2011 Audi Q7 TDI Quattro SUV Review & Test Drive


Audi has revamped its lineup of full-size Q7 sport utility vehicles this year by downsizing the engine displacements, adding an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission enabling all Q7 models to increase their fuel efficiency and lower their emissions.

I tested the new Q7 TDI (turbo diesel injection) Quattro Premium Plus model and it is the best of the three models available with more torque and higher mpg specs.

The Audi Q7 quattro provides premium SUV buyers with a new level of environmental conscientiousness with its efficient 3.0 liter TDI clean diesel V6 engine.  Using a combination of direct-injection and turbocharging, the 3.0 liter diesel engine delivers 225hp at 3,750rpm and a remarkable 406lb.ft. of torque at just 1,750rpm.  Yet, as impressive as the power figures are, the truly amazing aspect of the Q7 3.0 TDI quattro clean diesel is its fuel economy-delivering 17mpg/city and 25mpg/highway and is the only clean diesel in its segment with an eight-speed automatic transmission.  This remarkable clean diesel engine has also achieved the Bin5/ULEV (ultra-low emissions vehicle) II 50-state status certificate which is measured on the same emissions basis as gasoline-based engines.

A closer look at the engine reveals that it is a variable vane, common rail injected, 24-valve, 90-degree, turbo/intercooled diesel with continuous camshaft adjustment, DOHC, with a vermicular graphic cast iron block and aluminum alloy cross-flow heads.  Also found are Piezo fuel injectors with eight-hole nozzles and a Bosch EDC17 engine management computer system.  The engine is also very quiet when standing close by outside, and virtually silent when seated inside the cabin.

Matched up with the potent 3.0 liter TDI engine is an all-new state-of-the-art eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission.  It offers the perfect compromise between a legitimate manual and an automatic gearbox, with eight carefully chosen ratios that can be credited for 5% of increased fuel efficiency of the new Audi Q7 quattro.  You may choose gears via the console-mounted shifter or optional paddle shifters located behind the sculpted steering wheel.  Shifts are quick and precise without sacrificing the smooth action of the Tiptronic automatic.  A wide final drive ratio of 7.25:1 allows the lower gars to be optimized for instant, powerful acceleration, while the gears in the upper range have an emphasis on fuel economy-particularly at highway speeds.  Have it your way to get the most out of the 406lb.ft. of torque available at just 1,750rpm from the TDI engine.

Underpinning the new Q7 TDI and insuring a smooth and controlled ride is the unique fully independent suspension geometry.  Up front are double-wishbones, steel coil springs, gas-charged shocks and a stabilizer bar.  The rear independent setup features four-links, steel coil springs, gas-charged shocks and a stabilizer bar.  Matched up with the Servotronic vehicle speed sensitive power-assisted rack & pinion steering system you quickly and precisely guide the Q7 where you want it to go.  On-center feel is perfect and feel for the road is exceptional.

Working with the standard Electronic Stability Control (ESP) system and Traction Control, the Quattro all-wheel drive system regulates the torque to the wheel with the most traction to keep you on track and assures you of control when riding over slick or wet road surfaces.

Quickly and safely slowing the big Q7 TDI down from speed are giant, power-assisted four-wheel disc brakes.  Up front are 13.8 inch vented discs clamped with six-piston calipers while 13.0 inch vented discs in the rear are clamped with four-piston calipers. Enhancing your braking control and power are standard ABS, EBD, BA and ESP.

The new Audi Q7 TDI Premium Plus model rides on 19X8.5 inch cast aluminum wheels wrapped with 265/50R19 inch all-season radial tires for a smooth ride.

The unitized steel body structure features integrated aluminum and magnesium components to enhance the strength and rigidity of the body and frame for no hints of noise, vibration or harshness (NVH).

From first glance, the face of the 2011 Audi Q7 TDI is recognizable instantly as a symbol of power.  A single-frame grille with chrome surround and xenon plus headlights with adaptive lights and high-power LED driving lights give the SUV a bold prow.  Large inlets at the bottom of the front fascia channel air toward the intercoolers and hint at the performance potential of the SUV’s TDI engine.  Just below is a splitter to enhance front downforce at highway speeds and foglamps set at each side.

A striking shoulder line defines the Audi Q7 Quattro profile, with subtle bright work in key locations to draw the eye.  Pronounced fender flares and lower side extensions send a clear message of athleticism, while a long and elegant roofline with a low-profile aluminum roof rack, gently slopes to the rear and top-mounted spoiler, creating a spacious interior.  A full-perimeter chrome strip clearly defines the luxurious greenhouse with privacy glass at all rear seating areas.

