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2006 Audi Q7 - First Drive

One of life's guilty pleasures

Sep 25, 2006
0610_EC_06Z+Audi_Q7+drivers_side Photo 1/3   |   2006 Audi Q7 - First Drive

Let me just come right out and say it: Audi's Q7 is a magnificent piece of work. Featuring a commanding view of the road and sky, occupants are treated to the most well appointed cabin in the automotive kingdom. This is as good as it gets, a study in understated elegance and ergonomic perfection. My wife loved the Q7, my kids loved the Q7 and I think even the dog loved it (he didn't barf once on our trip to Lake Arrohead).

Despite its sizable dimensions, it drives like a well-tuned sport sedan, although the Q7's capabilities far exceed a mere car. Got a hill to climb, sand to cover, mud to slog? No worries. The Q7 is up to it. I wouldn't try the Rubicon Trail, but for daily driving challenges, the Audi Q7 is the perfect conveyance.

0610_EC_27Z+Audi_Q7+front Photo 2/3   |   2006 Audi Q7 - First Drive

Yeah, I love the Q7. And for some strange reason, feel pangs of guilt for doing so.

The core of this conflict is the Audi's muscular V8, an engine smooth as French silk. It does a great job motivating the Q7, but at a steep cost. During our time with the Q7 we netted a combined 13-mpg. The spike in our expense reports hurt.

See, I love to hate cars like the Hummer and Escalade. I like to think I'm smarter than that, more efficient, more capable, more refined. I am and I think the Q7 is too.

And there's the issue. It's almost like Audi tried to one-up the sport-ute crowd. In that sense, they pushed the bar to formidable heights-no one is gonna touch the Q7 anytime soon.

0610_EC_29Z+Audi_Q7+rear_and_pass_side Photo 3/3   |   2006 Audi Q7 - First Drive

I'd feel better if I could get one with Audi's TDI engine. The TDI is to diesel engines as Hope is to diamonds. Sporting gigantic gobs of torque, great mpg and none of the typical diesel traits (stink, smoke, noise), the TDI is in many ways superior to the gas version. I was lucky enough to drive a TDI Q7 a few months ago. My co-driver (former 4-Wheeler guy, Ben Stewart) and I both agreed we would order a Q7 with the TDI option. As I write these words, Audi is working hard to get the TDI its 50-state-legal certification. Given Audi's superior turbo diesel expertise, it's a shame to miss out on such great technology.

I'm planning on feeling guilty at the end of the month, the same time another Q7 rolls through our short-term loan fleet. -Les Bidrawn


2006 AUDI Q7

Layout
Longitudinal front engine, all-wheel drive

Engine
4.2-liter V8, dohc, four valves per cylinder

Transmission
Six-speed automatic(Tiptronic)

Performance
Peak Power: 350 bhp @ 6800 rpm
Peak Torque: 325 lb-ft @ 3500 rpm
0-60 mph: 7.4 sec.
Top Speed: 152 mph (limited)
Fuel Economy: 13 city/19 hwy

Price as Tested: $63,770

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