Everyone knows Lexus SUVs are amongst the most reliable in the luxury sector, but just one look at Audi’s Q8 and I don’t give a rip. Certainly, today’s RX is an attractive crossover that deserves…

2020 Audi Q8 Technik 55 TFSI Quattro Road Test

2020 Audi Q8 Technik 55 TFSI Quattro
Audi’s Q8 is one of the sportiest looking SUVs in its class, but it’s also a totally practical daily driver.

Everyone knows Lexus SUVs are amongst the most reliable in the luxury sector, but just one look at Audi’s Q8 and I don’t give a rip. Certainly, today’s RX is an attractive crossover that deserves its place atop the sales heap, but the Q8 is downright gorgeous, which can’t be said about the majority of utility vehicles this side of a Lamborghini Urus. It’s no coincidence, therefore, that the ultra-hot Lambo shares much of its underpinnings with the top-tier Audi, not to mention Porsche’s Cayenne Coupe and, through its Q7 roots, Bentley’s Bentayga, too.

Yes, I just named two of today’s five available exotic SUVs, and while the Cayenne might not be considered exotic, it arguably sits higher in the ultra-premium pecking order than anything from BMW, Mercedes-Benz and, yes, Audi. The rest of the super-SUV segment is made up by Maserati’s Levante (that’s only exotic because Ferrari’s upcoming Purosangue hasn’t arrived yet), Aston Martin’s DBX, and the Rolls-Royce Cullinan, in order of exclusivity. Two out of five super-SUVs, all based on the Q7/Q8 (which is actually VW’s MLB platform) is impressive to say the least, so therefore we need to agree that the comparatively affordable Q8 Technik 55 TFSI Quattro shown here plays in a rarified, prestigious crowd.

2020 Audi Q8 Technik 55 TFSI Quattro
The Q8’s sharp lines look great from front to back.

Speaking of affordable, the Q8’s price hasn’t changed much over the three years it’s been available, with CarCostCanada showing a base sticker of $81,200 in 2019, $82,350 in 2020, and $82,550 for the upcoming 2021 model. Even better, Audi is currently offering up to $4,000 in additional incentives for 2020 and 2021 models, so keep that in mind while perusing this review.

The Q8 was introduced for the 2019 model year, incidentally, and except for a handful of tech features that have made their way to base Progressiv trim in newer versions, 2019, 2020 and 2021 models pretty well the same. Fortunately, the Q8 Technik being reviewed here included most everything Audi had on offer when tested, and thus all that’s available for 2021.

2020 Audi Q8 Technik 55 TFSI Quattro
Audi has sharpened its grille over the years, so that it’s now bigger, wider, deeper and bolder than ever before.

You wouldn’t be alone if you’re wondering how the Q8 fits into Audi’s SUV lineup, because in effect it’s the two-row, five-seat version of the three-row, seven-occupant Q7, yet costs more. Audi seems to be targeting sportier SUV variants like BMW’s X6 and Mercedes’ GLE Coupe, even though the Q8 is only slightly less practical than the just-noted German brands’ respective X5 and more upright GLE, not to mention the five-passenger Lexus RX mentioned a moment ago.

Specifically, the Q8’s 605 litres of dedicated cargo volume is down 90 litres when compared to the RX, although at 1,719 litres total it has 140 additional litres of gear-toting space than the Japanese alternative when their rear seats are folded flat. Likewise, the Q8 has 40 litres less area behind its second row than the X5 and 25 more than the X6, although gets pragmatically walloped by a sizeable 328 litres when laying the bigger BMW’s seats down. Still, it’s 194 litres more accommodating than the X6 when fully optimized. As for Mercedes’ GLE and GLE Coupe entries, they’re both more commodious in the cargo area, with the former up 85 litres behind the second row and 336 litres when those seats are lowered, and the latter improving on the Q8 by 45 litres and 1 litre respectively.

2020 Audi Q8 Technik 55 TFSI Quattro
Gorgeous lighting details, the Q8’s LEDs are more than just attractive.

How did I go from comparing the Q8 and Lamborghini’s Urus to talking about cargo carrying mundanities? I might as well of started off talking about fuel economy, which is (I can’t help myself) rated at 13.8 L/100km city, 11.7 highway and 12.7 combined. Now that I’ve completely lost your interest, my boring, pragmatic point is that despite being on a more performance-focused mission than, say, the Q7 that comes standard with a 248-horsepower turbo-four in base trim and can’t be had with the Q8’s top-line 591-horsepower RS powertrain, my sporty looking tester’s 335-horsepower V6 hardly challenges anything from Sant’Agata Bolognese.

2020 Audi Q8 Technik 55 TFSI Quattro
Going all-black is fashionable these days, and Audi’s Q8 delivers.

With 369 lb-ft of torque available, the 3.0-litre V6-powered Q8 is quick, mind you, or at least quicker than most will require more often than not, and if you absolutely must have more when needed, Audi offers the 500 horsepower SQ8 that puts 568 lb-ft of torque down to tarmac, and the already mentioned RS Q8 that incidentally puts out a formidable 590 lb-ft.

The most potent variety is good for a 3.8-second run to 100 km/h, which in fact mirrors the straight-line performance produced by Bentley’s W12-powered Bentayga, but still comes up 0.2 seconds shy of the Urus’ 3.6-second run. This said, if you can tell the difference from the seat of your pants I’ll be impressed. As for the mid-range SQ8, it’s good for a 4.3-second rip from standstill to 100 km/h, while Audi claims 6.0 seconds for the same feat in my tester’s 55 TFSI Quattro configuration. That’s pretty damn fast for a luxury SUV, by the way, so while this is the slowpoke of this very speedy bunch, it’s by no means a snail.

2020 Audi Q8 Technik 55 TFSI Quattro
Audi provides plenty of OEM upgrades that can make your Q8 as practical as possible.

Part of the go-fast equation is ZF’s well-proven eight-speed automatic that does double-duty in the Q7 as well as plenty of other luxury models in and out of the Audi family. It’s as effortlessly smooth during everyday driving and as brilliantly quick-shifting when pushed hard as in the Q7, while Quattro continues Audi’s all-wheel drive leadership with sensational traction no matter the road conditions. The Q8 includes Comfort, Auto, Dynamic (sport), Individual and Off Road “drive select” modes too, the sportiest of which make the most of the SUV’s direct electromechanical steering setup and capably tuned five-link front and rear suspension design, resulting in a luxury crossover that’s as comfortably docile as required, or as entertaining as most could want, at least this side of a more performance-oriented trim.

2020 Audi Q8 Technik 55 TFSI Quattro
These edgy LED taillights almost look as sharp during the day as they do when lit up at night.