LED taillights dominate the rear of the Q7 TDI Quattro.  As stylish as they are functional, the lights command attention from drives behind you, and their near-instant illumination extends the margin of safety further.  The sizeable power tailgate is designed to allow for easy loading and unloading of cargo, while to large, polished stainless steel exhaust ports in the fascia bolster the performance appearance of the new Q7 TDI.  Like all Audi’s, the Q7 TDI Quattro looks like it was carved out of a solid piece of metal.

The interior of the new Audi Q7 TDI has been upgraded substantially for 2011, with a number of once-optional luxury features now standard.  Crafted to deliver the utmost in comfort and functionality, the interior offers spacious seating and ample storage space.  Every Audi Q7 Quattro comes with hand-picked wood inlays, aluminum trim and heated, 12-way power front bucket seats.  The Audi Q7 Quattro accommodates up to seven passengers, with a third row in the aft of the SUV.  The second and third rows can be folded flat without removing the headrests to create a cavernous cargo area-a full 72.5 cu.ft.  The Q7 Quattro offers impressive flexibility, with up to 28 possible seating and cargo configurations, and the second-row seatbacks recline to provide passengers with a new level of seating comfort.

Standard features in the Q7 Quattro TDI include dual-zone climate control, leather wrapped/tilt/telescoping steering wheel, garage door opener-Homelink, Bluetooth, rear acoustic parking sensors, rain sensing wipers/washers, privacy glass, AM-FM-CD stereo radio with 9-speakers and SIRIUS satellite radio, cruise-control, grab handles above each door, dual map lights, second-row reading lamps, cargo area lights, all windows power express up/down, power door locks, center console with dual cupholders/leather padded storage bin/rear heating ducts, rear pull-down armrest with dual cupholders/storage, storage slots in each door, map pockets behind front seatbacks, twin-12-volt power outlets up front/twin-12-volt power outlets behind the center console, leather/aluminum wrapped stick shifter in an aluminum gate, power-remote/heated side mirrors, self-dimming rearview mirror, thick cut-pile carpeting throughout with front/rear floor mats.

My Premium Plus model came equipped with Audi’s MMI navigation system, xenon plus LED daylight running lights and turn signals, self-dimming/power-folding sideview mirrors, Bose Surround Sound audio system, Audi parking system plus with reaview camera, memory function for driver’s seat, 3-part panorama electric sunroof, heated rear seats, and a heated four-spoke steering wheel.

Audi knows that protection starts during the earliest part of the design process.  The Audi Q7 Quattro is built with a rigid body structure, designed to channel crash energy away from the cabin.  The advanced independent suspension provides a planted platform, capable of quick-reaction emergency maneuvers that belie the size of the Q7.  In the event of an accident the Q7 Quattro protects occupants with front and side airbags up front, with side airbags optional for the second row, standard Sideguard side-curtain airbags protects all rows, 3-point safety belts are in place for all seven seats with pretensioners/load limiters up front, LATCH system for child seats, tire pressure monitoring system, front/rear crumple zones, steel beams in each door, power child locks, and an anti-theft vehicle alarm system.  Optional adaptive cruise control maintains the distance from vehicles ahead automatically with the aid of a radar sensor and by braking or accelerating.

The new 2011 Audi Q7 TDI Quattro is one of the best looking, comfortable, luxurious, fuel efficient and safe full-size sport utility vehicles in the segment.  The base price is just $50,900.00 and my nicely loaded test model stickered for only $58,275.00 including destination.




  • Price: Q7 TDI Quattro MSRP $51,450 As-Tested $58,275
  • Engine: 3.0-liter V6 Diesel 225 horsepower @ 3,750 rpm / 406 ft-lbs. @ 1,750 rpm
  • Drive: AWD Quattro
  • Wheelbase: 118.2in.
  • Total length: 200.3in.
  • Total width: 78.1in.
  • Total height: 68.4in.
  • Track: f/r-65.0/66.0in.
  • Headroom: f/r-39.5/39.0in.
  • Legroom: f/r-41.3/37.1in.
  • MPG est.: 17mpg city/25mpg highway
  • Fuel tank: 26.4gallons
  • 0-60mph: 8.6 seconds
  • EPA cargo volume: 10.9 cu.ft.  – Max Cargo: 72.5 cu.ft.
  • Curb Weight: 5,567 lbs.