- Excellent digital gauge cluster display
- Calm, quiet ride quality
- Sporty SQ7 model now available
- Tiny third-row space
- Uninspired exterior styling
- I-4 engine performance underwhelms
Audi Q7 Expert Review
The Audi Q7 is a three-row luxury SUV. It offers seating for seven with abundant technology and upscale appointments, while being smaller than some other three-row SUVs on the market. The first-generation Q7 was Audi's first-ever SUV when it went on sale for model year 2007. The current second-gen Q7 was introduced for the 2017 model year, and it receives an extensive mid-cycle refresh for 2020.
Updates for 2020 include revised exterior styling: New wheel designs are available, while the updated front and rear fascia feature new headlights and taillights. The interior is redesigned too, with a new dashboard layout and dual-display infotainment system. Two new engine options are available, and the high-performance SQ7 joins the lineup in the United States for the first time.
The Audi Q7 was an originator in the three-row luxury SUV space, but that's no longer the case. In recent years, offerings from European, American, and Asian brands have made the segment more competitive than ever. Still, the Q7 remains compelling.
In one of our early drives of the Q7, we quickly realized the SUV delivers on its luxurious intentions. Starting with the Volkswagen Group's excellent MLB Evo platform enabled Audi to give the Q7 athletic handling; it drives more like a lifted A6 wagon than a chunky SUV. That said, the Q7's capabilities don't make it particularly exciting to drive, especially compared to SUVs that share the MLB Evo platform. Nonetheless, the platform's rigidity eliminates all squeaks from the cabin, and the Q7 remains impressively quiet inside at any speed.
Previous experiences with the entry-level I-4 engine produced middling results; it verges just above feeling underpowered. Certainly, the new-for-2020 turbocharged V-6 will help remedy that, and the twin-turbo V-8 in the SQ7 even more so.
Technology is abundant in the Q7. Its digital gauge cluster display impresses, and the new dual-display infotainment setup introduced for 2020 should increase that effect. Its driver-assist and active safety systems work quite well, too.
Although the first and second row are plenty roomy, the third is cramped. It's tight even for preteens, and the three-section folding second row makes it difficult to access in the first place.
In today's crop of luxury three-row SUVs, the Q7 is worth consideration. Although it's not as outright spacious as some larger SUVs, its comparatively small size may be of benefit. In either case, its luxurious interior, excellent technology, and refined driving dynamics keep it competitive among other upscale seven seaters.
Regardless of trim or engine, all Q7 models feature AWD and an eight-speed automatic transmission. For 2020, the entry-level Audi Q7 engine is a 2.0-liter turbo-four that produces 248 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. Models with this engine are denoted by 45 TFSI designation. In MotorTrend testing, a four-cylinder Q7 accelerated from 0-60 mph in 7.0 seconds. Fuel economy for this Q7 variant has not been determined by the EPA for 2020, but for previous model years earned 19/25 mpg city/highway.
A new mild-hybrid turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 is the Q7's upgrade engine for 2020. It produces 335 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque, an increase of 44 lb-ft over last year's supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 engine. Models with the V-6 are badged 55 TFSI. Larger brake rotors are added when the V-6 is equipped. MotorTrend has not yet tested a Q7 with this engine, but Audi claims a 0-60 mph time of 5.7 seconds. EPA-rated fuel economy measures 17/21 mpg.
Audi's offered sporty variants of the Q7 for a while, but never in the U.S.—until now. For 2020, the SQ7 will be sold in North America and packs a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 cranking out 500 hp and 568 lb-ft of torque, enabling an Audi-claimed 0-60 mph time of 4.3 seconds. Numerous chassis enhancements promise to sharpen handling and responses over standard Q7 models. BMW M and Mercedes-AMG have offered similar vehicles in the U.S. for a while, so we're thrilled the brand with the four rings finally has a competitor in this niche.
From the IIHS, the 2020 Q7's standard automatic emergency braking system earns the highest score of Superior, as it avoided a collision in the 25-mph test and reduced speed by 11 mph in the 12-mph test. Crashworthiness was last evaluated on the 2019 model, which earned top Good scores in all tests. However, the 2019 model earned the lowest Poor ranking for the performance of its standard headlights, and a second-lowest Marginal score for its headlights with high beam assist. It's possible the 2020 Q7's updated headlights will perform differently than last year's model.
Standard driver-assist and active safety features include automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and front and rear parking sensors. Adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, and side and rear cross-traffic alert are available on higher-end models.
With all seats upright, cargo volume measures 30.5 cubic feet. Folding the third and second row expands cargo volume to 72.4 cubic feet of capacity.
Front-row headroom measures 39.9 inches, and legroom 41.7 inches. In the second row, there are 38.8 inches of headroom and 38.8 inches of legroom. Third-row headroom and legroom measure 35.9 and 29.2 inches, respectively.
For 2020, the Q7's infotainment system is updated with a new interface and software. All trims feature a 10.1-inch upper touchscreen for infotainment and GPS navigation functions, while an 8.6-inch lower touchscreen manages climate control and convenience functions, as well as providing a surface for handwriting recognition inputs. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Bluetooth streaming audio are included. Two USB ports in the first and second row are available. All trims also include Audi's Virtual Cockpit digital gauge cluster, which puts a 12.3-inch screen in front of the driver instead of conventional analog gauges. Prestige models are equipped with a head-up display. The Premium trim's standard audio system has 10 speakers, Premium Plus models have a 19-speaker setup, and Prestige trim adds a 23-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system.
2020 Audi Q7 Premium 45 TFSI: Entry-level Q7 models have 19-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and taillights, aluminum roof rails, a rear spoiler, and heated power-adjustable side mirrors with power-folding operation. Like all trims, a panoramic moonroof is standard. The interior has leather seating surfaces, heated and power-adjustable front seats, aluminum and gray wood trim panels, and aluminum door sill kick plates. Convenience features include front a power-operated tailgate as well as keyless entry and start.
2020 Audi Q7 Premium 55 TFSI: This trim adds the more powerful V-6 engine, but all content and features carry over from the four-cylinder Premium trim.
2020 Audi Q7 Premium Plus 45 TFSI: Compared to Premium, the only exterior change for Premium Plus trim is auto-dimming functionality for the side mirrors. Inside, it gains ambient lighting and illuminated door sill kick plates. Technology is upgraded with a signal-boosting phone box and 19-speaker sound system. Side and rear cross-traffic alert, rear-end collision preparation, and a 360-degree view parking camera system add to the driver-assist features.
2020 Audi Q7 Premium Plus 55 TFSI: Choosing the V-6 engine on Premium Plus trim adds 20-inch wheels. All other content and features carry over from the four-cylinder Premium Plus model.
2020 Audi Q7 Prestige 55 TFSI: Range-topping Prestige trim can only be had with the V-6 engine under the hood. It rolls on 20-inch wheels, has enhanced LED headlights, and is the only trim that can be optioned with adaptive air suspension. The interior gains ventilation and lumbar adjustment for the front seats, sunshades for the rear and rear side windows, extended ambient lighting, four-zone automatic climate control, and a head-up display.