2011 Audi Q7 Introduction

The Audi Q7 is a big SUV that's big on refinement, comfort and features. The Q7 is derived from the same platform as the Porsche Cayenne and Volkswagen Touareg, but the Q7 rides on a longer wheelbase. The Q7 is also longer overall than the other two, and it is the only one to offer three-row seating. There are many other differences. We've noticed the Q7 offers a more compliant ride than the Cayenne or Touareg and it's more stable at high speed though less agile both in terms of handling and parking.

The 2011 Audi Q7 benefits from major engine and transmission changes. The 2011 Q7 is available with two new supercharged 3.0-liter V6 engines plus a 3.0-liter TDI turbodiesel V6. All 2011 Audi Q7s are matched to a new 8-speed automatic transmission for better performance and better fuel economy. (A V8 is no longer offered.)

The gas engines are both supercharged 3.0-liter V6s, the standard unit at 272 horsepower, and the new S Line Prestige version at 333 hp. The 3.0-liter diesel delivers 225 hp and 406 pound-feet of torque. Torque is that force that propels you away from intersections and up steep hills, and the diesel's impressive torque gives it an advantage over the gas engines. The diesel is also the easiest on fuel, and the logical choice for those planning on towing.

Every Audi Q7 comes with seven seats and all-wheel drive. Audi has decades of experience with quattro all-wheel drive. Safety features include a blind-spot warning system.

The Audi Q7 competes with other seven-seat luxury SUVs, such as the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, Volvo XC90. The smaller Lexus GX470 and the more comparable Lexus LX570 are more expensive.

We found the Q7 a paragon of driving elegance and interior refinement.

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