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FEATURES | 9 out of 10
You won't be disappointed
MMI can be 'distracting and time consuming'
MMI is 'more intuitive than BMW's reviled iDrive'
A family vehicle despite its big pricetag, the Audi Q7 doesn't just adopt some kid-quieting technology this year -- it tries to sedate adults, too, with new connectivity and wow features.
All Q7 crossovers have power windows, locks and mirrors; cruise control; keyless entry; automatic climate control; and 18-inch wheels. Adding S-line trim brings a panoramic sunroof and a power tilt/telescoping steering wheel.
Audi's already ditched the CD changer that used to rule the center stack of controls, and devoted the space instead to storage. But that's not it for this year: the Q7 not only has HD radio to go with the available satellite radio and USB ports, it has a new Multi-Media Interface, still operated by a joystick-type controller, and a smorgasbord of connectivity, from Bluetooth to in-car wireless internet with integrated Google Earth and Local Search. With this package, the Q7 becomes its own rolling hotspot, with eye-catching maps delivered to the navigation system in the form of Google's captivating flyover view. Parents can play with the navigation while kids tether into wireless for portable music and gaming devices. Brilliant.
As for MMI itself, it's easier to use the controller to steer climate, phone, GPS and audio controls than ever before--but the buttons and switches that MMI was supposed to replace have almost made their way entirely back into the cabin.
You can't avoid MMI, but Audi's upscale audio options are worth the cost. For cold climates, there's also a cold-weather package with heated front- and second-row seats and a heated steering wheel. Four-zone climate control is probably a bit over the top, if you're looking for the smallest corners to cut.
Bring on the connectivity: this year's Q7 gets wireless Internet, Google Earth, and mapping over the air.