The 2017 Audi Q7 is the long-awaited complete redesign of Audi’s flagship SUV. With technology that is cutting-edge and elegantly integrated, the Q7 sets a new standard for connectivity. Add the confident Quattro all-wheel drive system, and the Q7 is hard to beat in this competitive segment.
At its launch, the 2017 Audi Q7 comes in only one variant: The Q7 3.0T includes a supercharged 3.0-liter V6, an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. Premium Plus and Prestige packages are available as are several option bundles. Like many new models, the Q7 has gone on a diet, losing up to 700 pounds in its redesign, according to Audi.
The Q7 retains its conservative exterior styling, while adding modern LED lighting signatures. The interior continues the buttoned-down theme, with excellent materials and quality. With optional packages, the Q7 can be equipped with an impressive array of the latest technology available from Audi.
While some luxury carmakers have moved to bold, in-your-face exterior designs, Audi holds onto a more elegant, conservative design for the Q7. A large, chrome-rimmed trapezoidal grille leads the way, flanked by headlight clusters with signature LED running light patterns. Xenon headlights are standard, with full LEDs available.
It’s a bit trimmer than the outgoing model, with character lines that sweep upward along the profile, which gives the Q7 a slightly athletic stance.
Standard are 19-inch wheels, with 20- and 21-inch designs available. Twin rectangular exhaust outlets fit neatly into the lower bumper fascia.
Elegantly understated best describes the 2017 Q7’s interior. Leather seating surfaces are standard with higher grades available, including Valcona leather heated and ventilated front seats with a massage function. The high-gloss wood and plastic surfaces cause some concern, as they tend to readily show scratches.
The integration of best-in-class technology is excellent, with Audi’s available 12.3-inch virtual cockpit screen representing the best example in the market of a customizable dash.
The central navigation and infotainment screen rises from the top of the dash when the vehicle starts and surprisingly, given its location, doesn’t exhibit too much glare.
Second-row space is excellent, but the third row is very tight and somewhat difficult to access. Third-row headroom is also a bit compromised by the descending roofline, but it’s unlikely you’ll have adults back there anyway. Cargo space is ample, flat and flexible, though the roofline again limits the height of your cargo. USB ports for the second row would be a welcome addition.
The sole drivetrain combination available at launch is a 333-horsepower, supercharged V6 that’s linked to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. Its 325 pound-feet of torque is available over a band from 2,900 to 5,300 rpm. The nearly 5,000-pound Q7 is deceptively fast for its size and weight. It’s quicker than many of its European counterparts, touting a 0-60 mph time of 5.7 seconds.
The Q7’s all-wheel drive system remains one of the best in the business, with torque vectoring technology that helps keep it on the desired trajectory even when conditions are less than optimal.
All-wheel steering is available. Multiple Drive Select settings allow drivers to manage many parameters of the vehicle’s performance and ride with one selection.
The Q7 tops the mileage of many in its class with EPA ratings of 19/25 mpg city/highway, though competitors offer diesel options with significantly higher ratings than the gasoline-only Q7.
Audi pioneered many of the connectivity and infotainment technologies now spreading across the broader market, but the Q7 brings all of them together in a more cohesive, elegant and intuitive way than ever.
Not only is the 2017 Q7 available with the spectacular virtual cockpit that replaces the traditional gauge cluster with a 12.3-inch display, but the Q7 also features the best implementation of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto that we have seen.
The Q7 features a number of ways of communicating with its systems, including voice commands and a touchpad that accepts fingertip handwriting and gives haptic feedback. For users of Apple CarPlay, the voice of Siri guides you to your familiar apps, including messaging, mapping and telephone functions.
Once again, Audi has done a spectacular job of integrate a vast array of safety features into the Q7 without making them intrusive. With available adaptive cruise control and active lane keeping assist (part of the $2,400 Driver Assistance package), Audi continues to move us closer to autonomous driving, though in the Q7 they function as safety systems that keep fatigued or inattentive drivers out of trouble.
The 2017 Q7 features an exceptionally clear array of exterior cameras, with images seamlessly merging to create a detailed overhead view of the SUV.
Individual camera views can be selected on the central display screen.
Forward collision warning and mitigation is standard. The system can identify other vehicles and pedestrians, and automatically brake to avoid or mitigate the severity of an accident.
The 2017 Audi Q7 starts at $54,800 (plus $950 destination) which is an attractive price for a high-performance three-row luxury SUV. Still, the base Q7 lacks many of the features that truly make it stand out from the competition. A $69,000 Q7 earns you most of the advanced safety systems plus the Audi Virtual Cockpit. Check all of the option boxes, and a Q7 can reach upwards of $80,000.
The base price tops the award-winning 2016 Volvo XC90 and the 2016 Acura MDX by more than $10,000, and the Mercedes-Benz GLS by $3,000.
Though not the best value in the class, or the most likely to stand out from the crowd, the 2017 Audi Q7 excels with a staggering amount of well-integrated, intuitive and cutting-edge technology. Add a strong engine, a revised version of Audi’s exceptional Quattro all-wheel drive system and a plethora of advanced safety equipment and the Q7 becomes a compelling choice.
Plus, the virtual dashboard is just plain cool.