Long Term Verdict: 2007 Audi Q7 4.2 Premium

For chasing the wind. And windmills

Arthur St. Antoine
Jun 2, 2008
Photographers: Julia LaPalme, Arthur St. Antoine, Brian Vance, Jessica Germiller
Photo 2/7   |   2007 Audi Q7 front View
On the surface, the notion of paying north of $60,000 for a utility vehicle you'll never actually utilize seems absurd. Drive the Audi Q7, though, and rationalizations may set in. Against better judgment, you crave one.
The Q7 you see here entered our long-term- test fleet in January 2007. As more and more staffers returned from their first drives, we realized we had an unusual new arrival on our hands-and began a search for the proper word to describe it. The Q7 is...no, it's...it's quixotic, that's what it is. With this machine, Audi may have created the world's first "U-less" SUV. The Q7 is a sport-vehicle, plain and simple. Don't mention "utility"-the Q7 would rather not get its fingernails dirty.
Previous Updates
Long Term Arrival: 2007 Audi Q7
Long Term Update 1: 2007 Audi Q7
Long Term Update 2: 2007 Audi Q7
Long Term Update 3: 2007 Audi Q7
Long Term Update 4: 2007 Audi Q7
Long Term Update 5: 2007 Audi Q7
Long Term Update 6: 2007 Audi Q7
On paper, the Q7 4.2 Premium sure sounds SUV-like. Quattro permanent all-wheel drive is standard, as are a Torsen center diff and asymmetric torque distribution. Ground clearance is more than eight inches. The DOHC, 4.2-liter V-8 makes 350 horsepower and a sturdy 325 pound-feet of torque at 3500 rpm (80 percent of max torque is on tap by 2000 rpm). A six-speed automatic with Tiptronic and paddles allows plenty of manual control and boasts refinements (such as reinforced shafts and mountings) for heavy-duty use. Hill-descent control is standard. There's room inside for six plus a bit of cargo.
Photo 3/7   |   2007 Audi Q7 side View
Yet...yes, that quixotic thing again. You'd never take the 4.2 Premium off-road. For one thing, it's too pretty. The Q7 is one of those rare SUVs-sorry, "SVs"-that can make onlookers swoon. It radiates "rich." The inside is even richer, Audi at its charismatic best. Brushed aluminum, winking LED digits, divine leather, the snazzy MMI interface, the...hey! You're getting fingerprints on the vent controls!
Other bits offer further proof of the Q7's true intent. Our long-termer sported the optional 20-inch S Line alloys wearing low-profile 45-series Continentals. This combo helped deliver Catwoman moves and 0.82 g of grip, but didn't do much to instill the all-weather confidence of a true SUV. During the Audi's stay with us, more than one staffer was overhead asking, "Can I trade you the Q7 for your Brand X? I might, you know, do some off-roading this weekend."
Photo 4/7   |   2007 Audi Q7 side View
Look underneath, and the Q7 showcases numerous suspension pieces crafted in aluminum. The design work is worthy of a modern art museum but, again, practicality takes a back seat to engineering flair. The bona-fide off-road makers know that, when true grit is the primary objective, steel is a more resilient and dependable suspension material. Another indicator of "faux-SUVness": The rear hatch may look sleek, but as more than one driver noted, the cargo floor is high and deep inside-you'll smudge your pants against the dirty rear bumper leaning in for your stuff.
Photo 5/7   |   2007 Audi Q7 interior View
During its year-long stay, the Q7 traveled to our local Audi service department more than to the nearby mountains. Recalls mandated three visits; the problems proved relatively minor. A coolant-warning lamp haunted our rig like a ghost, suddenly appearing to staffers who were driving late at night and far from help but then, back in the service bay, refusing to prove its existence. The technicians never found a problem, though we were never able to banish the ghost entirely, either. An electric rear hatch that wouldn't close took a nearly week-long service stay to diagnose fully and repair. All problems were fixed under warranty and without charge. Not gratis was a bent 20-inch rim-the fault of a staff miscreant who has yet to come clean-which cost us $682.10 to replace.
By the time we bade farewell to our Q7, our collective assessments were mixed. Drive the Audi hard, on pavement, and it rewards as few of its classmates can. The V-8 snarls, the chassis locks down, the brakes erase velocity with ease. You're chasing the wind, and looking good. Yet the logbook also noted "hopelessly numb" steering, unappetizing squeaks and rattles, a year-long fuel-economy average of just 14 mpg, and...that stratospheric sticker. It costs big-money and patience-to carry six in such high-fashion, technological splendor.
Photo 6/7   |   2007 Audi Q7 engine
Perhaps it's fitting we conducted our long-term test primarily in the environs of Tinseltown. The Audi Q7 can raise your pulse and take your breath away, but as an SUV, its appeal is mostly due to great makeup and special effects.
From the logbook
"Driving the Audi is effortless. Want to whiz past slowpokes on the highway? Right foot down-you're gone. Want to control shifts yourself? Feel free-the response is quick, and the control is instantly rewarding. The S Line wheel and tire package provide too harsh a ride on the freeway, and I didn't get to experience the payoff (the improvement in handling)-because I didn't want to slosh ice and Mountain Dew all over the interior."
  • Allyson Harwood
"The old saw-you get what you pay for-is not true with this Audi. In order to raise the third-row seats, you have to push and hold the release button down, against the direction of travel, while pulling up in order to unlock the seats. It's more difficult than it sounds and is completely antithetical to user convenience. Fire that engineer."
  • Thomas Voehringer
Photo 7/7   |   2007 Audi Q7 badge
"I really like the blind-spot warning system on the Audi Q7. When another car is positioned in either the right or left blind spot, a light on the inner part of the respective sideview mirror housing lights up, warning you another automobile is sitting there. Should you not notice that light and if you put on your blinker and attempt to change lanes, then that light will flash at you three times, letting you know that perhaps you should stay in your lane."
  • Ron Kiino
"Naturally, I adore riding in any automobile being driven by Arthur St. Antoine, but this Audi Q7 is German, so of course it is the best. Like me. The Q7 is so happy for the eyes, you just can't say no to it. Like me. Also so great is the way the leather feels against...Verdammt! I have spilled my spaetzel on the nice Audi carpet!"
  • Heidi Klum

