For 2011, the Q7 receives minor exterior revisions, the new engines and transmission, and standard HD radio. Audi has not yet announced trims for 2011. However, the 2010 Q7 comes in several trims, the Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige, and the 2011 is expected to be similar. All models come standard with Audi's Quattro all-wheel drive system
Acceleration and PowerReviewers criticized earlier models of the Q7 equipped with V6 and V8 engines for being sluggish and providing less power than class leaders. That has changed for 2011 with the introduction of two new supercharged 3.0-liter V6 engines. They make 272 and 333 horsepower, respectively (software tweaks give the two engines different power levels) – those figures make them some of the most powerful in the Q7’s class, and it shows. Reviewers absolutely love the extra power, noting that even the lower-output engine is more than adequate.
The Q7’s turbodiesel 3.0-liter TDI V6 continues on and makes 225 horsepower. The diesel model receives praise because it sounds and performs just like a gasoline engine, but with much better fuel economy than the Q7's conventional engines.
All three engines are paired with a new eight-speed automatic transmission that alone is expected to improve fuel economy by around four percent. Audi hasn’t yet announced fuel economy figures, but reviewers speculate the 2011 Q7 could get as much as 16 miles per gallon in the city and 21 mpg on the highway. Any improvement would be welcome, as the 2010 Q7’s gasoline engines are rated at just 14/19 and 13/18 city/highway. By luxury midsize SUV standards, these ratings are low.
Several of the Q7's competitors, including the Lexus RX 350, get more miles per gallon than the 2010 model and even cost less. The Q7 TDI, on the other hand, achieves a much more impressive gas mileage of 17/25 city/highway, which bests most of its rivals -- but it also commands an extra $4,000 on top of the Q7’s already expensive base price.
Handling and BrakingA majority of reviewers have long noticed that the Audi Q7 has a distinct disadvantage on the road when it comes to handling -- its hefty weight. In the past, they have said its size and weight can make parking-lot maneuvers difficult. However, the 2011 Q7 doesn’t receive the same complaints. In fact, reviewers say its light on its feet -- most likely due to its new supercharged engine. Audi's Quattro all-wheel drive system continues to be standard for all trims
SeatingThe seven-seat Audi Q7 has a large exterior, and it's spacious inside too. As is typical for the class, however, while the first and second rows comfortably fit most adults, reviewers say the third row is barely even livable for small children. Few of the Q7's competitors offer third rows, and those that do (such as the Lexus GX and Acura MDX) receive similarly poor reviews for comfort.
A plus for families who anticipate spills or stains is that leather upholstery is standard. An optional six-passenger configuration for Prestige models replaces the second row middle bench with a fixed center console. An optional Cold Weather Package adds heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel.
Interior FeaturesThe Audi Q7 is luxurious and well-equipped. Audi has not yet released a full list of features for 2011, but the 2010 model comes with dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, a power tailgate, Bluetooth capability and a six-disc CD changer. HD radio is newly standard for 2011.
The Multi Media Interface (MMI), standard on higher trims, operates the information, navigation and entertainment systems -- but many have found it difficult to learn and use in the past. The system now works with voice commands, and the navigation portion gets a 3D display and joystick control.