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retrohasen
01-20-2006, 09:33 AM
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AUTOMOTIVE REVIEW
Audi Q7 clones Porsche, VW
4.2 liter V-8, luxury 7-passenger SUV has $50,620 base price
- G. Chambers Williams III, San Antonio Express-News
Friday, January 20, 2006


Audi took the wraps off the U.S. version of its first sport utility vehicle, the 2007 Q7, this month at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

The automaker also announced a starting price of $50,620 (including freight) for the 4.2-liter Quattro model, which goes on sale in June.

No prices were announced for the 3.6-liter V-6 version, which will show up a few weeks later, or for the gasoline-electric hybrid model, which will be added to the lineup for 2008 -- the first hybrid SUV from a European automaker.

Equipped with a V-8 engine with gasoline direct injection, the 4.2-liter Q7 will have 350 horsepower, a six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission and the latest generation of Audi's patented Quattro all-wheel-drive system.

This system, during normal operation, sends 42 percent of the power to the front wheels and the rest to the rear. Ratios change automatically when wheels start to slip, such as on ice, snow or sand.

Luxury features abound in this vehicle, which essentially is a high-end clone of the Volkswagen Touareg and a close cousin of the Porsche Cayenne.

Those two SUVs have been on the market since 2004 and were developed jointly by Porsche and Volkswagen, Audi's parent.

Porsche builds the Cayenne separately from the Touareg and uses a Porsche engine and transmission. VW will build the Audi in the plant that also makes the Touareg. The Q7 will use the same V-6 and V-8 engines as the Touareg.

Standard on the Q7 4.2 Quattro are such amenities as adaptive bi-xenon headlights, seven-passenger leather seating, power tailgate, automatic dual-zone climate control, 18-inch alloy wheels, 5,500-pound towing capacity, cruise control and keyless entry.

A cold-weather package with heated steering wheel and front- and second-row seats lists for $850, and a $2,400 technology package adds a rearview camera with rear parking system, a side-assist system that monitors the vehicle's blind spots, advanced key keyless entry and voice control.

Other options on the 4.2 Quattro will include a three-panel panoramic sunroof, 19- or 20-inch alloy wheels, four-zone automatic climate control (including rear control panel), 6,600-pound towing package, satellite radio, DVD navigation, air suspension, radar cruise control and the side-assist system (as a stand-alone option).

Standard safety features include dual front and front-side air bags, side curtain air bags for all three rows of seats, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, electronic stability control with rollover sensing and pretensioning three-point seat belts for all seven passengers. Rear side air bags will be optional, the company said.

With the introduction of the Q7, Audi finally gets its own SUV.

All-wheel-drive is standard on all models.

The Cayenne and Touareg already are regarded as two of the most capable off-road performers on the market. I've tested both on some very rugged trails that normally would require highly modified off-road vehicles such as Jeep Wranglers and CJs to negotiate, and the Porsche/VW models handled the terrain with ease.

But with prices in the $50,000s or more, this vehicle will see more highways than byways and more country clubs than countryside. People just don't take expensive SUVs into the woods very much. There's a certain logic to that. Why risk banging up the fenders and rocker panels of a luxury vehicle along some rocky trail?

Porsche also offers V-6 and normally aspirated V-8 versions of the Cayenne, with starting prices in the mid-$40,000s for the V-6.

As for the Q7, the vehicle gets the new trapezoidal Audi grille design that has become the new face of the brand. And although its overall shape is similar to those of the Touareg and Cayenne, it does have its own look.

The Q7 will have ground clearance of up to 7.9 inches to help it avoid obstacles on the trail.

As for interior amenities, the Germans are finally getting the message: Americans like cup holders. The Q7 has 10 of them.

Three rows of seating are offered for carrying up to seven passengers, and Audi says middle-seat leg room will be best in class.

The second- and third-row seats can be folded flat in a variety of configurations to accommodate more people or more cargo.

Behind the third seat is 11.7 cubic feet of cargo space; with the third seat folded, that expands to 27.4.

The tailgate lifts up in one piece, just as it does on the Touareg and Cayenne, but the Q7 will offer an electrically operated tailgate, a feature introduced by Chrysler in its line of Dodge and Chrysler minivans.

No extra money need be spent to prep the Q7 for trailer-towing; all models will come with a trailer hitch and wiring, Audi says.

In North America, the 4.2-liter V-8 will be rated at 350 horsepower and 324 foot-pounds of torque. It will propel the Q7 from zero to 60 mph in 7.4 seconds and give the vehicle a top speed of 154 mph.

The V-6 engine will arrive in September, rated at 280 horsepower.

No fuel economy ratings have been announced for the Q7, but the V-6 version of the Touareg is EPA-rated at 16 miles per gallon in the city and 21 on the highway. The V-8 is rated at 14 city/18 highway.

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URL: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2006/01/20/MNGTGGMAIB1.DTL

NieFolgen
01-25-2006, 03:37 PM
10 cupholders!!! That's worth the $50K base price right there.