Review: The 2021 Audi Q7 is handsome, sophisticated and composed

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The Audi Q7 continues to be a stylish and highly refined 3-row midsize luxury SUV with room for seven. Those in the far back, though, would profit from being young, short, and somewhat flexible.

Although 2021 is a quiet year for the Q7, this handsome midsize SUV features a number of packaging updates and additional driver assistance and safety features. Most notably, the 2021 Q7 entry-level model, the Premium, is now equipped with Audi Side Assist, the company’s name for a blind-spot warning system. The base Q7 also now has Pre Sense Rear and Pre Sense Front, two safety systems that automatically cinch the seat belts and close the windows (and sunroof) in the event of a front or rear collision.

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The Q7 interior is as rich and handsome as ever, the Virtual Cockpit gauge display (featuring Google
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Maps navigation) continues to impress us, and the power-folding third row makes it easy to improve cargo capacity.

Also see: This is the luxury car that costs the least over 5 years

Under the hood, the Q7’s two primary engines – a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder with 248 horsepower or a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 with 329 horsepower – provide satisfactory performance, but are nowhere near as thrilling as the 500-horsepower twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 in the potent but pricey SQ7 performance SUV, which made its debut last year.

The 2021 Audi Q7


Audi

Audi Q7 competitors include the BMW X5, the Mercedes-Benz GLE, and the Volvo XC90. Non-European competitors include the new Lincoln Aviator, which also is available as a hybrid.

2021 Audi Q7 pricing

The 2021 Audi Q7 has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) that starts at $54,950, plus a $995 destination charge. This is for a Q7 45 TSFI model in Premium trim.

Next up, the Q7 45 TSFI in Premium Plus trim: This 4-cylinder Q7 model, with standard Convenience Package, starts at $57,200.

The V6-powered Audi Q7 55 TSFI models start at $60,800 for the Premium, $63,800 for the Premium Plus, and $72,000 for the Prestige.

At the top of the lineup is the 500-horsepower 2021 Audi SQ7, which has an MSRP of $85,000 for the Premium Plus model and $91,200 for the Prestige. Fully loaded, an SQ7 can approach $115,000.

A 3.0-liter Q7 Prestige 55 TSFI, loaded with options, can hit $95,000. While an Acura MDX and a Volvo XC90 have lower starting prices, they don’t come with standard all-wheel drive. The entry-level Mercedes GLE also is less expensive, but it has neither all-wheel drive nor three rows of seating as standard. The BMW X5 costs more.

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Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their new 2021 Audi Q7. Resale values are expected to hold up well.

Which model is right for me?

2021 Audi Q7 45 TSFI Premium

Turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine
LED headlights/taillights
19-inch alloy wheels
Panoramic sunroof
Audi Side Assist
Power tailgate

2021 Audi Q7 45 TSFI Premium Plus

Wireless charging
Convenience Package
LED taillights w/dynamic turn signals
Virtual Cockpit
Bose 3D 19-speaker/558-watt audio system

2021 Audi Q7 55 TSFI Premium

Turbocharged 3.0-liter V6
Virtual Cockpit
LED taillights w/dynamic turn signals
Audi Side Assist

2021 Audi Q7 55 TSFI Premium Plus

Wireless charging
20-inch alloy wheels
Top-view/corner-view camera system
Bose 3D 19-speaker/558-watt audio system

2021 Audi Q7 55 TSFI Prestige

Adaptive air suspension
Adaptive cruise control
Head-up display
Matrix-Design LED headlights
Quad-zone automatic climate control

2021 Audi SQ7 Premium Plus

Twin-turbocharged V8 with 500 horsepower
S-tuned adaptive air suspension
Sport differential
All-wheel steering
21-inch alloy wheels
Sport seats
Valcona interior leather

2021 Audi SQ7 Prestige

Head-up display
Soft-closing doors
Driver Assistance Package
Heated steering wheel
Ventilated front seats
Heated rear seats

Driving the 2021 Audi Q7

If any company was going to turn something as unlikely as a 3-row premium-midsize-crossover SUV into an engaging drive, chances are it would be German. The Audi Q7 adds enjoyment to its impressive resume.

For day-to-day duty, the Q7 is quiet, refined, and supple. Yet it remains composed at higher speeds or when snaking roads come along. Even the steering feel is fantastic.

The adaptive suspension makes a great contribution to the dynamics, providing a wider range between comfort and sportiness. And one of the best reasons for choosing the Prestige trim is the availability of rear-wheel steering, which enhances agility and makes maneuvering easier.

Also see: Review: The 2021 Audi Q5 is tops among luxury compact SUVs

The 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine has sufficient punch for the average commute, able to push the Q7 respectably from standstill to 60 mph in around seven seconds, although not with a full complement of people and luggage. Anyone seeking greater power for high-speed passing and towing will appreciate the turbocharged 3.0-liter V6, which can send the Q7 sprinting to 60 mph in only 5.7 seconds.

The 500-horsepower Audi SQ7, meanwhile, performs that same feat in only 4.3 seconds. That’s scintillatingly quick for a 5,000-pound vehicle.