Truly, as enjoyable as I found the Q8 to drive, this base model is more about comfort than speed. This is immediately noticeable when looking inside, where one of the industry’s most attractive interior designs is joined by Audi’s renowned materials quality and build execution. Like the Q8’s exterior styling, the cabin features a stylish array of sharply shaped soft and hard surfaces organized within a horizontal layout that visually enhances the SUV’s width, resulting in a very spacious look, feel and reality; the expansive panoramic sunroof overhead doesn’t hurt matters either.

2020 Audi Q8 Technik 55 TFSI Quattro
That’s a plank of warm open-pore hardwood on the door panel, and there’s more inside making the Q8’s cabin very inviting.

My tester’s interior was mostly charcoal grey except for large sections of piano black surfacing across the instrument panel and lower console, which melded perfectly with various integrated electronic displays, plus the warming addition of some brown to the otherwise grey-stained open-pore hardwood inlays found on the outside of the same lower console as well as the doors.

While hardly the type of traditional warmth still provided by some luxury brands, the Q8’s cabin is far from austere, helped out significantly by Audi’s usual tastefully applied aluminum accents and the just-noted electronic screens, which colourfully brighten the gauge cluster and centre stack.

2020 Audi Q8 Technik 55 TFSI Quattro
The Q8’s interior is as well made as it’s good looking.

Not just high in resolution, these are clear, colourful, graphically stimulating high-definition displays filled with functionality, starting with Audi’s “Virtual Cockpit,” a fully digital gauge cluster that’s like no other, and followed up by two touchscreens on the centre stack, the main infotainment interface up top and a smaller secondary unit dedicated to the heating and ventilation system below.

I’ve gone on at length about Audi’s Virtual Cockpit in previous reviews going back years, initially blown away with its “VIEW” button-actuated capability of expanding multi-information features to encompass the entire display, except for tiny primary driving dials that remain in each lower corner. Now, a number of competitors provide similar functionality, but Audi’s remains one of the slickest operators for its ease of use and ample personalization capability.

2020 Audi Q8 Technik 55 TFSI Quattro
Audi’s “Virtual Cockpit” allows the multi-information display to take over the entire display (see the gallery for more).

I especially like expanding the navigation map within that gauge cluster, as it’s not only an eye-popping conversation starter when friends are riding along, but really helpful when wanting to focus on the road ahead. Better yet, utilizing a larger multi-information display for such functions frees the main infotainment display for front passenger use, while the HVAC controls are always close at hand.

Certainly, the latter effect is much the same as with cars that keep analogue HVAC controls in similar positions, but the Q8’s slick-looking, nicely organized interface modernizes the entire experience, while also preventing coffee spills and food crumbs from slipping between the cracks of buttons, knobs and switches, therefore maintaining a cleaner and more hygienic environment.

2020 Audi Q8 Technik 55 TFSI Quattro
The main infotainment touchscreen provides a comprehensive assortment of features amidst a logically laid out interface with stunning graphics.

By the way, the aforementioned “drive select” modes are incorporated into a narrow, touch-sensitive strip just below the HVAC interface, which also includes a button for cancelling traction and stability control, switching on the hazard lights, and choosing defog/defrost settings. This switchgear, and all others in the Q8’s tidy cabin, is extremely well made.

Such attention to detail is expected from Audi, as is interior comfort. Number one with me is a vehicle’s driving position, because my legs are longer than my torso, so once I’ve moved my seat rearward enough to accommodate the former, I need more reach from the telescopic steering column than some vehicle’s offer in order to comfortably hold onto the rim of the wheel, without cranking my seatback to a near vertical position. This is critical for control too, because the ability to lay one’s wrist over the top of the wheel is optimal, allowing relaxed, bent elbows when the hands are positioned at the 9 and 3 o’clock positions. To make a short story long, the Q8’s driving position is near perfect, making it the perfect companion for all situations.

2020 Audi Q8 Technik 55 TFSI Quattro
A separate HVAC touchscreen melds into the Q8’s nicely organized lower console.

The driver’s seat also included plenty of adjustments, including a lower cushion that could be extended to cup below the knees, one of my favourite features, while along with the usual fore/aft, up/down, recline, and four-way lumbar, was a comprehensive massage feature providing wave, pulse, stretch, relaxation, shoulder, and activation modes, plus a trio of intensity levels, while the usual three-way warming cushions were accompanied by three-temperature cooling.

When my seat was pushed back far enough to accommodate my long-legged five-foot-eight frame, I still had ample room overhead, which makes sense being that Ingolstadt’s team of product planners live amongst a relatively tall Germanic population. Likewise, for all other directions, of course, not to mention the SUV’s rear quarters that are very generous as well. In fact, I could almost fully stretch out in back, which is unusually good even for the luxury class.

2020 Audi Q8 Technik 55 TFSI Quattro
These are two of the more comfortable and supportive front seats in the class.

When the third passenger stays home, rear occupants benefit from a wide, comfortable fold-down centre armrest, complete with dual cupholders, as well as power-operated side sunshades that can both be modulated at either side of the cabin. The climate control system is four-zone, so Audi provides another touch-capacitive control interface on the backside of the front console, complete with switches for the rear outboard seat warmers, all of which sit just under a set of HVAC vents that combine with one more on the rear of each B-pillar.

I spoke about cargo capacity at the beginning of this review, so at the risk of banging on about even more dimensional specs, suffice to say it should be roomy enough for most peoples’ needs while providing an extremely well-finished, fully-carpeted compartment with an attractive aluminum protective plate on the door sill, bright metal tie-down hoops, and a neat little webbed storage area, while the seatbacks are configured in the optimal 40/20/40 split-folding configuration, allowing longer items like skis to be stored down the middle while rear passengers enjoy the more comfortable heated window seats.

2020 Audi Q8 Technik 55 TFSI Quattro
The Q8’s rear quarters are very spacious.

The top-line 2020 Q8 Technik 55 TFSI Quattro trim I tested starts at $90,200 plus freight and fees, which was a big move up from the previous year’s price of $88,800, but not quite as dear as the $91,200 needed for a 2021 model. I suppose needed is not quite the right word, being that once again Audi is providing $4,000 in incentives for those wise enough to take advantage, with all of the information needed to do so found on either CarCostCanada’s 2020 Audi Q8 Canada Prices page or the 2021 Audi Q8 Canada Prices page.

2020 Audi Q8 Technik 55 TFSI Quattro
Lots of cargo space, plus the flexibility of 40/20/40-split rear seatbacks.

Incidentally, CarCostCanada’s ultra-affordable membership provides inside information about any available manufacturer rebate, all manufacturer financing and leasing deals, as well as dealer invoice pricing that gives you a significant edge when negotiating your deal. Be sure to find out how it works, and while you’re at it download the free CarCostCanada app so you can have all the most critical info you need at your fingertips when shopping for your Q8, or any other new car, truck or SUV.

