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2020 Audi Q7: First Drive Review

© Audi of America, Inc.

By Mike Meredith, AutoNXT


2020 Audi Q7

© Audi of America, Inc.

Introduced in 2007, the Q7 was Audi’s first entry in the luxury crossover market. Today Audi offers four Q variants that accounted for 60 percent of the German automaker’s U.S. sales in 2019. The Q7 is the second-best-selling model in the entire Audi lineup behind the smaller Q5. The all-new second-generation Q7 arrived for the 2017 model year, and now the 2020 Audi Q7 has refined styling, a refreshed interior and the latest infotainment and driver-assistance technologies. 


Exterior Updates

© Audi of America, Inc.

The most obvious styling update to the 2020 Audi Q7 is its large, octagonal Singleframe grille with six vertical chrome slats, flanked by standard LED headlights or available HD Matrix-design and Audi laser light. The lower front fascia adds a new front spoiler finished in Alu-optic. The side sills and rocker panels are revised, as well as the tailgate and rear diffuser. The slimmer LED taillights get connected by a chrome strip and feature a signature graphic that mimics the daytime running lights. New wheel designs include standard 19-inch 5-spoke star-design wheels with 20-inch Turbine-design wheels as standard equipment on Premium Plus and Prestige trims. Also available are 22-inch Audi Sport wheels in Matte Platinum.


Model Lineup

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The 2020 Audi Q7 is offered in three trim levels with two engine choices. The Q7 55 TFSI powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 is offered in Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige trims, while the Q7 45 TFSI powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine is offered in Premium and Premium Plus. The Q7 55 TFSI Premium starts at $60,800, the Premium Plus at $63,800 and the Prestige at $71,200. The Q7 45 TFSI Premium starts at $54,800 with the Premium Plus at $57,200. Prices do not include a destination charge of $995.


Under the Hood

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The Q7 55 TFSI is powered by an all-new turbocharged 3.0-liter TFSI V6 engine with a twin-scroll turbocharger located in the “V” of the engine, as well as a revised Audi valvelift system for improved responsiveness and performance. The new engine produces 335 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque — an increase of 44 lb-ft over the previous supercharged V6 — with peak torque available over a broader rpm range. Also offered is the Q7 45 TFSI powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter TFSI engine producing 248 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. Both engines are combined with an 8-speed Tiptronic transmission with standard quattro all-wheel drive. When equipped with the optional tow package, the Q7 55 TFSI can tow up to 7,700 pounds.


Inner Space

© Audi of America, Inc.

A big change for the 2020 Audi Q7 is an interior design theme adopted from the Audi Q8. The Q7 now has a dashboard that beautifully integrates dual touchscreens into the flow of the unit, unlike the current fashion of a tablet-like screen protruding from the top of the dash (the style of the 2019 Q7). A row of air vents stretches the width of the dash with a 10.1-inch display below and a second 8.6-inch display angled up at the front of the console. The upper screen controls infotainment and navigation functions, while the lower screen handles climate control, comfort and convenience functions and natural handwriting input. The screens respond quickly and offer both audio and haptic feedback.


Technology and Infotainment

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Audi’s new MMI touch response system is standard, and combined with the dual touchscreens replaces the rotary control in the center console and conventional buttons and controls for most functions — although there is still a volume control knob. The tradeoff is that some frequently used functions end up in sub-menus, which can become annoying. The Q7 features a Wi-Fi hotspot, natural voice control and with an Audi Connect subscription access to parking information, weather updates and Yelp reviews through the MMI system. Also standard is the second-generation Audi Virtual Cockpit with a high definition 12.3-inch display that can project satellite images or 3D city maps for navigation in front of the driver. A full-color head-up display is standard for the Q7 Prestige.


Seating

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Three rows of seating with room for up to seven occupants is standard for all 2020 Audi Q7 trim levels. The second-row folding seatback is divided 35/30/35, and the third row is split 50/50. Total cargo volume is 72.4 cubic feet behind the first row with the second- and third-row seats folded. The Q7 is a little smaller than its main competitors, the BMW X7 and the Mercedes-Benz GLS, both of which offer more third-row legroom and cargo capacity. 


Driver-Assistance Systems

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The 2020 Audi Q7 offers standard and available driver-assistance systems with adaptive cruise assist that combines adaptive cruise control, traffic jam assist and active lane assist. Available systems include a top view camera with virtual 360-degree surround view, intersection assist, turn assist and traffic-sign recognition.


Option Packages

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The 2020 Audi Q7 has an available Black Optic Package with black exterior accents and 21-inch bi-color black wheels. The Luxury Package adds Valcona leather individual contour seats, a massage function and an Alcantara headliner. The Warm Weather Package adds ventilated front seats, rear sunshades and 4-zone climate control. Also available is adaptive air suspension and rear steering, which reduces the turning radius at slow speeds and improves stability at higher speeds.


On the Road

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Cosseting occupants in the luxury and comfort of a beautiful Audi interior, the Q7 provides a quiet, comfortable ride on the highway, as expected from a high-end luxury vehicle. But the Q7 also has a different personality — an edge that makes it feel more like a sport sedan on winding mountain roads. In much the same way as the exterior design makes the Q7 look smaller than it is, the well-tuned suspension, precise steering and balanced handling make it easy to forget that the Q7 is a 5,000-pound vehicle.


Turbocharged V6 Power

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Our test vehicle was the Q7 55 TSI Premium Plus, and the combination of the new turbocharged V6 and 8-speed Tiptronic was well suited to any task, delivering plenty of power and easily finding the right gear in automatic mode. Shifts are quick and crisp in either automatic or manual mode using paddles behind the steering wheel. Four drive modes — Comfort, Dynamic, Auto and Individual — adjust steering effort, suspension, engine response and transmission mapping for different drive conditions. The steering is linear and nicely weighted, even though it doesn’t provide true feedback and is plenty responsive even in Comfort mode.


On-Sale Date

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The Q7 55 TFSI is on sale now with the Q7 45 TFSI scheduled to arrive soon. The high-performance SQ7 powered by a 500-horsepower turbocharged V8 is scheduled for later in 2020.


Right for You?

© Audi of America, Inc.

The subtle but significant exterior design updates for the 2020 Audi Q7 take an attractive design and sharpen it even further. Inside, the Q8-style dashboard raises the level of interior opulence, integrating many functions into the dual touchscreens. The 2020 Q7 delivers the level of comfort and luxury expected, but the balanced handling, sharply tuned suspension and responsive steering also make it fun to drive. Third-row seating is a little tighter than some competitors, but if you appreciate the balance of comfort and dynamic performance and only use the third row for short trips, the 2020 Audi Q7 could be the right choice.


Rating: 8.5

© Audi of America, Inc.

Pros: Excellent driving dynamics; new turbocharged V6; beautiful interior design with integrated touchscreens.

Cons: Tight third-row seating; less cargo space than others; some common functions within touchscreen sub-menus.

Bottom Line: Attractive, comfortable luxury crossover with powerful engine and engaging driving dynamics.

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