When we used to go to movie theaters (and we can’t wait to go back!) they had a selection of sizes on the popcorn, and we liked the largest one – mostly because they unapologetically put the motto “Big is More” right on the tub. Yes, a tub.
And the same is true of SUV’s – big is more. And if you need three rows of Audi SUV goodness, you can stop right here at the beautiful Q7. With some major improvements for the new Q7, it’s more than before. Let’s take a look.
Big and Beautiful
This is a gorgeous SUV.
Up front the massive octagonal grille – Audi calls it Singleframe – features six chrome slats for added bling, which nicely brackets the familiar four interlocking Audi rings. There’s a new front spoiler in aluminum optic, with massive intakes on the side to balance out the design. Keanu Reeves fans will appreciate the “Matrix-design” LED headlights that came with our tester’s Prestige Package. We love that the front end looks substantial and powerful, yet still has that clean tasteful design you expect from Audi.
Clean and tasteful also describes the profile. Modern and crisp, yet tall and substantial, it has real presence. Another nod to the optional Prestige Package, the 20-inch 5-spoke turbine design wheels fill out the massive wheel wells. It just looks so capable.
The taillight is especially expressive with a cool segmented LED design that looks very Audi-like, while a solid chrome strip spans between the light to tie it all together. Another large chrome 4 rings give instant identity on the back as well. The lower fascia has a nice chrome surround that pops off the black fascia for a sporty look.
The finishing touch was our tester’s Glacier White Metallic paint. It does make an already large vehicle look even more imposing, but it also highlights the tastefulness of the lines. It looks elegant and powerful, and a nice break from the black, silver and gray that seem so common in luxury SUVs.
The House of Elegance
Inside is pure Audi, which is to say modern and upscale. The first thing that hits you is the sheer size of the vehicle. It is wide and expansive with loads of elbow room. The driver’s environment is gorgeous – no one integrates digital more beautifully. The automaker was the first to serve up a razor sharp Audi Virtual Cockpit 12.3-digital gauge cluster that allows multiple views, including shrinking the tach and speedo while enhancing the navigation display. No games or low-res screens that look cheap or stuck on here! If that’s not enough, the Prestige Package also serves up a handy heads-up display.
The Q7 gets an upgrade in the infotainment set-up in the center console with two screens – a larger 10.1-inch upper for navi, audio and more, and a second 8.6-inch screen below for climate control and seat comfort. Unlike some systems we’ve seen, the two screens seem to get along nicely, and you instantly feel comfortable with them.
Speaking of feel, they are haptic, which means their pressure sensitive nature takes a little getting used to. You have to be deliberate, but we’ll take that over some recent competitors where accidentally brushing across the screen sent calamity in motion. Also, giant kudos for Audi remembering to leave a volume knob for the Audio system.
You also get all the tech you could want, and we occasionally found the Q7 fighting with our iPhone over who had control of Apple CarPlay, but in general it worked well. We did find that the wireless charger in the center console limited storage space.
We soothed ourselves with the standard Panoramic Sunroof, and the Premium Plus 3D Surround sound system with 19 speakers and 15-channel amplifier.
Audi doesn’t just wow you with tech, the use of materials is fantastic, with lush Okapi brown leather on multi-adjustable seats, dark piano trim contrasted with Gray/Brown fine grain ash natural wood inlays, and touches of chrome throughout the interior. Our Prestige Package interior also enjoyed multi-color ambient LED interior lighting that surrounds the cabin in soft light. Again, Audi knows the fine line between tasteful design and “look at me” showboating and stays clearly in the house of elegance.
Being a 7-passenger SUV means 3 rows of comfort, while the third row is still best for little ones for longer trips. That huge interior also means huge cargo carrying ability, and with power folding third row and easy folding 2nd row seats, all the room you could ever want is at your fingertips.
Goodbye Supercharger, Hello Turbo!
The most interesting news to us is Audi replacing the Supercharged 3.0-liter V6 that kicked out an impressive 333 horsepower for a new 335 horse, turbo 3.0-liter V6. 2 horses aren’t a lot to get excited about but, 44 more lb.-ft of torque (for a total of 369 lb.-ft) is a significant bump, and is especially appreciated in a big, heavy vehicle.
To access that torque you have to dip your toe into the throttle a bit, but when you do, the sweet and swift eight-speed automatic rewards you with 0-60 mph in the 5 second range – making our tester a Great White Shark on the hunt for smaller fish!
We especially liked hand shifting the automatic, the shifter is stubby and rewarding, and you feel like you have incredible control of the engine. Of course, Quattro all-wheel drive is along for the ride, and it serves up great traction, and also creates an amazingly agile and responsive chassis. This is a big SUV that feels like a mid-sized sport sedan!
We kept it in Sport Mode, and it is a superb balance with a comfortable ride, yet it’s always right there when you dial in steering and want to carve up a corner. The steering is typical Audi, light, smooth and feelsome. It’s incredibly easy to drive the Q7 very quickly.
The stuff where we always glow about with Europeans knowing how to tune a vehicle to perform – it’s all here. This is Audi mastery, and we just loved getting in and driving it every time. We treated our Q7 like a sports sedan, but if you treat it like a workhorse SUV, you can tow up to 7,000 lbs. Bring your toys!
Will it Break the Deutsche Bank?
This is a premium product, but we think you do get an awful lot for your dollar. The Q7 45 TFSI starts at $54,950. Stepping up to the 55 TSFI is worth it in our books, jumping from a 248 hp, 2.0-litre, turbo 4-cylinder, to our tester’s 335 horse turbo 6. That brings you up to $60,800.
Like most Europeans, total price is a measure of your restraint at the option bar. Ours showed little restraint – the Prestige Package is a cool $10,400 but has just about everything under the sun, plus a Cold Weather Package for $750 and a Towing Package for $750. Add in a reasonable $995 for Destination, and we range the bell at $74,280.
That sounds like a princely sum, but our recent BMW X5 xDr45e came in at $81,995. Load up a Volvo XC90 T8, and you’re over $79,000. Those are both hybrids, though, so we’ll say that Audi is very competitive in price with the other big players. Each one is wonderful in its own way, and also very unique in style, flavor, and feel. Drive them all and buy the one that speaks to you.
We loved the 2020 Audi Q7 55 TFSI, bold stunning looks, incredibly lush interior, and a delightful inspired drive. Big is more. And worth every penny!
Ben Lewis grew up in Chicago, and after spending his formative years driving sideways in the winter – often intentionally – moved to sunny Southern California. He now enjoys sunny weather year-round — whether it is autocross driving, aerobatics, and learning to surf.