This said, the Q8 is a good place to start shopping. From its handsome design and beautifully finished interior, to its strong performance and many practical elements, such as its strong set of standard and optional features, its superb comfort front to back, and its all-round generous accommodations, the Q8 is hard to beat.

Story by Trevor Hofmann

Photos by Karen Tuggay

When Audi’s Q3 showed up on the Canadian subcompact luxury SUV scene in 2014 for the 2015 model year it was already old news in other parts of the world. It had originally launched as a 2012 model in…

Redesigned 2019 Audi Q3 adds style, size and technology to subcompact SUV class

2019 Audi Q3
Audi will introduce an entirely new second-generation Q3 subcompact luxury SUV next spring, and it looks much more upscale than the outgoing version. (Photo: Audi)

When Audi’s Q3 showed up on the Canadian subcompact luxury SUV scene in 2014 for the 2015 model year it was already old news in other parts of the world. It had originally launched as a 2012 model in Europe, so the heavily refreshed 2016 version that soon replaced the first-generation Q3 was a complete surprise for many when it arrived in late 2015. 

That mid-cycle update ushered in a new look for Audi SUVs on the whole. Its equiangular hexagonal singleframe grille grew broader and more sharply edged, with new satin-silver exterior trim for a more sophisticated look. Its headlamps received some subtle revisions too, while a new aluminum hood with reworked sculpting sat overtop, and the lower apron received some minor updates too, depending on trim. Other small updates to the rocker panels and rear bumper cap let aficionados know which model they were looking at no matter the direction of view, but for the rest of us it was the grille up front that made the 2016 Q3 look entirely new. 

2019 Audi Q3
The new Q3 will once again be offered with an S line exterior package, and it looks even more dramatic than the previous generation. (Photo: Audi)

Now, three more years into what is effectively a seven-year model run has the current Q3 showing its age, so this completely redesigned second-generation Q3 will be a much needed breath of fresh air for Audi retailers and fans of the little utility, many of which have been patiently waiting for a redo before upgrading. 

Audi introduced the new and improved 2019 Q3 online over the summer and in the metal at the Paris Motor Show last month, and it’s expected to go on sale during the second quarter of next year. Larger than its predecessor and therefore getting closer to true compact status, the new Q3 rides on parent company Volkswagen group’s MQB platform architecture that also underpins the namesake brand’s much improved Tiguan. 

2019 Audi Q3
The 2019 Q3 is considerably larger than the current model. (Photo: Audi)

To put it in perspective, with a 4,485-mm (176.6-inch) overall length the new 2019 Q3 is 97 mm (3.8 inches) longer than the outgoing model from nose to tail, with a 77-mm (3.0-inch) longer wheelbase that now measures 2,680 mm (105.5 inches). It’s also gained 25 mm (an inch) in width, now spanning 1,856 mm (73.1 inches) from side-to-side, while the new model’s 1,585-mm (62.4-inch) height means that it’s shrunk by 5 mm (0.2 inches) compared to the old Q3. 

Sidle the new Q3 next to the new Tiguan and you’ll find it’s almost identical in length and wheelbase, albeit only when compared against the short-wheelbase VW offered in Europe. The long-wheelbase version we get here is a significant 227 mm (8.9 inches) longer than the new Q3, with 111 mm (4.4 inches) more distance between the axles, but the Q3 is 17 mm (0.7 inches) wider and interestingly 88 mm (3.4 inches) lower overall. This should give the Q3 a sportier stance, thus leaving the Tiguan to more practical utility duties. 

2019 Audi Q3
Performance should be much stronger thanks to a new optional 230-hp 2.0L turbo engine and a more advanced 8-speed automatic. (Photo: Audi)

Of course, Q3 buyers wouldn’t normally be shopping the little Audi against the Tiguan or any other mainstream volume branded SUV, but instead other subcompact luxury SUVs, but how has its increased size placed it amongst its premium peers? The list of subcompact luxury SUVs is long and ever-increasing, with longstanding models like BMW’s X1, Mercedes-Benz’ GLA, Range Rover’s Evoque and Mini’s Countryman more recently joined by Infiniti’s QX30, Jaguar’s E-Pace and Volvo’s XC40, with Lexus’ new UX getting ready to enter the fray next year and Acura recently teasing North American buyers with its China-only CDX. Without going into too much detail, the new Q3 is currently the longest in its class, but will soon be outflanked by the new UX. Its right in the middle with respect to wheelbase length and width, however, while its roofline is lower than class average. 

2019 Audi Q3
The new Q3’s longer wheelbase, wider track and newer chassis architecture should provide for better handling and improved high-speed stability. (Photo: Audi)

So Audi has taken one of the smaller utilities in the class and made it one of the largest, and therefore potentially opened the door to a future Q1. Rather than climb down that rabbit hole, more Canadians will be happier to know the new Q3 has grown as much inside as it has outwardly. For instance, the longer wheelbase translates into more rear legroom, while the rear seats are capable of moving a full 150 mm (5.9 inches) back and forth. What’s more, the rear bench is now fully split in the most convenient 40/20/40 configuration, instead of just 60/40 with a centre pass-through like the previous model. This means there’s more space down the middle to fit longer items like skis when the rear outboard seats are in use, and those rear backrests are even more comfortable thanks to a recline function that can be tilted in seven increments. 

2019 Audi Q3
Even Q3 trims without the S line exterior package deliver a lot more visual presence than the outgoing model. (Photo: Audi)

Back to those skis, you might be able to fit the kids’ boards diagonally in the back thanks to 57 more litres of cargo space behind the rear seatbacks, the new total amounting to 530 litres (18.7 cubic feet), while 160 additional litres of gear-toting room can be had when the rear seatbacks are laid flat for a new maximum of 1,525 litres (53.9 cubic feet). Aiding flexibility, a new removable loading floor can be repositioned in three levels, while the parcel shelf can be stowed beneath the floor when not in use. Lastly, a powered liftgate with “kicking motion” gesture control access is optional. 

2019 Audi Q3
The new eight-sided singleframe grille pulls design cues from the Q8. (Photo: Audi)

Audi hasn’t revealed standard and optional Canadian-specification information yet, but they have announced that a 10.25-inch version of their Audi Virtual Cockpit will be standard across the line in all markets, which will be a big bonus being that similar digital primary gauge clusters are normally pricey options if available from the competition at all—currently the Volvo XC40 is the only rival to offer one as standard kit. As per usual it operates via steering wheel controls, while when upgrading to a higher trim grade featuring optional MMI navigation plus the Virtual Cockpit comes in a larger 12.3-inch form that allows digital mapping, plus other functions, to appear larger in the more configurable multi-information portion of the display, between the speedometer and tachometer. The optional display also includes three different views, featuring new performance graphics that Audi promises to be “particularly sporty”. 

