The Audi Q7 was first unveiled during the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2005, and was introduced to NA as a 2007 model a year later. The product has sold extremely well (over 500,000 units worldwide to date), which possibly explains why the company took a decade to plan its replacement. Now, having driven the all-new Q7, I’ll sum it up in the words of the legendary Eddie Cochran: It’s somethin’ else!
The all-new Audi Q7
The new 2016 Q7 looks substantially different from the 1st gen it’s replacing. It’s not as bold and in-your-face, which will likely further its appeal to a wider audience. It’s now more streamlined with perhaps just the slightest hint of sportwagon, yet still sizeable enough to perform the role of a proper SUV.
The flagship model is now 37 millimeters (1.5”) shorter and 15 millimeters (0.6”) narrower, while retaining virtually the same height. However, the interior actually allows for more space; there’s an additional 21 millimeters (0.8”) between the first and second row of seats, and headroom has increased by up to 41 millimeters (1.6”).
The big news, however, is the dramatic weight loss that the Q7 has undergone. The all-new Q7 is up to 325 kilograms (716.5lb) lighter than its predecessor, and this makes a huge difference to the performance and handling characteristics of the vehicle.
Power options include a 333 hp 3.0L TFSI V6, plus a 3.0L TDI diesel producing 272 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque (both boast 0-100 km/h times in the low 6 seconds and top speeds of around 150 mph). The TDI consumes on average just 5.7L/100km (41.3 US mpg), while the TFSI averages 7.7L/100km (30.5 US mpg). We can also expect to see the amazing new Audi Q7 e-tron Quattro arriving later (the first diesel-powered, plug-in hybrid with quattro drive in the premium SUV segment). According to the NEDC (New European Drive Cycle), the Q7 e-tron consumes just 1.7L/100km (138.4 US mpg), and is capable of up to 56 kilometres on a full charge of its lithium-ion battery.
Without doubt, the new 2016 Audi Q7 offers an absolute smorgasbord of modern tech. The new driver assistance systems -- including adaptive cruise control (with traffic jam assist), predictive efficiency assistant, trailer assist, and cross-traffic assist in the rear will all astound most buyers. In fact, no other production vehicle currently offers more in this area of technology.
It’s this which now sets the Q7 apart from its competitors. With groundbreaking features such as Trailer Assist (an industry first), the Q7 will not only reverse a trailer in a perfectly straight line, but will even turn said trailer in a pre-programed direction without the driver ever touching the steering wheel. Trust me, I’m quite familiar with reversing trailers (many are not), but this feature could make anyone look like a trailer King/Queen.
Driving the 2016 Audi Q7
The previous-gen Q7 was a glorious vehicle to drive, but this new version takes things to an entirely different level. The weight loss becomes immediately apparent the very first corner you throw the vehicle into. This simply inspires confidence, and each and every turn after becomes a place of joy.
It’s no secret that I’d rather choose luxury/convenience over certain modern safety features (like everyone else, I believe I can drive without such aids). However, Audi has cleverly woven its safety features into genuinely convenient roles. While I’m not actively seeking a vehicle to chauffeur me around, I was quite content to let the Q7 takeover during mind-numbing stop/start traffic, and while cruising down the highway.
Once the pavement ends, two off-road modes assists the 2016 Q7 in going even further, and the air-ride suspension enables its ground clearance to be raised by up to 9.6”.
There’s even an optional four-wheel steering system available on the new Q7 that improves stability at highway speeds whilst also reducing its turning circle within the city.
2016 Audi Q7 pricing
No official word on Canadian pricing as yet, but the word is to expect similar pricing to that of the current gen.
Comparing the new 2016 AudiQ7
There’s a whole pile of competition in the high-end luxury SUV game today, yet the new Audi Q7 is positioned right up there with the top contenders. In fact, with the most safety features available in its class, plus options such as the remarkable Trailer Assist, it could be said that Audi currently boasts the benchmark product in this segment.
I like the all-new Q7, I genuinely like it a lot!