As my colleague, Enzo, would say it, "to most people, a car isn't just something to get them from point A to point B - it is more the intangible things about them that make one a part of your life - your family." Those intangibles are what we try to pass on to our readers on Opus Macchina through our own experiences. The Audi Q7, aside from all the great numbers on its spec sheet, had a lot of those intangibles for my family.
Before we get into them, let us start with what most people may already know. The Q7 has a crazy powerful three liter turbo diesel powerplant. With all that power, the new Q7 was able to shed a massive 700 pounds, making it a ridiculously light SUV by redesigning the axles and using an abundance of aluminum on the body.
All this weight saving work by the Audi engineers make the "Mr. Practical family man" side of me jump for joy at the thought of even more peso savings in feeding its diesel diet, plus the added agility and speed to boot. Calling the Q7 fast is an understatement. It's such an understatement because keeping it within the legal speeds of the highway is close to impossible - it is literally a feat for your right calf - thank god for cruise control. This SUV will probably have that thing you have in your garage for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Now on to the great stuff.
This 2017 model, like all Audis, is simple, modern, and elegant. Some may think it is a bit too clinical in design and lacking in personality, but I like that. I like understated. I like not being noticed much. But seriously, I'd notice these sharp lines from a mile away. It is my cup of tea I suppose. I agree that the 2017 isn't for the likes of Slash, Dennis Rodman, Sting or James Bond. The Audi design befits more the likes of Orlando Bloom, Jessica Alba, and even Jake Gyllenhaal.
As I initially entered the cabin when I picked up the Q7 from Audi Greenhills, most notable were the LED lights bathing the interior. Striking lines and soft flood lights all around set the mood for yourself and your passengers. I proceeded to tinker with the infotainment settings and found that the lights could be personalized to your own style and mood. I picked red for the lines and white for the floods. The Q7 had become me.
As I left the showroom and proceeded to our studio, more details like a proper working nav system, and countless ways to connect your media devices was present. Granted, CarPlay wasn't available, but the system was nothing less than intuitive. Myself being a gadget freak, Audi just scored some major points. Bluetooth pairing was effortless. Attaching my iPhone via a USB cable was an instantaneous affair. Connecting via wifi was even supported.
As I took the Q7 with my family out of town, I switched Audi's Drive Select to comfort mode. For a couple seconds, you could feel the Q7 ride height change to give the passengers, as you may have guessed already, a comfortable experience.
As the driver, I immediately felt the steering become much lighter, the throttle less impatient, and the suspension give the body more play and roll. When the roads opened up and got smoother, my fingers accidentally found its way to select dynamic mode. The Q7 hunkered down, the steering stiffened, and the accelerator pedal ticklish.
It was ALIVE!
As the sun started to set, and the journey seemed to hit a dead end, I switched the Q7 to off-road and descended to a grassy field that was littered with holes and rocks that made the engine crackle and pop at high RPMs - that sound was stupendous! A few minutes later, as we returned to the paved roads, the auto headlights turned itself on, and daylight! The Q7’s LED headlights were as bright as day, and navigating the narrow unlit mountain roads was just so uneventful. Here, in the twisties, the Audi Quattro drivetrain defied physics as I knew it - I knew I was driving an SUV, but the Q7 took the turns like a TT.
Audi, through German precision engineering, has been able to create a large machine that seemed to defy the laws of physics. What they haven’t been able to engineer though, is the feeling and feedback of a real mechanically connected steering wheel. Audi could also improve on the sound system which, to be honest, wasn’t bad at all - it sounded better than most stock systems, but that only means above average. What did catch my attention was the lack of audible warning when you’re driving the car with a door not properly shut - hopefully this is something that can be updated via software.
All in all, the Q7 is a marvel of modern human engineering, and Audi has created a family vehicle with technology that allows one to personalize many aspects that make different individuals with different tastes feel like they are in their own space.
It’s just a matter of time before cars start flying and driving themselves, but in the meantime, we have great cars like the Audi Q7. Prost!
Ex-Public Highway Racer