2019 Audi Q3
The exterior detailing is exquisite, and Matrix LED headlamps, complete with sequential turn signals, give off a jewel-like brilliance. (Photo: Audi)

An attractive high-gloss black MMI Touch display with a sophisticated glass-look surround can be found just to the right of the driver within the horizontally designed centre stack that, together with the climate controls just below, is tilted 10 degrees toward the driver. Audi claims its all-new MMI Touch Response infotainment system, which no longer uses a separate controller on the lower console and therefore is more tablet-like in operation, has an “intuitive operating concept” featuring a “flat menu structure” that’s “supplemented by natural-language voice control.” 

In fact, the Q3’s new voice control is said to understand “freely structured wording,” which means it should respond to voice prompts like a modern-day smartphone. According to Audi, the dialog manager can even ask questions if required, plus it “allows corrections, offers choices and defers to the speaker when interrupted.” Now if Audi could only make the front seat passenger so cooperative. 

2019 Audi Q3
The LED taillights include the same trademark sequential turn signals for a cohesive look from front to back. (Photo: Audi)

Additionally, top-tier Q3 trims get an infotainment system with new LTE Advanced standard connectivity featuring a Wi-Fi hotspot, while the navigation interface remembers preferences from previous journeys and then provides possible route suggestions. Audi connect also uses real-time traffic information when guiding via navigation, while point-of-interest searches plus parking space and filling station info appears directly in the map. 

Regarding the search for that illusive parking spot, the new Q3 actually uses swarm intelligence to forecast the availability of roadside parking spaces, plus it also provides info on road hazards and speed limits. 

2019 Audi Q3
The Q3’s interior provides a high level of style and materials quality, even including suede-like Alcantara on key surfaces. (Photo: Audi)

Additional options will include Google Earth and hybrid radio, which automatically switches between FM, DAB and online streaming to provide the best reception possible. 

What’s more, the myAudi app lets you to connect your smartphone to the Q3, so you can transfer your schedule via a calendar app and any pre-organized navigation routes to the car’s MMI infotainment system, or even locate where your Q3 is parked. 

Speaking of phone connectivity, the Audi phone box inductively charges the owner’s smartphone through the Q3’s antenna, while the Audi smartphone interface lets said smartphones link to the MMI display via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. 

Of course, Bluetooth phone connectivity with audio streaming will come standard, but you’ll need to pay extra for the top-line Bang & Olufsen premium audio system that provides three-dimensional virtual sound via 15 speakers including a subwoofer. 

2019 Audi Q3
A 10.25-inch Audi Virtual Cockpit comes standard, but this larger 12.3-inch version is optional. (Photo: Audi)

Technologies that aid driving may be appreciated even more by Q3 owners, such as advanced forward collision warning with autonomous emergency braking, and available adaptive cruise assist that combines the functions of adaptive speed assist, low speed traffic jam assist and active lane assist together in one. Audi claims that adaptive cruise assist helps with longitudinal and lateral control to particularly improve “comfort on long journeys.” 

What’s more, the Q3’s four 360-degree cameras, which display on the infotainment touchscreen, make it easier to manoeuver in tight surroundings like parking lots. Even better, when using the available park assist semi-autonomous parking system the Q3’s driver only needs to watch the proceedings on the screen while shifting into the correct gear, applying the throttle, and stepping on the brake when necessary, while the car automatically steers itself in and out of parking spaces. Audi also offers cross traffic assist to warn of oncoming vehicles when reversing out of a parking space, while lane change warning is also part of this suite of safety features. 

2019 Audi Q3
The centre stack is beautifully laid out and appears made from high-quality materials. (Photo: Audi)

Along with interior styling that’s much more dramatic, delivering a true sense of occasion even in this more price-sensitive entry-level luxury class, not to mention interior fit, finish and materials quality that should be a considerable upgrade over the previous Q3, especially if we receive the same two-tone suede-like Alcantara dash, armrest and seat trim being offered to Europeans, Audi also promises an ergonomically designed cabin, which is a claim that’s certainly consistent with its latest offerings. This means that “all displays, buttons and controls” are within easy reach and logically laid out for intuitive operation, while the steering wheel is “steeply angled” to coincide with the “sporty”, albeit “comfortable” driver’s seat. 

2019 Audi Q3
The large MMI infotainment interface no longer includes console-mounted controls, but only works via tablet-like touchscreen gestures. (Photo: Audi)

The outgoing Q3’s driver’s seat delivered a nicely raised view to the road ahead with good visibility all-round, important being that the sense of control that comes as part of this commanding driving position is a key reason that SUVs have become so popular. The new model will continue with its similarly raised profile, while also providing some very real performance improvements to enhance the overall driving experience. 

This will be critical to the new Q3’s success, being that a weakness of the outgoing model was its one-size-fits-all 2.0-litre turbocharged powertrain that made 200 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque. Such output is quite reasonable for a base engine, yet when put up against some of its competitors’ upgraded powerplant options it was a tad underwhelming. Therefore, the Canadian-spec Q3 will be available with a new 2.0-litre turbocharged and direct injected four-cylinder making 190 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque in base trim, while a new 230 horsepower variant of the same four-cylinder engine with 258 lb-ft of torque will also be available. 

2019 Audi Q3
Audi offers three transmissions in Europe, but we’ll probably only get the eight-speed automatic here in Canada. (Photo: Audi)

Likewise, six-speed manual, “fast-shifting” seven-speed dual-clutch S tronic automated, and eight-speed automatic transmissions will be on offer, but likely only the latter, which adds two more gears over the outgoing Q3’s six-speed Tiptronic automatic, will make it here, with permanent Haldex-type Quattro all-wheel drive as standard equipment, a marked change from the outgoing Q3 that offered Quattro as an upgrade to a base FWD layout. Audi says the Q3’s new hill descent control will maintain a preset speed on steep downhill gradients by simply pushing a button, which should aid the model’s off-road capability. 

Back on the street, the new Q3 will sport an upgraded Audi drive select with a total of six profiles, from “markedly comfortable, highly efficient through to out-and-out sporty.” Audi drive select can also enhance the suspension with adjustable damper control when equipped, which uses sensors to “measure the movements of all four wheels as well as the vehicle’s lateral and longitudinal acceleration,” before automatically making adjustments. 

2019 Audi Q3
Rear seat roominess should be much improved thanks to a longer wheelbase. (Photo: Audi)

Alternatively, the S line exterior package includes a sport suspension that provides more progressive steering tuning with a more direct feel via increased steering angle, while it firms up the Q3’s springs and dampers too. Previously, steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters were also added as part of the upgraded sport package, but we’ll need to wait and see what Audi has in store for our Canadian-spec model. 

We also won’t know about the 2019 Q3’s fuel economy until closer to its arrival, but if it’s anywhere close to the current model’s 11.9 L/100km city, 8.4 highway and 10.3 combined AWD rating, it will be very competitive. 

