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Original MSRP: $42,500 - $58,600
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2008 Audi Q7 Interior

This interior review was written when the 2008 Audi Q7 was new.

The 2008 Audi Q7 is a luxury SUV and reviewers find the interior appropriately luxurious. There are three rows of seats, which the manufacturer claims seat seven, though reviews differ as to how many passengers can actually ride comfortably. Reviews praise the Q7's ample and versatile cargo space, but complain about complicated cockpit controls.

Between the front seats of the Audi Q7, just behind the gearshift, is the Multimedia Interface (MMI), Audi's version of BMW's iDrive control system (available with the Infotainment Package). It operates most of the information, climate and entertainment systems in the vehicle. Reviews are mixed as to whether this is a convenience or a dangerous distraction. "BMW could take a lesson from this intuitive MMI system," says Edmunds. "It isn't exactly simple, but it can be figured out without a week spent studying the manual." And the New York Times reviewer writes, "instead of another overcomplicated German nightmare, the Audi system is as close to intuitive as cursor-and-mouse automotive controls get."

But About.com feels that, while "[t]he MMI is nice once you get used to it...there's a steep learning curve. And some of it just doesn't make sense -- most of the controls use that big center dial, but fan speed and seat heat use the climate control's temperature dials. Huh? It's one thing if you have a passenger to fiddle with it all, but a lone driver trying to figure out MMI at 70 MPH is an accident waiting to happen." The reviewer for the Detroit News gave up on the learning curve altogether: "[T]he most comfortable I felt in the Q7 was earlier this year in the Southwest U.S., with an Audi engineer in the back seat constantly giving me detailed directions on the vehicle's operation. Too bad an Audi engineer doesn't come standard with the Q7."

Seating

The Audi Q7 has a large exterior, which means that "[t]he extra size goes toward interior comfort and space, enough to accommodate three-row seating and space for seven," according to Car and Driver. Audi claims that the versatile seats can be arranged into 28 different seating and cargo arrangements, but some of these are more comfortable than others. "The Q7 has three rows of seats; any two can be occupied comfortably at once," says About.com. "The second-row seats are adjustable, but sliding them back far enough for decent footroom squashes the toes of the people in the 3rd row. Want room in both the 2nd and 3rd rows? Fine, provided the front driver and passenger don't mind kissing the dashboard."

And the reviewer for Cars.com did some seat-hopping as well: "I was able to get comfortable in the Q7's leather front bucket seats, though very tall drivers might wish they could move farther back. There's generous foot and legroom in the second row, and these seats recline and slide fore and aft. The seats closest to the windows are firmly cushioned but comfortable, while the center spot feels like sitting on a leather-covered park bench -- it's that hard."

As is typical of SUVs with three potential rows of seating, most reviewers feel the back row isn't intended for anyone who's ever had a growth spurt, nor is it very easy to access. "Athletic moves are needed to reach the third-row-seat area, which is best left to children or to adults no more than 5 feet 3 inches tall," says MSN. Forbes goes even further, commenting "In the third row, no adult would be comfortable, and few children over five feet would want to ride here for more than 20 minutes... people who will use the third row more frequently will want something bigger than the Q7."

Interior Features

"Accommodations at Chateau Q7 are sumptuous," says Ward's AutoWorld. Edmunds comments, "We've put thousands of miles on our long-term Q7 test vehicle and remain impressed by its collection of luxury features, versatile and beautifully crafted interior."

Standard features include a four-spoke, leather-covered multi-function steering wheel, advanced anti-theft vehicle alarm system, a backlit instrument cluster with automatic brightness control, a folding second-row rear seat,

 an in-dash CD player,

 power driver's seat with four-way lumbar adjustment, tilt and telescopic manually adjustable steering column, and windshield with gray stripe for sun protection.

Stereo and Entertainment

The Q7 comes standard with a 14-speaker, 270-watt, 10-channel Bose audio system. CNET however, is less than impressed, commenting at length: "Although its technical specifications seem impressive, we've heard better...And, strangely, surround sound could be set only for the front seats or the rear seats. The [optional Multimedia Interface] audio-settings screen also included a Normal, non-surround setting that most Q7 buyers will probably use, making the Centerpoint surround sound a waste. While sitting in the front seats, we found the front surround setting to produce very crisp sound, yet it lacked rich bass and felt biased towards the center fill speaker mounted in the dash. On the Normal setting, audio filled the cabin well, but fell short of perfection."

Navigation

The Infotainment Package includes the Audi DVD Navigation System, which comes with the Audi's Multimedia Interface (MMI) and rearview camera. Automobile Magazine praises highly, "The DVD-controlled navigation system is a gem, rendering Rand McNally superfluous."

But CNET found the navigation system somewhat irritating: "[W]hile the MMI makes inputting specific destinations relatively painless, we found the voice prompt tone of voice a little too forceful. Its nagging sound made us frequently scramble to cancel route guidance, but that proved difficult...Destination input is under a menu labeled Route, which we also didn't find particularly intuitive. And unlike more-modern navigation systems, such as that found on the current generation of Acuras, the points-of-interest database doesn't include retail stores. It does have wineries, a must-have for the well-heeled Audi buyer."

Additional Features

An option that makes an impression on several reviewers is the Panorama Sunroof "[I]t feels like you could be in an airy museum," raves U.S. News' Rick Newman. Likewise, the New York Times says the sunroof "gives all a superb view of incoming asteroids."

Cargo

Most reviewers feel the rear of the Q7 is better utilized for hauling cargo than people. "If you regularly carry more than four adults, you still need an R-Class," says Motor Trend, "but if you're more likely to spend weekends poking around antique shops, your Q-ship has come in. The rear seats all fold flat, but even with all three rows up, there's an impressive 10.9 cubic feet of space in the cargo bay." With second and third row seats folded flat, the Q7 has 72.5 cubic feet of cargo space. Newsday comments, "Cargo space...is generous, though limited in height at the rear by the Q7's sloping roofline."

Review Last Updated: 2/18/09

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