KBB spent a recent afternoon in an Audi SQ7 and came away impressed. This is a sporty Q7 with a raspy and forceful V8. The air suspension, with stiffer front bushings and all-wheel steering, is tuned for sharper response. Even though our particular test SQ7 (MSRP: $91,640) didn’t have the available active anti-roll bars or the quattro sport rear differential, it impressed us with its level cornering manners and its ability to power out of corners with excellent composure, aided by crisp paddle upshifts and the rear-biased quattro all-wheel-drive system. All the while, the driver and front passenger are comfortably ensconced in supportive sport seats covered in diamond-stitched Valcona leather.

Interior comfort

It doesn’t take a 4-ringed symbol in the middle of the steering wheel to tell an Audi cabin. The Q7’s interior is a prime example of a major Audi strength, where aesthetics and functionality work in harmony.

As in 2020, a dual-screen infotainment system that takes up most of the Q7’s center console. Choose the Virtual Cockpit as well (recommended) and the cabin takes on a high-tech (yet user-friendly) air that complements the clean lines and fine materials.

Luggage space behind the Q7’s third row of seats measures 14.2 cubic feet. By comparison, the Mercedes-Benz GLE has about 22 cubic feet of space behind its optional third row.

Exterior styling

The Q7 received a timely redesign for 2020, so little has changed for the 2021 model year. This latest Q7 looks conservatively contemporary, but with a sleekness that translates into beneficial aerodynamics. The Q7 has an impressively low drag coefficient of 0.32.

Audi fans will enjoy the LED turn-signal animation, while fans of big wheels can choose up to 22 inches in diameter. The Q7’s roofline isn’t as tall as some rivals, making it easy to access items lashed to the optional roof rack.

Favorite features

Virtual cockpit
This high-resolution 12.3-inch digital driver-information display is now Version 2.0, allowing the user to access regular things like road and engine speeds, plus satellite navigation images, without having to look at the central screen. It’s a standard feature in all but the entry-level model.

Adaptive air suspension
Offered at the Premium Plus level with the V6, Audi’s adaptive air suspension improves ride quality and handling. The system can raise the ride height by 2.4 inches for negotiating deep snow or light off-road situations. On the highway, it will lower the Q7 by an inch, improving aerodynamics and stability.

Standard features

A Q7 in base-level Premium trim is well equipped. In addition to the new safety features (Side Assist, Pres Sense Rear, Pre Sense Front), the Q7 is equipped with 3-zone automatic climate control, a dual-screen infotainment system (featuring a 10.1-inch upper screen and an 8.6-inch display beneath it), and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration.

Other standard Q7 hardware includes leather seating surfaces, heated front seats (with driver’s-side memory settings), keyless entry/ignition, a power-adjustable steering column, selectable driving modes, panoramic sunroof, power tailgate, six cup holders, four bottle holders, and a 10-speaker audio setup.

Factory options

Although the Premium trim is now available with the Convenience Package which includes a heated steering wheel and a top-view 360-degree camera, the Premium Plus is worth the extra budget. This is where the Virtual Cockpit comes in, along with a Bose audio system, top-view/corner-view camera system, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and exit assist. It’s also eligible for most of the equipment that’s standard in the topmost Prestige trim, including the adaptive suspension (as long as the V6 is also selected).

Other options include all-wheel steering, night vision with large-animal detection, heated rear seats/heated steering wheel, massaging front seats, bigger wheels, a rear-seat entertainment package, and a 23-speaker/1,920-watt Bang & Olufsen audiophile sound system.

An available Sport Package on the potent SQ7 model includes active roll stabilization, a sport differential, and red brake calipers.

Engine and transmission

The base engine in Premium and Premium Plus versions of the 2021 Q7 (called the Q7 45 TSI) is a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder unit generating 248 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. This is sent to all four wheels via Audi’s quattro all-wheel-drive system and an 8-speed automatic transmission. The tow rating for this 4-cylinder model is 4,400 pounds.

The turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 in the Q7 55 TSI develops 329 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque. Once again, an 8-speed automatic transmission is deployed. All-wheel drive is standard. Maximum towing capability here is 7,700 pounds.

As the top Audi Q7 offering, the 2021 SQ7 is powered by a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 with 500 horsepower and 568 lb-ft of torque, making it a competitor for the 523-horsepower BMW X5 M50i. Like the Q7 55 TSI model, the SQ7 has a max tow rating of 7,700 pounds. The SQ7 sticks to the familiar formula of quattro all-wheel drive and an 8-speed automatic transmission.

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 (Q7 45 TSFI):
248 horsepower @ 5,000-6,000 rpm
273 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/23 mpg

3.0-liter turbocharged V6 (Q7 55 TSFI):
329 horsepower @ 5,500-6,500 rpm
325 lb-ft of torque @ 2,900-5,300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/21 mpg

4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 (SQ7):
500 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
568 lb-ft of torque @ 3,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/21 mpg

This story originally ran on KBB.com.

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