2019 Audi Q3
The new 2019 Q3 should find a lot of entry-level luxury SUV buyers when it arrives next spring. (Photo: Audi)

Lastly, the new model is arguably better looking too, with its most striking feature a new equiangular octagon grille, adding two more sides to Audi’s now trademark singleframe design. We first saw this with the new Q8 four-door crossover/coupe, and it’s also appeared in various Q2, Q4 and Q6 renderings and concepts, so we can feel pretty confident it’s the new face of Audi SUVs, at least. All of the new cars still feature versions of the now classic six-sided grille, albeit featuring sharper edging with each new model, but this new ovoid look is appealing within the brand’s crossover SUV lineup, giving the Q3 distinctive character. 

The new grille gets divided up with vertical bars and large air inlets, the look made more dramatic when opting for the aforementioned S line exterior package that brightens the vertical strakes with aluminized highlights, or alternatively with available glossy black and dark grey trim. Moving up to the S line also enhances the lower front fascia with unique floating satin-silver detailing within deeper cut corner vents, and then pulls the brightwork inward with a horizontal metallic strip. There’s much more to the S line exterior package than that, making it a good choice for those who want their Q3 to stand out in the subcompact luxury SUV crowd. 

Depending on trim, the Q3’s narrow headlamps can be fitted with one of three lighting sources, topped off with Matrix LED technology and adaptive high beams. 

We’ll know more about all of these details when the 2019 Audi Q3 goes on sale next year, but until then enjoy our photo gallery above and video below. 

 

Audi 2019 Q3 Defined: Design (3:04):

The more popular SUVs continue to become, the more likely we’ll be seeing ever varying adaptations on their sport and utility themes. Some automakers will break from the status quo by providing ultimately…

2018 Audi SQ5 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik Road Test

2018 Audi SQ5 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
The SQ5 adds more muscle to the ultra-popular Audi Q5 compact luxury SUV, in both style and performance. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

The more popular SUVs continue to become, the more likely we’ll be seeing ever varying adaptations on their sport and utility themes. Some automakers will break from the status quo by providing ultimately capable off-roaders that take to the hills like their forebears could never have dreamed, while others will come equipped with new levels of roadworthiness, as adept at managing the track as their upright, five-door body styles are capable of swallowing up family and cargo. The Audi SQ5 fits into the latter mould. 

The word mould might not be the ideal descriptor, mind you, being that very few SUVs even come close to measuring up to the wonderfully quick and superbly agile SQ5. In fact, maybe a handful within the compact luxury segment could be called competitors at all, these including the 355 horsepower BMW X3 M40i, the 360 horsepower Porsche Macan GTS, the 362 horsepower Mercedes-AMG GLC 43, the 380 horsepower Jaguar F-Pace S, the Jag’s familial Range Rover Velar with its version of the same 380 horsepower supercharged 3.0-litre V6, and the 400 horsepower Macan Turbo, while the 440 horsepower Performance Package version of the same Porsche Macan Turbo, the 503 horsepower AMG GLC 63 S version of the Mercedes SUV, and the 550 horsepower SVR version of the aforementioned Jaguar are in another class altogether. 

2018 Audi SQ5 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
Attractive from front to back, the SQ5 provides a really unique diffuser-style rear bumper cap. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

A humbling assortment of super-SUVs? Considering the SQ5’s 354 horsepower is the lowest output in this rarified group, one might think so. Still, it comes down to performance at a price, and the $61,300 SQ5’s sizeable 369 lb-ft of torque allows it to sprint to 100km/h in just 5.3 seconds and on to a speed limited 250 km/h that neither of us will likely ever experience. 

2018 Audi SQ5 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
Full LED headlamps with automatic high beams come standard with the SQ5. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

It’ll cost you just $200 more to slice 0.5 seconds off that zero to 100km/h time with the just noted X3 M40i that makes an identical torque figure, while strangely the $1,200 pricier GLC 43’s more robust 384 lb-ft of torque only results in 4.9 seconds to 100km/h, but it’s still quicker than the SQ5. Despite a much loftier price of $76,000 the Macan GTS is probably the closest performance match to the SQ5 at 5.2 seconds to 100km/h, but the same model in even pricier $87,200 Turbo trim chops the sprint time to 4.8 seconds, whereas the $69,900 V6-powered F-Pace is left slightly behind at 5.5 seconds to 100km/h, and the identically powered and priced Velar is good for 5.7 seconds. All prices can be found at CarCostCanada, by the way, plus rebate info and dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands. 

2018 Audi SQ5 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
The SQ5’s grille and corner vents are filled with bolder horizontal slats, while the latter extend deeper within a more aggressive lower front fascia. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

A noteworthy alternative is the new Alfa Romeo Stelvio that manages a cracking 5.4-second sprint to 100km/h and 232 km/h top speed despite only offering 280 horsepower and 306 lb-ft of torque from its 2.0-litre turbocharged four, while the new $95,000 Stelvio Quadrifoglio will soon be tied with the AMG GLC 63 for fastest in the class due to a zero to 100km/h run of just 3.8 seconds and top speed of 285 km/h, its twin-turbo 2.9-litre V6 making a significant 505 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque. Considering the Stelvio comes from the global automaker responsible for the 707-horsepower Jeep Cherokee SRT Hellcat, why should we expect anything less? 

2018 Audi SQ5 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
These 21-inch V-design alloys on 255/40 performance tires are a $1,000 option. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

As for those other super beasts, the $99,000 upgraded Macan Turbo does the deed in 4.4 seconds, Jag’s hyper-fast $89,900 SVR is rated at 4.3 seconds, and Merc’s outrageous $90,500 GLC 63 is, as already noted, now tied for the segment’s quickest SUV at just 3.8 seconds to 100km/h. 

As it’s easy to see, the more you pay the more you get, for the most part, yet the SQ5 delivers a potent dose of straight-line performance for what is currently this compact super-SUV segment’s lowest price point. What’s more, if you were to build out each of these competitors you’d quickly learn that Audi’s value proposition grows commensurately as its rivals’ directly comparative pricing expands exponentially. 

2018 Audi SQ5 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
Technik trim includes a number of advanced safety features including Audi side assist blindspot warning. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Being that purchasing any one of the aforementioned SUVs is hardly a needs driven choice, the decision will come down to other factors as well, such as how all that performance translates into real-world driving capability, both when pushing the limits and when cruising down the highway or running around town, plus the usual personal taste issues like styling, interior design and execution, features, and general livability. 

