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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Audi Q7 4.2 quattro: First drive!

Audi Q7
George Achorn from Fourtitude was lucky enough to get his hands on an Audi Q7 4.2 quattro and guess what: he took it out for a first drive! Well done, George.
He also made a huge .
This new Audi is dressed to the nines (err…. sevens) in a fashionable skin from the pen of Audi designer Danny Garand and in a style that fits right in with current Audi design and virtually mirrors the Pikes Peak concept car. The typical 2/3 body and 1/3 cabin proporations are graced with well-placed muscular toning and typical miniscule panel gaps that are typical with Audi. Rolling past the guests, other SUVs might be jealous as their owners are caught admiring the Q7’s attractive tailgate the LED light clusters designed to span uninterrupted by such unsightly things as shut lines.

Inside the Q7 is graced with even more great-looking design that’s typically (for Audi) a benchmark in quality for the industry. Wood and aluminum trim accent a center console and dashboard heavily inspired by the A6.

Then there’s the new stuff.

Immediately useful for many SUV owners is towing capacity. All Q7s for North America will come with a pre-wired trailer hitch and be rated for 5,500 lbs. towing capacity. An option package will up-rate that to 6,600 lbs.

New technology has also been added to the Q7’s already generous list of electronics. Though radar-assisted adaptive cruise control has been seen before in previous Audis, the Q7 features the latest version, which allows the Q7 to gauge both distance and speed, bringing the car to even a full stop if necessary.

The system takes some getting used to, one wondering if it will indeed stop the car should someone panic stop in front of oneself, but during our test in Phoenix rush-hour traffic, the Q7 stopped well within the distance needed. It was slower on the acceleration standpoint, perhaps due to safety, but it gave more aggressive drivers time to slip inahead of the Q7. We also noticed that the system disengages with an audible chime once the car is brought to a stop.

Another cool piece of techno-wizardry is Audi’s new side-assist system. The Q7 uses radar rather than cameras like early prototype Volvo systems we’ve tested utilize. It senses cars or motorcycles in the Q7’s blindspot area, and mutedly lights amber LEDs located in the mirror housing to alert a driver of their presence. Should the driver trigger the turnsignal in the direction of the obstruction (and we wonder how many American drivers will actually remember they have a turnsignal), the amber LEDs flash brightly to further remind the driver that something is in their way. While the system may take some getting used to, we found it highly functional and appreciated its presence.

The Q7 also gets a cool new piece of technology we first saw recently in the all-new Audi S8 in the form of a rear view camera packaged with Parktronic parking assist. Like the S8, the camera shows both distance to an obstruction and trajectory of the car given the position of the steering wheel. This is one of the most useful systems we’ve seen of this nature, and testing the S8 on a backwards slalom showed just how useful the trajectory lines were in determining where a driver was placing the vehicle.

Finally, there’s the price. With a base of $49,900 for the 4.2, the Q7 is aggressively priced. She’s not cheap, but she’s also a hell of a value.

Audi Q7
Audi Q7

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Source: Fourtitude


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