Despite the damage, this was an important exercise in evaluating the new 2007 Audi Q7. Its maker bills it as a “performance SUV,” one equally capable on and off the pavement, and thanks to the varied terrain and roads north of Phoenix we were able to give the Q7 a thorough shakedown to determine if this represents a case of truth in advertising. Indeed, Audi has crafted a performance SUV by its definition, a handsome, luxurious, and spacious do-it-all kind of vehicle that the well-heeled will thoroughly enjoy on the road and off of it.
It’s about time Audi built the Q7. Until now, it had no SUV in its stable, unless you count the impressive but unfortunately overlooked Allroad, which was the German automaker’s interpretation of the classic Subaru Outback recipe – take one station wagon, add ground clearance, attach rugged design cues and knobby tires, and you’ve got an interim solution to market miscalculation. Trouble is, Audi waited so long to develop a real SUV that the trend passed. Ironically, today’s buyers want what the Allroad delivered: the looks of a truck with the ride and handling of a car. But today’s buyers also want jump seats in the cargo area that rob space, add weight, and are useful only for shuttling children – seats that remain folded down until Gram and Gramp come to spend the weekend. Thus, the 2007 Audi Q7 – it is alive.
In creating the Q7 – “Q” for Audi’s legendary Quattro all-wheel-drive system, “7” for seven-passenger capacity – Audi focused on four goals: design, performance, versatility, and safety. Based on our day-long ride and drive covering hundreds of miles of Arizona freeways, city streets, twisty two-lane roads, and dirt trails, we’d say the 2007 Audi Q7 delivers on all counts.