2018 Audi SQ5 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
A powered panoramic glass sunroof between aluminized roof rails comes standard with both SQ5 trims. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Something could be said for heritage, with the four-ringed brand’s history dating back to the early 20th century, although these were complex beginnings that involved the merger of four brands to form one conglomerate in 1932, Auto Union AG being the latter and Audi, DKW, Horch, plus Wanderer making up the former four. In the end, Audi was the only name to survive after Volkswagen group acquired Auto Union from Daimler-Benz in the 1960s, and after some initial hiccups it has transformed into one of the most formidable players in the premium automotive sector. 

As for the SQ5, it has also shown endurance as the compact luxury SUV segment’s longest running performance model. It arrived in 2013 as a 2014 model, and has therefore been with us for six-plus years. The Macan hit the road the following year, while the M40i version of the X3, and the rest of these compact SUV power players, are relative newcomers. 

2018 Audi SQ5 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
These LED taillights include dynamic indicators that sequentially flash in the direction you’re turning. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Something else the SQ5 has in its corner is a Q5 donor model that’s the segment’s number one seller, showing that in this class more luxury buyers prefer Audi when it comes to drivability and the multiple parameters previously mentioned, including styling, interior design and execution, features, and overall functionality. 

2018 Audi SQ5 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
If you don’t immediately recognize the red and chrome SQ5 badge on the liftgate, these unique tailpipes and the diffuser-like opening between them will let you know this Audi SUV is special. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Similar to the Q5, the SQ5 is an easy and enjoyable SUV to drive around town, wonderfully comfortable over smoothly paved roads and irregular patches of asphalt alike, albeit more stiffly sprung than its less sporting stable mate. This makes it superbly stable on the open highway, and especially so when the road narrows and starts to wind, where its sport sedan-like handling is much more capable than those on the more docile side of this category. Adding to its comfort quotient, well-designed sport seats support five occupants front to back, ample roominess surrounds, and driver ergonomics are especially good. 

As for styling, the Q5 is entirely new for 2018 so its design remains totally fresh, albeit heavily influenced by the smaller subcompact Q3 and larger mid-size Q7, not to mention other Audi models. This, of course, is a good thing, being that most find the brand’s lineup very attractive. 

2018 Audi SQ5 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
You’re going to love the SQ5’s impressive interior. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

The SQ5 differentiates itself from the Q5 via new standard LED headlamps, bolder front grille strakes, the same horizontal aluminized slats on the front corner vents, which protrude lower and incorporate some nice new details as part of a revised front valance, some unique satin-silver trim up front, on the mirror caps and at back, modified side skirts spanning a sporty set of twinned five-spoke 20-inch alloys shod in 255/45 performance rubber, a longer rooftop spoiler, and a revised rear bumper cap incorporating visually extended side skirts at each corner and a new set of ovoid tailpipes at each end of what appears to be a completely open diffuser. Red and silver SQ5 badging finishes off the look, which is a nice visual step up from the regular Q5 overall, albeit not dramatically different. 

2018 Audi SQ5 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
Audi provides an ideally ergonomic driving environment, that’s as feature filled and luxuriously appointed as anything in its class. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Back to the mechanicals under the SQ5’s svelte new sheetmetal, the 3.0-litre V6 engine’s aforementioned torque rating is 22 lb-ft greater than it was from 2014 through 2017, thanks to a new turbocharger that replaces the previous supercharger. All that extra twist is now available lower down the rev range too, arriving at only 1,370 rpm, which gives the updated 2018 SQ5 a noticeable improvement in response off the line. 

2018 Audi SQ5 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
The 12.3-inch Audi Virtual Cockpit can be configured in multiple ways. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

In fact, the SQ5 accelerates at a blisteringly quick rate accompanied by a wonderfully sonorous exhaust note that blips with each gear change for an adrenaline inducing auditory track, enhanced further when Audi drive select is set to Dynamic sport mode. The eight-speed automatic provides fairly quick paddle-prompted shifts, but it doesn’t flick through the gears with the type of precise action as Audi’s S-tronic dual-clutch gearbox. Still, each increment is smooth, which is a more suitable attribute for an SUV than anything too abrupt. 

I should mention the revised engine is 14 kilos (30.8 lbs) lighter too, which when combined with the new SQ5’s reduced weight helps to lessen curb weight by 35 kilograms (77.1 lbs) overall. 

2018 Audi SQ5 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
Press the “VIEW” button on the steering wheel to reduce the primary dials and expand the MID. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Along with the obvious benefits to performance, the new SQ5’s trimmed girth aids fuel economy, with a 2018 rating of 12.7 L/100km in the city, 10.0 on the highway and 11.5 combined, compared to 14.1 city, 9.9 highway and 12.2 combined for the outgoing 2017 model. That’s a massive improvement considering both utilize similar eight-speed automatic transmissions with auto start/stop, and standard Quattro AWD. 

2018 Audi SQ5 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
The SQ5’s centre stack controls are attractively designed, well laid out and within easy reach. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Features in mind, last year the SQ5 came in a top-tier Dynamic Edition with 21-inch alloys, performance tires and loads of premium kit that was otherwise optional, but this upgrade was discontinued for 2018 in place of the usual mid-range Progressiv and top-line Technik trim lines, plus a similar assortment of packages and standalone options. 

On that note the SQ5 Progressiv comes well equipped with the aforementioned full LED headlamps featuring automatic high beams, LED taillights with dynamic indicators, anodized metal-finish roof rails, proximity-sensing keyless access that includes a hands-free power tailgate, pushbutton ignition, an electromechanical parking brake, plus Audi drive select with Auto, Comfort, Offroad, Dynamic sport and Individual modes. 

2018 Audi SQ5 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
Technik trims combines a regular backup camera with this fabulous overhead Bird’s Eye view. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Interior trim includes brushed aluminum inlays, while a special S-branded leather-wrapped multifunction heatable sport steering wheel with shift paddles, and heavily bolstered sport seats with gorgeous diamond stitched S-embossed Nappa leather upholstery continue the SQ5’s bespoke look and feel. 

2018 Audi SQ5 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
Unlike some in this class, the main display has touchscreen features like tap, swipe and pinch. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Additional standard features include rain-sensing wipers, power-folding and auto-dimming side mirrors, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a HomeLink garage door opener, heatable powered front seats with four-way powered lumbar and driver’s memory, tri-zone automatic climate control, an 8.3-inch MMI infotainment display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, the MMI touch control system on the lower console that includes a touchpad, rotating dial and quick-access button combination, Bluetooth phone connectivity with audio streaming, accurate navigation with detailed mapping, front and rear parking sensors, Audi’s music interface with USB connectivity, satellite radio, a powered panoramic sunroof featuring an opaque sunshade that still allows a bit of light through when closed, Audi pre sense basic that automatically closes all windows and the sunroof if sensing a potential accident, the usual allotment of active and passive safety features, plus more. 

