New SUV showcases technological gadgets


If Audi’s Q7 makes history, it will surely be because of all the innovative gadgets it offers. Audi’s first SUV is definitely a laboratory on wheels.

I must confess: the Q7 left me cold when it came down to the road test. There was nothing disappointing about it, but nothing exciting either. Its handling is less sporty than expected of a German vehicle and the 4.2L direct injection V8 (350 HP) engine took a while to kick in. I can only imagine what the 3.2L V6 (280 HP) version will feel like when it comes out in the fall.

Where the Q7 will make its mark is with all its cutting edge technology. Let’s focus on it since its adaptive cruise control and Side Assist may eventually end up becoming standard features on our cars.

Ah, adaptive cruise control. Nothing better on a busy highway since it adjusts automatically to the speed of the vehicle ahead.

The second generation device designed by Audi goes even further: it distinguishes traffic jams from afar and brakes on its own, even bringing the Q7 to a complete stop if needed. The cars start moving again? The Audi does the same, even without the driver’s intervention. Clever, don’t you think? Having tried the system on the highways surrounding Calgary, I can positively confirm that the device works perfectly well. Still, you have to learn to trust the system.

Another innovation: the Audi side assist. There is a vehicle hidden in your blind spot? A radar concealed within the side view mirrors of the Q7 picks it up and discreetly notifies the driver by turning on a warning light. One thing is for sure; with the SUV being five meters long, it really needs this device.

Among the other technological gadgets on board, let’s mention the rear-view camera which makes parking easier by projecting an image of your surroundings on the navigation screen. Adaptive bi-xenon headlights that rotate in unison with the steering wheel to light the road at night, voice recognition which enables you to adjust the climate control and the audio system and finally, the possibility to start the engine with the press of a button, all add to the list of impressive features.

Those are some of the gadgets that will eventually be incorporated on standard models. After all, not so long ago the ABS system and side airbags were offered only on luxury models and now come with more and more basic models.

Until then, you will understand why such an innovative technological gem as the Q7 costs more than $80,000.


  • 5-, 6- or 7-passenger SUV

  • Engine 1: 3.2L direct injection

  • Performance: 280 HP, 266 lbs-ft

  • Engine 2: 4.2L direct injection V8

  • Performance: 350 HP, 325 lbs-ft

  • Gearbox: 6-speed Tiptronic

  • Transmission: all-wheel drive

  • Price (V8): starting at $68,900 (up to $85,000, including navigation system)

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