The 2020 Audi Q7 3.0 Quattro, By the Numbers
- Base Price (As Tested): $61,795 ($72,195)
- Powertrain: 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder engine | eight-speed automatic transmission | all-wheel drive
- Horsepower: 335 horsepower @ 5,000 rpm
- Torque: 369 pound-feet @ 1,370 rpm
- EPA Fuel Economy: 17 mpg city | 21 highway | 18 combined
- Seating Capacity: Seven
- Cargo Space: 30.5 cubic feet with third-row seats down | 72.4 with all seats down
- Towing Capacity: 7,700 pounds
- The Promise: Finally a competent competitor to Mercedes and BMW.
- The Delivery: No longer the ugly duckling of German crossovers, the Q7 wows in a way that’s bound to make you smile.
Journalists and customers have given Audi negative marks for years over its bland exteriors, the company’s styling bleeding together until it became difficult to tell each apart. But while there are still vestigial Audi adornments to the Q7’s surface, the changes the company’s made help differentiate the Q7 from it’s smaller siblings, chiefly, a brand-new octagonal grille design. Audi knows that horizontal slats are so last season and, more importantly, made the Q7 look like a cherubic chunk. Swapped over are slimming vertical slats that also serve as the focal point of the front end, according to Audi’s designers.
Framing the Vogue-ready grille are two all-new LED headlights, new daytime running lights, and redesigned air intakes at the bottom of the Q7’s bumper, which was also given “more sport” thanks to a more aggressive front spoiler. These changes are mirrored in the rear, where new taillights are separated by a new chrome trim piece running the entire width of the tailgate. And although not as apparent as those other exterior changes, the Q7’s sides get a slight redesign awarding the SUV a svelter look while new aluminum-look rocker pannels add some sweet, sweet Quattro branding. Audi gave the Q7 new shoes as well, with wheel designs ranging from 19 to 20 inches.
The exterior changes are more than significant for a midcycle refresh and do a great job at moving the Q7 upmarket, but it’s the SUV’s redesigned interior that finally brings the heat to the likes of Mercedes-Benz and BMW.
Do you like physical buttons to change the radio, volume, navigation, HVAC, and the seat’s heaters and coolers? Too bad. Audi knows that the future is all digital and replaced some 43 physical buttons with glorious touchscreens ready to be smudged by your greased up burger hands. Three screens now make up the bulk of the controls inside the cabin, with Audi’s ubiquitous Virtual Cockpit gauge cluster delivering vital driving information, and two new touchscreens stacked atop one another making up the infotainment and HVAC controls in the center stack. The upper screen controls the infotainment, while the lower controls climate, seat functions, as well as other items like Start/Stop, and Hill Descent. New tech for the Q7 includes an updated version of Audi’s infotainment that now features haptic feedback on the two center capacitive touchscreens, a head-up display, and wireless (and wired) Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
There is, however, real divisiveness about whether “sporty” luxury SUVs like the Q7 should be a thing, let alone high-performance units like the RS Q8. Should there be more push for off-road performance? Or given their general use, more care be given to their on-road comfort, family-friendliness, or luxury accouterments like a light-up hood ornament that tells everyone at the supermarket you can afford imported sheet metal and have no taste?
As a dad of three, I lean toward the spectrum of utility, but the enthusiast in me understands that even while running errands, I want to feel inspired to take the long way home from time to time. Audi’s new Q7 strikes the right balance between mundane chores and driving pleasure that often appears convoluted in other luxury SUVs. Steering, pedal response, suspension, and other settings can be heavily influenced by toggling between Comfort, Sport, or Individual driving modes, each fine-tuning the car’s response depending on the driver’s preferences or road conditions.
Comfort was my mode of choice for city driving as it lightened the steering wheel’s resistance and softened the suspension, making it extra cushy getting around town during rush hour. The marquee’s engineers designed the Q7 to feel nimble and easy to maneuver despite its 5,082-pound curb weight. Sport mode does the opposite, stiffening everything and offering more responsive dynamics when need to be. On some of the windy roads outside of Palm Springs, California, the Q7 waltzed through corners like it weighed 2,000 pounds less, with its standard Quattro all-wheel-drive actively distributing the 369 pound-feet of torque to whichever axle/wheel needed it most. The nicely calibrated eight-speed automatic transmission was so intuitive, I hardly found myself wanting to use the paddle shifters. Audi also offers four-wheel-steering, but I hardly noticed a need for it.
Additionally, though the turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 isn’t the most spritely of units, the engine offers more than enough low-end torque to allow for seriously fun driving, charging from corner to corner. Better yet, torque kicks in at just 1,370 rpm (that’s diesel territory and we triple checked the spec’s accuracy with Audi) so you don’t have to wind up the engine to crazy-high rpm or speeds to have that fun.