2018 Audi SQ5 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
The MMI touch control system on the lower console includes a touchpad, rotating dial and quick-access button combination. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

My $65,900 Technik trimmed tester replaced the base model’s 7.0-inch colour multi-information display (MID) with the 12.3-inch Audi Virtual Cockpit, a fully digital instrument cluster that’s easily one of the industry’s best thanks to its ability to shrink down the primary gauges while simultaneously expanding the MID’s functions, the navigation mapping especially impressive when this “VIEW” mode is applied. Likewise, Technik trim improves on the base model’s backup camera with dynamic guidelines by adding a Bird’s Eye overhead 360-degre surround view, while this top-line model also replaces the base 10-speaker stereo with a fabulous sounding Bang & Olufsen 3D surround system, plus it adds custom colours to the standard ambient interior lighting, heated/cooled front cupholders, and heatable rear outboard seats. 

2018 Audi SQ5 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
Even the shifter is a thing of beauty, incorporating leather, metals, and high-quality composites. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Technik trim also includes a number of advanced safety features like Audi pre sense rear that does everything pre sense basic does with a focus on potential rear collisions; the Audi side assist blindspot warning system; rear cross-traffic alert that warns of drive-by traffic when reversing out of a perpendicular parking spot or driveway; a new exit warning system that lets you know if a vehicle is approaching from behind when you’re parallel parked and opening your door to get out; plus Audi Connect Assistance and Security, which is a suite of entertainment and security-based services designed to enhance convenience, enjoyment and safety. 

2018 Audi SQ5 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
Look at these gorgeous diamond-stitched Nappa leather seats! They’re even better to sit in. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

By the way, all of the aforementioned safety systems and the surround camera are available in lesser Progressiv trim when opting for the $1,500 Driver Assistance package, while both trims offer a $1,100 Comfort Interior package with softer Milano leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, and rear side window sunshades. My tester didn’t include the latter, but its interior looked fabulous thanks to $900 worth of glossy Carbon Atlas inlays across the dash and door panels. 

Technik models go a step further by offering a $2,100 Advanced Driver Assistance package that includes adaptive cruise control with Stop and Go, Audi pre sense front autonomous emergency braking, Audi pre sense city, traffic sign recognition, Audi active lane assist, and traffic congestion assist. 

2018 Audi SQ5 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
The standard panoramic sunroof provides plenty of overhead light plus fresh air if powered rearward. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Also available, a $1,100 head-up display projects key information onto the windscreen ahead of the driver, while rear passengers can benefit from the added safety of side-impact airbags. 

Audi swapped out the regular 20-inch alloy wheels that come standard with both trims for set of $1,000 21-inch V-design alloys on 255/40 performance tires, which helped to dress up the exterior even further than the standard SQ5 while enhancing handling a little bit more. 

2018 Audi SQ5 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
The rear seating area is roomy, comfortable and plenty luxurious. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

While great to look at, fabulous to drive and as beautifully finished inside as anything this class has to offer, the SQ5 remains as utile as the regular Q5. From its spacious and comfortable passenger compartment to a roomier than average 759-litre (26.8 cubic-foot) cargo capacity, which expands up to 1,710 litres (60.4 cu ft) by pulling on levers attached to each sidewall, the SQ5 doesn’t shortchange on space or fine attention to detail, like high-quality carpeting, webbed pockets, chromed tie-down rings, and a stunning brushed metal protector plate in the back. Even better, those rear seatbacks automatically drop either 60 or 40 percent, but take note that the left 60 is actually divided 40/20, which lets you unlock the centre portion to lay longer items like skis down the middle while rear passengers enjoy the more comfortable outboard window seats that, as noted, were heated on my tester as well. The 60/40 portions slide fore and aft plus recline too, so you won’t be hearing complaints about comfort from those in back. 

2018 Audi SQ5 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
Ultra-fast, yet the SQ5 is just as accommodating for passengers and cargo as the regular Q5. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Truly, I can’t imagine anyone complaining about life with an SQ5, other than your significant other moaning expletives if they don’t get enough time behind the wheel. The truth is, as comfortable as the SQ5 is for passengers, you’ll want to be in the driver’s seat more often than not. That’s certainly how I felt. 

There may be faster performance SUVs on the market, but the new SQ5 might just be most well rounded option available, delivering bucket loads of speedy acceleration, a sonorous soundtrack of burbling exhaust notes, a superb handling and ride compromise, a gorgeous, comfortable and fully functional interior, plus enough features to even keep techies enthused well into the ownership cycle. I wholeheartedly recommend it.

Consider the history of Audi here in North America. The four-ringed brand from Ingolstadt, Germany toiled in the shadows during its nascent years in the North American markets, with solid but relatively…

2019 Audi e-tron E55 Quattro Preview

2019 Audi e-tron E55 Quattro
Audi will soon hit the market with an all-electric plug-in EV dubbed e-tron, and it promises to hit Tesla right where it hurts. (Photo: Audi)

Consider the history of Audi here in North America. The four-ringed brand from Ingolstadt, Germany toiled in the shadows during its nascent years in the North American markets, with solid but relatively unknown models like the Audi 100 LS, Fox, and 5000. It was the 5000, totally redesigned in its third generation as an aerodynamic sedan that really began a sales trend for Audi. The 5000 was large, safe and technologically advanced. After all, the motto for the company for quite some time has been Vorsprung durch Technik (Progress through Technology), and the 5000 was technologically ahead of its time. 

And then a bad thing happened.

2019 Audi e-tron E55 Quattro
Stylish from all angles, the new e-tron builds on Audi’s current angular design language with a few unique elements of its own. (Photo: Audi)

The long running CBS program 60 Minutes aired a report that Audi 5000 cars were accelerating on their own, and started an “Unintended Acceleration” scare that almost sank the company. Audi was ultimately cleared during this unfortunate hysteria, but the damage had been done, sales tanked, and Audi’s ship slowly began to sink. 

Thankfully, the bright minds at Audi retooled the brand and came out with the A4, A6, luxury A8 and performance S Car variants, and the sales numbers started to climb again. 

For over 40 years, Audi has also enjoyed special success on many race circuits around the world, with the legendary quattro all-wheel drive system proving its mettle in Rally Racing, Hill Climb events like Pikes Peak, and endurance events like the 24 Hours of Le Mans. 

2019 Audi e-tron E55 Quattro
The “e-tron” logos at the side “engine vent” position light up when underway, while those side mirrors are actually rearview cameras. (Photo: Audi)

At Le Mans, Audi regularly enjoyed trips to victory lane with the gasoline powered R8, V8 twin turbo and R10 turbodiesel twelve cylinder supercars. The R10 produced 590 hp and 774 lb-ft of torque and was legendary; winning every race at Le Mans it was entered in. And then along came Peugeot, winning in 2009 with their 908 HDi twelve cylinder turbo-diesel endurance racers that had more power and torque than Audi’s offerings 730hp/890 lb-ft torque). But Audi would have no part of this short lived dominance by Peugeot, responding with the V10 powered R15, and the winning ways continued, placing first, second and third in 2010 in the vaunted LMP1 group. I was there that year as a guest of Audi, and it was a special experience for me personally and for the company worldwide. Audi’s endurance race efforts eventually used V6 “e-tron” hybrid power, and the renamed R18 continued to dominate in endurance racing. Smartly, Audi’s technology on the racetrack was used to develop stout powerplants, particularly diesels, and other hi-tech for consumer Audis. 

