunds notes, “placed in 'Dynamic' mode, the vehicle can be hustled relatively easily on a curvy road.”
The 2008 Audi Q7 has good road feel, but even its V-8 engine is overwhelmed by its bulk.