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2011 Audi Q7 TDI Quattro Review and Test Drive
The Audi Q7 TDI, last reviewed here in 2009, is Ingolstadt’s largest and was eagerly awaited here for its combination of aggressive styling, overall useability, and good handling. Few vehicles provide seven seats, massive torque, and 21.5 mpg (10.94 l/100 km). Its optional towing package can handle up to 6,600 pounds (2,994 kg).
Buyers considering the Q7 diesel frequently also look at the BMW X5 xDrive35d, the Mercedes-Benz ML350 BlueTec, and the Volkswagen Touareg TDI.
INSIDE THE 2011 AUDI Q7 TDI QUATTRO
As we have come to expect of Audi, the interior is elegant and well executed. Leather upholstery and dual-zone climate control are standard, and high quality materials abound.
Audi upgraded the Q7 TDI’s interior for 2011, adding numerous standard features including hand-picked wood inlays, heated steering wheel power tilt/telescoping steering column, and 12-way power front seats. In addition, the TDI Prestige comes with ventilated seats and a large panoramic sunroof. Our Q7 had the $6,000 Premium Plus package, which included the aforementioned sunroof, navigation, xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights and turn signals, and a Bose stereo. 18” wheels and the vaunted Quattro all-wheel drive system are standard as well.
The layout of the dash
and driver’s area is clean and everything is easy to find. Seats are more than comfortable and are very supportive.
It took a while to get used to the quirky location of the glove compartment release button (it’s next to the display in the center stack) but this only baffled passengers who were overly curious and wanted to see what was inside. Audi’s MMI cockpit controller works well but, like any sophisticated system, takes time to get used to. The shortcut buttons around the controller help to some extent, but unlike BMW’s, which have different shapes so your fingers can recognize them, you basically have to look down to make sure you press the right one.
DRIVING THE AUDI Q7 TDI QUATTRO Under the hood is Volkswagen’s 3.0-liter turbo-charged V-6 diesel, producing 225 hp and 406 pound-feet of torque.
(The engine is shared with the VW Touareg) New for 2011 is an eight-speed automatic transmission (the Q7 TDIs of 2009 and 2010 had a six-speed auto) which mates quite nicely to the V-6. The horsepower may not sound like much but the 406 pound-feet of torque are more than sufficient to move this 5700-pound vehicle and, despite an anemic 8.3-second 0-60 mph rating, the thrust that it delivers makes it actually feel quicker than it is.
Inside the cabin, even upon cold starts, diesel noise is imperceptible. Once underway, it becomes obvious that the A pillars are a bit larger than one would expect and this somewhat reduces visibility..
Unfortunately, the transmission didn’t seem to do very much for fuel economy,. For the week that we enjoyed the Q7’s presence, we averaged 21.5 mpg (10.94 l/100 km), a figure that is unchanged from our 2009 Q.
The 0-60 time is, however 0.2 seconds faster with the new transmission.
(Audi prefers a lower-case “q”) all-wheel drive system works well, utilizing a self-locking center differential to deliver power where and when needed. Normally the system directs 40% of power to the front wheels and 60% to the rear but that can change when the system determines more traction is needed for a specific axle.
The Audi seemed equally at home on stretches of highway and winding roads and steering and braking were responsive for a vehicle of this size, with decent feedback.
The vehicle’s size was convenient when having to move very large objects (the second and third rows fold completely flat without having to remove the headrests), providing 72.5 cubic feet of cargo room behind the driver.
The Audi Q7 TDI is good looking, fast, quiet, and comfortable. If you need to drive six other people around or need to tow a boat or race car, and want good fuel economy (relatively speaking) while doing it, this may very well be the answer.
2011 Audi Q7 TDI Quattro Tiptronic Base price/price-as-tested $50,900/$58,275 Drivetrain Front engine, all-wheel drive Engine 3.0-liter turbocharged V-6 HP/Torque 225/406 Transmission 8-speed automatic Curb weight (lbs) 5,192 Wheelbase (inches) 118.2 Length x width x height (inches) 200.3 x 78.1 x 68.4 0-60 mph (seconds) 8.3 City/Highway fuel economy (mpg) 17/25