2017 Audi Q7 Driving Impressions

Q7’s supercharged V6 engine accelerates with authority: quick, smooth and silent. You can’t feel the transmission shift up through its eight speeds. It’s possible to find yourself going 90 mph before you know it, and when you look down you can’t believe it. Ninety feels like seventy. It’s that smooth.

There are five modes to Audi Drive Select, including Comfort and Dynamic, which sharpens the throttle, transmission, steering, and suspension. There’s also Individual, to set those four things yourself; and Auto, which sets them at an optimum for overall performance, with sensors determining what’s optimum based on road conditions and the level of aggressiveness of your driving.

The suspension is new, multi-link at all four corners. Available are adaptive air suspension and four-wheel steering is available, which can turn the rear wheels up to five degrees, making turns tighter at slow speeds (great for head-in parking) and quicker at high speeds (great for emergency swerves). The adaptive air suspension can raise the chassis by 2.4 inches to give 9.3 inches of ground clearance, or lower it, while a sophisticated adaptive suspension can access up to 9.3 inches of ground clearance for offroad, or lower it by 1.2 inches for better freeway aerodynamics or better balance for canyon carving.

And the Q7 is one big SUV that you can actually enjoy in the twisty two-lanes. No tippiness.

However, we found the Active Lane Assist invasive, especially on two-lane highways. In its most aggressive settings, it constantly tugs at the steering wheel, to keep you perfectly dead-center in your lane. When unaware that it’s on, it can feel like something is wrong with the car, and it can be beyond annoying. You can turn it off with a tiny button at the end of the turn-signal stalk, but the default mode is On, so you must turn it off every time you start the car.

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