All-new for 2007, the Q7 is the first SUV to bear the Audi name. Although it bears a resemblance to the Volkswagen Touareg and Porsche Cayenne, it only shares about 15 per cent of their components, and most of them are in the drivetrain; the Q7 is longer, wider and taller than these distant cousins.

Named for its Quattro all-wheel drive and its slot in the Audi line-up between the A6 and A8, the Q7 is available with a 3.6-litre V6 or 4.2-litre V8, each in base or Premium trim, and each with a six-speed automatic with Tiptronic manual mode. The engines are all-new; the V8 will also replace the lower-horsepower 4.2-litre in the A6 and A8 models. Both V6 models are five-passenger but can be optioned to seven-passenger seating; the V8’s standard seven-passenger can be optioned to six-passenger by changing the second-row bench to two individual seats, while the V8 Premium comes only with six-passenger seating.

The base 3.2 model includes 18-inch alloy wheels, tire pressure monitoring system, front and rear fog lights, MMI (Multi Media Interface) with monochrome display, automatic headlamps, dual-zone automatic climate control, 12-way power driver’s seat, 40/20/40 split second-row folding seats, cloth upholstery, leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers, CD player, rear wiper, and side thorax and curtain airbags. Four heated seats and a heated steering wheel are standard on all Canadian models.

The 3.2 Premium adds brushed aluminum window trim, self-levelling bi-Xenon headlamps, 12-way power passenger seat, leather seating surfaces, genuine wood interior trim, auto-dimming rearview mirror, MMI with colour screen, and in-dash six-CD changer and Bose premium sound system.

The 4.2 adds 18-inch double-spoke alloy wheels, electrically-adjustable tilt and telescopic wheel, leather seating surfaces, adaptive front lighting, Homelink garage door opener, power liftgate, manual rear door and liftgate sunshades, auto-dimming exterior mirrors, two-position driver’s memory seat, driver information display and folding front centre armrest.

The 4.2 Premium adds 19-inch alloy wheels, headlight washers, three-panel panorama sunroof, four-zone automatic climate control with rear-seat controls, advanced parking system with rearview camera, keyless lock and ignition system, second-row multi-function centre box, full leather upholstery, and navigation system.

The Q7 is a seriously luxurious machine: Audi calls it a performance SUV, but there’s a lot of machine to pull around, and the V8 lacks the off-the-line thrust expected of a sporty vehicle. Handling is exemplary, though, and the Quattro all-wheel drive keeps it firmly planted even on hard corners. The third-row seats are cramped and mostly for small youngsters, but the second row offers almost limousine-style comfort, especially in six-passenger configuration. Standard and optional features such as side warning assist, adaptive cruise control and a rear camera with parking guidance should keep the tech-minded happy; the rest of us will just enjoy the cushy seats and smooth ride.

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