Audi’s do-everything, go-everywhere high-performance people mover.
With the low-speed grunt of a big-block muscle car and the fuel-sipping consumption of an eco-friendly four-cylinder ride, the ‘14 Audi Q7 quattro Tiptronic offers the best of both worlds. On a recent trip from Detroit to Watkins Glen, NY, we had the pleasure to climb behind the wheel of this very luxurious yet sporty seven passenger SUV. We saw for ourselves that a brawny powertrain wrapped around beautiful bodywork can peacefully coexist. So, with our camera gear packed, we headed down the highway and up through the Allegheny Mountains to Watkins Glen International Raceway. 

Our destination was the IMSA Tudor United SportsCar Championship for the annual “Six Hours of the Glen.” One of the top endurance races on the circuit; both prototype and production-based sports cars compete for bragging rights. This grueling race tests man and machine, and with a multitude of classes running on the track at the same time, the action is pretty intense. Here, the drivers put on a great show for the fans with their passing maneuvers. It’s also interesting to see the team strategies being played out while some very fast machinery is pushed to its limits on the winding curves and straightaways of this famous racetrack. 

Under the hood of our Audi Q7, its clean-burning and quiet 3.0L TDI direct-injected turbo diesel generated 240 horsepower, but its neck-jerking 406 pound-feet of torque were what really got our attention. Tipping into the throttle, the massive Q7 was quick to get out of its own way in hurry, quite a feat considering its curb weight (5,400 pounds.). The Q7’s intuitive eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission had a sweet spot in is power band, allowing us to hurl ourselves past the lines of tractor-trailers lumbering up the steep grades in the Alleghenies. 

With the standard Quattro all-wheel drive feeding power to the massive 295/35 R21 Dunlop SP Sport Maxx performance tires and adaptive air suspension, that in Sport mode, lowers ride height and improves the center of gravity for better stability, the Q7 felt as surefooted as its A5 or A6 siblings rolling through the sweeping corners of the roads through upstate New York. 

What impressed us even more was its mileage, as we were knocking down close to 28 mpg along the Ohio Turnpike and around 26 when it had to do some hill climbing though Pennsylvania and New York. With a 26-gallon fuel tank, our average cruising range was around 590 miles. Needless to say, we stopped more for snacks than to feed the Q7’s 3.0L TDI V6! 

Inside the Q7, there was five-star treatment for seven, as everything was wrapped in leather and gleaming aluminum. But the Q7 retained a sporty look and feel inside and out; due to the S-Line package option. From the command center, the S-Line gives you a three-spoke multifunction sport steering wheel with paddle shifters, brushed aluminum inlays, and on the outside, S-line badging on the door sills and throughout the interior. 

On the outside, our Q7 was covered in Glacier White Metallic while clad in unique front and rear bumper and side valences and riding on five-segment, titanium-finished 21-inch wheels. The Q7 looked like a Saturn V rocket, and it sort of felt like one on lift-off as we stomped on the big pedal getting on the interstate and blasted up to 60 mph in just over 7 seconds. 

When we arrived at The Glen, we were greeted by fellow racing aficionados from the North American Audi Club who were hanging out at Turn One to see the mighty R8 LMS competing in GTD class. With the awesome sounds coming from the R8’s 500-plus horsepower V10 engines blasting around this historic racecourse, it sent chills up our spine. However, it was knowing there was some Audi Sport DNA in our luxurious yet powerful Q7 people hauler that had us grinning every time we got behind the wheel.

Words & Photos: David Hakim

For more information about the latest Audi vehicles, please visit http://www.audiusa.com/models#