Quick Drive: 2009 Audi Q7 V8
As a representative of a dealership in Missouri, I get access to car auctions and have the freedom to drive any of the 500-1400 vehicles on the lot any day of the week. I sampled several cars today including a 2012 Chrysler 300 V6, Mercedes-Benz C350 Sport, BMW X5 4.6, 1992 Cadillac Eldorado, and 2007 Lexus SC430 (recently named “Worst Car In The World” by Top Gear).
I climbed behind the wheel of a 2009 Audi Q7 V8, the worst-built modern automobile I have ever had the misfortune of driving. At 66,000 miles, the arm rests, door panels, and dashboard creaked like the shutters of a 100 year old abandoned house.
The center arm rest wobbled back and forth while providing audible feedback in the form of squeaks, groans, and rattles. Pulling the handle to shut the door produced yet another creaking noise, and leaning back or side to side in the seat produced yet another series of cheap, plasticky sounds.
The buttons on the MMI knob, radio, and climate controls felt chintzy and hollow while the Bang and Olufsen premium sound system paled in comparison to the HK Logic7 system used in most Land Rovers, Mercedes-Benzes, and BMWs. There was plenty of bass and plenty of treble yet none of it was pleasing to listen to. The motorized tweeters that rise up from the dashboard are a neat little trick, however.
Additionally, the MMI knob moves up the list of menu items when you rotate right and down the menu when you rotate left, a frustrating configuration that’s unnatural and opposite of other luxury cars that use similar interfaces. The display itself comes across as cheap and unsophisticated with large pixels and jagged text.
Rolling down the road, it rattled furiously like a sack full of Lego pieces. It was noisy enough to prompt me to ask my friend if he noticed any loose cargo in the rear. After pulling over to check, there was nothing found and the rear hatch door, once fully opened, wobbled like a table with uneven feet.
On the plus side, the 350-horsepower 4.2L V8 developed a high-pitched, racy roar at full throttle complemented by strong and responsive brakes. The third row seats are easy to fold down by pulling one strap to fold the head rest and one latch to drop the seat. Of course, the power folding third rows in the Lincoln Navigator and Infiniti QX56 are preferred.
Pros: Engine, brakes, and styling.
Cons: Deplorable build quality.
Conclusion: Anyone who paid $60,000+ for a new Q7 was ripped off. Badly.