First, the upsides. When I helped a pal who owns a kindergarten schlep some cinder blocks, I got unprecedented, appreciative smiles from a group of young mothers (I disapprove of porno jargon, so I won’t use the term “MILF”, but you know what I mean). I was expecting to see a lot of hate, but the only person who screamed at me was a fuzzy-bearded hippy. The TDI has oodles of low-end oomph, so it provides the particular pleasure you get from driving something that is both massive (2.4 metric tons) and muscular, especially when it’s full of stuff. This Q7′s 0 – 60 time of 8.6 seconds belies its 500 NM’s of torque. Basically flawless handling intensifies the elephant-on-dancing-shoes effect. And even when I drove it Teutonic-aggressively, I got at least 16 MPG.
But here are the many downsides. Generally, the interior is fine, Audiesque. But the transmission tunnel surround– the part near the thighs of the front two occupants– is hard, feels cheap and sounds hollow: it’s definitely sub-X5 quality. The hatch, when you slam it, sounds tinnier than the one on my 9-year-old Citroen. For all the Q7′s considerable size, it’s nimble, but you’ll never ever forget it’s an fat, tall SUV. I didn’t like the trans, either. Approaching an autobahn exit at 120 mph, I tried to snickety-snack the auto transmission from 6th down to 4th gear. But it simply refused; each gear level needed its own pause, think, re-think, and pause again.
This SUV’s computer user interface is a chapter in the book called “I feel like an idiot because I bought an expensive car that forces me to read the fucking manual.” Honestly: with my mobile phone, I can use Google Maps for walking around town without getting lost, I can take a photo, write an email, and I can chew gum, and all at the same time. I didn’t need a booklet to learn how to do that, but I couldn’t fathom the Audi’s climate control without printed help. And no matter how softly I drove it, I never got better than 21.4 MPG. Finally, at the end of a day’s driving, I checked carefully, but my penis hadn’t grown an inch. So I really can’t recommend this car to anybody I know.