2007 Audi Q7

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After teasing us with sneak photos, testing photos, and the Pikes Peak concept, the Q7, Audi's first true SUV, breaks cover finally at Frankfurt--just in time for rising gas prices all around the world. Based on a lengthened VW Touareg chassis, the Q7 has seating for seven. The vehicle is powered by Audi's familiar 4.2-liter V-8 that makes 350 hp and 325 lb-ft mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with manual override. Air suspension is optional, along with nineteen- and twenty-inch wheels and tires: eighteens are standard.

Ulrich Hackenberg, Audi's head of vehicle dynamics, tells us that the Q7 has been engineered for the street. The air suspension--from the Audi A8--delivers a lower ride height and a more refined ride than the Touareg. The all-wheel-drive system, with its 40 percent front/60 percent rear torque split, comes from the RS6. "The Q7 will do donuts, I promise you," Hackenberg says.

Inside, the Q7 has the leather-and-tech look of the A6. The third-row seat folds flat into the floor.

The Q7 will reach U.S. streets in the spring of 2006. Johan de Nysschen, Audi of America's chief executive, says it heralds a greater U.S. focus for Audi's future product development.

Inside, the Q7 is beautifully crafted, with lots of bright metal accents, an Alcantara headliner, and high-quality leather. Expect a base price in the low-$50,000 range.

0508 Audi Q7 02

0508 Audi Q7 01

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