Our Car
Base price $60,620
Options S Line Sport Package ($2150: S Line 3-spoke multifunction steering wheel, 20-inch S Line wheels w/all-season tires, modified front grille, S Line bumpers & badges, brush-aluminum interior trim, headlight washers, full body paint), Audi Side Assist ($500)
MSRP, as tested $63,270
Total mileage 22,223
Problem areas Electric tailgate-latch failure, intermittent activation of coolant warning light (no problem found with cooling system)
Maintenance cost $0 (mfr provided)
Normal-wear cost $0 (mfr provided)
Recalls 3

2007 AUDI Q7 4.2 PREM. S LINE
POWERTRAIN/CHASSIS
Drivetrain layout Front engine, AWD
Engine type 90 V-8 alum block/heads
Valvetrain DOHC, 4 valves/cyl
Displacement 254.0 cu in/4163 cc
Compression ratio 12.5:1
Power (SAE NET) 350 hp @ 6800 rpm
Torque (SAE NET) 325 lb-ft @ 3500 rpm
Weight to power 15.4 lb/hp
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Axle/final 4.32:1/2.96:1
Suspension, front; rear Control arms, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multi-link, coil springs, anti-roll bar
Steering ratio 16.5:1
Turns lock-to-lock 2.7
Brakes, f;r 13.8-in vented disc; 13.0-in vented disc, ABS
Wheels 9.0 x 20 in, cast aluminum
Tires 275/45R20 110H M+S Continental 4x4 Contact
DIMENSIONS
Wheelbase 118.2 in
Track, f/r 65.0/66.0 in
Length x width x height 200.2 x 78.1 x 68.4 in
Ground clearance 8.1 in
Apprch/depart angle 24.0/25.0 deg
Turning circle 39.4 ft
Curb weight 5406 lb
Weight dist., f/r 51/49%
Seating capacity 6
Headroom, f/m/r 39.5/39.0/35.6 in
Legroom, f/m/r 41.3/37.1/29.2 in
Shoulder room, f/m/r 58.7/58.1/48.6 in
Cargo vol behind f/m/r 72.5/42.0/10.9 cu ft
TEST DATA
Acceleration to mph
0-30 2.5 sec
0-40 3.9
0-50 5.4
0-60 7.3
0-70 9.6
0-80 12.0
0-90 15.1
Quarter mile 15.5 sec @ 91.1 mph
Braking, 60-0 mph 121 ft
Lateral acceleration 0.82 g (avg)
MT figure eight 28.0 sec @ 0.59 g (avg)
Top-gear revs @ 60 mph 2050 rpm
CONSUMER INFO
Stability/traction control Yes/yes
Airbags Dual front, front side, f/m/r curtain
Basic warranty 4 yrs/50,000 miles
Powertrain warranty 4 yrs/50,000 miles
Roadside assistance 4 yrs/unlimited
Fuel capacity 26.4 gal
EPA city/hwy econ 14/19 mpg
MT fuel economy 14.0 mpg
CO2 emissions 1.22 lb/mile
Recommended fuel Premium

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Audi Q7

Fair Market Price
$45,596
Editors' Overall Rating
Basic Specifications
MSRP: $48,300
Mileage: 16 / 22
Engine: 3.0L V6
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