Crossover to Bliss

If you like to drive— or at least feel that the driving experience should have a touch of exhilaration—you have already considered an Audi. No matter the model, you know an Audi is going to make you feel like the captain of a fabulous ship. Take the new Q7, which dealers can’t keep in stock. (Danbury Audi came through and loaned me one for the test drive.) I thought the old Q7 was a glamorous gunboat, but the redesign is something to behold.

It all became clear when I was sailing around the back roads north of the Merritt. The drive select had been set to Comfort mode and everything was as creamy as a giant éclair. Then I snapped it to Dynamic, and it was like a sleeping cat instantly springing up on its haunches. The revs held longer for instant power, the suspension firmed up, and the Q7’s whole attitude turned a little snarlier. It was suddenly a wholly different vehicle. In Dynamic mode, the car tracked beautifully through turns. What was completely missing was that top-heavy yaw still cursing some of the larger SUVs. With a heft-reducing aluminum body, this Audi feels light on its feet and retains a car-like composure. Not bad for a crossover with three rows of seats.

When heavy traffic reappears, flick it back to Comfort mode and everything is instantly luxurious again.

In the parking lot, the air suspension will lower the rear end to ease loading the luggage. The all-wheel-drive Quattro system sees you through the slush. Oh, and the high-tech goodies abound. With its internet connection, the dashboard’s optional Virtual Cockpit will actually show the Google Earth photograph of your surrounding terrain in sharp 3-D imagery. Don’t plan on getting lost with this. Audiophiles will surely upgrade to the Bang & Olufsen sound system. (Can one be an Audiphile audiophile?)

Craig Falgiano of Danbury Audi noted the high volume of repeat business the brand gets. “People might start with the sporty A4 and then move up, or they want two. Once you get going with Audi, you want to stay.”

I get it. Every time I’ve given back a test Audi, it’s been with a steaming reluctance.

Price (as tested): $61,945
Drivetrain: 333-hp 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 w/AWD
EPA Mileage Rating: 18 city/27 highway



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