The Audi Q7 is a luxury crossover that seats seven, in three rows of seats. The first two rows deliver fabulous comfort, while the third row is sized for small passengers. In the third year of its second generation, the Q7 is very high-tech and impressively built, with features and finishes that soar above its price.
The changes for 2019 are all in equipment for the three models. Navigation now comes with the Premium trim, while the Premium Plus Trim gets Audi’s Virtual Cockpit featuring a digital display, a surround-view camera system, LED headlights and taillights, and wireless phone charging. The optional 20-inch wheels get run-flat tires.
Every Q7 uses an 8-speed automatic transmission with all-wheel drive. There are two engines, although we suggest the supercharged V-6 is a better deal than the turbocharged inline-4, because the V-6 brings much more power for the same fuel mileage.
Both engines are EPA-rated at 19 city, 25 highway, and 21 combined mpg, on premium fuel. There is an available start/stop system that shuts off the engine at stops, saving a tiny bit of fuel.
The NHTSA gives the Q7 five stars overall for safety, with four stars for forward collision and rollover risk.
The 2019 Audi Q7 comes well-equipped with active safety tech as standard, and more systems are available. With the IIHS, a â€œMarginalâ€ headlight rating for non-LED lights keeps the Q7 from being a Top Safety Pick. In crash tests, it got the top â€œGoodâ€ ratings in every category, and a â€œSuperiorâ€ for crash prevention technology.
The three models are Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige. Premium, starting at $53,550, is very well equipped, with leather upholstery, a 7.0-inch infotainment screen, satellite navigation, Bluetooth, wood trim, heated and power-adjustable front seats, a panoramic moonroof, power-folding third row seats, and automatic emergency braking with forward-collision warnings. Rear side airbags cost another $350.
The Virtual Cockpit system of digital instrumentation is not available on Premium Q7s.
The Premium Plus is a good value, adding the Virtual Cockpit and other desirable features like the superior LED headlamps, LED interior lighting, a surround-view camera system, and Bose speakers, for a price that’s less than the base plus the cost of those features. Options include an impressive Bang & Olufsen sound system. A suite of active safety features is optional, including automatic high-beam headlights, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, and traffic sign recognition.
The Prestige, at more than $65,000, adds 20-inch wheels, heated front seats, automatic door closers, and many other features. A Luxury package adds upgraded leather, massaging and cooled front seats, and an Alcantara headliner. Air suspension is available.
The Q7’s shape is businesslike. It wears straight lines with slightly rounded edges like a crisply pressed suit. The massive grille blends into tidy LED headlights, above a set of large and busy-looking air intakes below them.
The Q7 cabin is beautiful and functional, one of the best we know of, with the highest quality in materials: standard leather upholstery, wood trim with metal accents, soft-touch plastics, LED ambient lighting, and a choice of colors.
The front seats are comfortable and supportive for long driving periods. The legroom in the second row is excellent; three people can fit back there okay, but not generously. The third row is for small people.
Cargo space behind the third row is limited. But with the third row folded at the push of a button into a flat floor, the space behind the second row is generous.
Four-zone automatic climate control is available.
The standard engine in the Premium and Premium Plus models is a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder making 252 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque, in a car that weighs about 5,000 pounds. It’s not really slow, with a zero-to-60 mph time of a quite reasonable 7.1 seconds (smaller crossovers can take up to 10 seconds). If you’re going to spend more than $50,000 for a luxury crossover, you might as well drop another $6,500 and get an engine that enables the car to be what it can be.
That would be the supercharged 3.0-liter V-6. It makes an energetic 333 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque, using the same efficient 8-speed automatic with all-wheel drive. It accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in a brisk 5.7 seconds, and gets the same fuel mileage as the smaller engine. The 8-speed automatic shifts quick and doesn’t hesitate.
The ride in the Q7 is one of the most comfortable we’ve ever tested. And that’s with the standard suspension, before you even add the available air suspension, available on only the Prestige, that makes it even more supple. Even the larger wheels don’t affect the quality of the ride, as they commonly do with other vehicles, because of the narrower sidewalls of the tires.
Despite the weight of the Q7, the steering is relatively precise and has a light but direct feel. The Q7 is about as agile and responsive as two-and-a-half tons of forward momentum can be. It’s not exactly sporty, and the Q7 is not the mount for canyon carving because there is pronounced body roll, but it still feels secure and planted.
The standard Drive Select system modifies throttle response, shift points, and steering effort, and can also raise and lower the air suspension, so the Q7 can be an SUV with versatile behavior.
The 2019 Audi Q7 has many exciting rivals. In its favor, it has a beautiful cabin, a supple ride, a powerful supercharged V-6, a smooth transmission, and good handling.
by Sam Moses, with driving impressions from TheCarConnection.