The Audi Q7 returns from a one-year hiatus with a full redesign for 2017. Ingolstadt’s flagship, three-row, seven-passenger SUV makes a splash with new styling inside and out and a budget- and fuel-conscious turbocharged four-cylinder base engine.
The Q7, which made its North American debut in time for the 2010-MY and has been waiting for a redesign ever since, shares the MBL II platform with the Volkswagen Touareg and Porsche Cayenne. It competes with the likes of the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class, and Volvo XC90, as well as the slightly downmarket Acura MDX.
In addition to a new, wagonlike exterior and a completely revamped interior —both of which are echoed in the recently redesigned A8 sedan — the 2017 has a new base engine: A turbocharged four-cylinder delivers 252 horsepower (hp), 273 pound-feet (lb.-ft.) of torque, and a combined fuel efficiency score of 22 miles per gallon (mpg) in combined city and highway driving.
The prior generation’s supercharged V-6 returns as an optional engine with improved mileage. Rated at 333 hp and 325 lb.-ft., the 3.0 matches the four-banger in highway fuel economy and only adds 1 mpg to the combo score.
Those numbers come courtesy of a 700-pound weight loss credited to its aluminum body panels and suspension components, as well as a new gearbox built around the 2015’s optional Quattro all-wheel-drive system, which is now standard throughout the lineup.
Critics have praised the new SUV’s handling and agility — particularly when equipped with an optional four-wheel steering and air suspension system — as well as its acceleration, stopping power, and towing, which maxes out at an impressive 7,700 pounds. The one knock on the Q7 is its cargo hold, which is listed at 14.8 cubic feet with all seats in place, which is small for its class.
The base Premium trim includes 18- or 19-inch wheels, a power liftgate, leather, xenon headlights, and forward collision warning with pedestrian detection. Upgrading to the Premium Plus and Prestige editions brings bonuses such as navigation (optional on the base model), keyless entry and ignition, a head-up display, and 19-speaker Bose surround-sound stereo.
The 2017 Audi Q7 is in showrooms now. Downgrading the base engine dropped the starting MSRP to $49,500; prices for Q7s equipped with the 3.0-liter V-6 start at $55,750 and max out just shy of $90,000.