2019 Audi e-tron E55 Quattro
A different viewpoint of the side badging and rearview camera system. (Photo: Audi)

Audi’s success with the diesels spread like wildfire, with domestic sales of turbodiesel cars booming with Audi’s parent Volkswagen Group. Yes, VW, Audi and Porsche all shared in the success of the extremely fun to drive and super efficient TDI powerplants. 

And then the bottom fell out for Audi again, and for the VW Group as a whole, as the Group was accused of and admitted to goosing software to make their TDI cars and SUVs appear to be cleaner in Environmental Protection Agency Clean Air Act testing.  After paying record fines and buying back many beloved TDI vehicles from owners, like the Audi Q7 TDI, the VW Group abandoned the diesel business here in the North America. Before the scandal, diesels represented 25 percent of all VW sales in the U.S. and an even greater number in Canada, plus a significant percentage of Audi sales. 

2019 Audi e-tron E55 Quattro
The new 2019 Audi e-tron E55 Quattro motors onto the stage during the San Francisco e-tron launch event. (Photo: Brian Armstead, Canadian Auto Press)

Whether the Group eventually returns to TDI power in the future remains to be seen, but one thing is sure, Audi won’t be part of the equation. Why? Because the marque has chosen to stake its future on an entirely electrified lineup of cars and SUVs.  By 2025, every Audi will have some form of electrification. 

Ambitious? Certainly. But other luxury manufacturers like Volvo have made similar proclamations. 

At its shareholders meeting earlier this year, Audi’s future strategy was laid out, as the brand plans to sell 800,000 electrified cars in 2025 between 20 different electric models. Audi says that most will be fully electric, with the remainder being plug-in hybrids. 

2019 Audi e-tron E55 Quattro
The e-tron’s interior doesn’t make any radical deviations from any of today’s production Audis, other than the sideview camera system. (Photo: Audi)

According to an official statement by Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management for Audi AG, “Our ambition has always been and will continue to be Vorsprung durch Technik. Our goal is to revolutionize mobility. Also in electric mobility, we want to become the Number 1 among the premium manufacturers – with full suitability for everyday use, no compromises, top quality and driving pleasure for the customer. With our technological excellence, we are utilizing our Vorsprung and lifting electric mobility to the next level.” 

Smart? I certainly think so, as Audi can carve out a large chunk of the luxury electric car business, and produce cars and SUVs in a way that electric car innovator Tesla simply can’t. 

2019 Audi e-tron E55 Quattro
No one should be disappointed with the e-tron’s interior design or execution. (Photo: Audi)

Recently, more than 2,500 Audi dealers and customers and a throng of auto writers from traditional and social media platforms joined Audi in San Francisco for the spectacular e-tron World Debut. 

With the glamour and glitz of a Hollywood production, e-tron rolled into a packed warehouse on San Francisco Bay and “charged” the audience with the same type of hype and emotion of Mayweather/McGregor at the MGM in Vegas. One could say the match was Electric v. Gasoline, and it was quite a show. When the epic event was over and we got a chance to see e-tron up close, Audi’s motto rose from whatever ashes the diesel debacle left behind, as Vorsprung durch Technik is reborn with e-tron.

2019 Audi e-tron E55 Quattro
The front compartment looks roomy and the seats appear comfortable. (Photo: Audi)

So what is e-tron? It’s a sport-ute styled like the Q5 and Q7 that will probably feature the brand’s usual trio of Komfort, Progressiv and Technik trim levels when details become known. In the U.S., where trims and pricing were announced as part of the San Francisco event, it comes in base Premium Plus trim starting at $74,800 USD, Prestige trim at $81,800 USD, and as the limited (999 units) “Edition One” starting at $86,700 USD. Premium Plus includes a 9.6kW AC home charger, Bang & Olufsen 3D sound system, Audi “phone box” wireless charger and signal booster, heated and ventilated leather seats, panoramic sunroof and integrated toll module. 

Prestige includes all Premium Plus gear plus a head-up display, driver assistance package, adaptive cruise control, active lane assist, intersection assistant, Audi pre sense 360, traffic sign recognition, power soft close doors, rear window sunshades, dual pane acoustic windows, contour seats with massage, Valcona leather and an air quality package with an ionizer. 

2019 Audi e-tron E55 Quattro
Audi is already putting a comprehensive charging infrastructure into place to support its e-tron customers. (Photo: Audi)

While all trim levels are well contented, Edition One differentiates itself from other trims mostly through unique body and interior trim, and special paint and wheels. 

One super high tech feature Audi hopes will be standard equipment on the e-tron 55 quattro is side cameras to replace traditional sideview mirrors. At a display I visited prior to the world debut called Audi Tech Park, all of e-tron’s super cool hardware was on exhibit, including the impressive high-definition sideview cameras. Audi is awaiting U.S. Government safety approval of this exciting new feature, and we assume they’re focusing similar lobbying on the Canadian government. 

The e-tron 55 quattro will join the A3 Sportback e-tron hybrid (on sale now) in Audi’s whirlwind march toward the model total expected in 2025. 

2019 Audi e-tron E55 Quattro
The e-tron can be plugged into the majority of charging systems. (Photo: Audi)

The e-tron 55 features seating for five adults, quattro electric all-wheel drive (one motor at each wheel), air suspension, and a towing capacity of 1,800 kg (4,000 pounds). 

The two electric motors accelerate the e-tron from 0-100 km/h in 5.7 seconds and reach a top speed of 200 km/h (124 mph). 

The Audi e-tron uses an innovative recuperation system encompassing both electric motors, to boost efficiency. With its estimated range of more than 400 km (250 miles), expect as much as 30 percent of the e-tron’s range to come from recovered energy, depending on the conditions, terrain and driving style. The e-tron can recover energy in two ways: by means of coasting recuperation when the driver releases the accelerator, or by means of braking recuperation by depressing the brake pedal. 

2019 Audi e-tron E55 Quattro
The e-tron’s battery design is ultra-complex. (Photo: Brian Armstead, Canadian Auto Press)

The battery system in the Audi e-tron is located beneath the cabin and comprises a total of 36 cell modules in square aluminum housings, each of which is roughly the size of a shoebox. 

A cooling system of flat aluminum extruded sections divided uniformly into small chambers has the task of maintaining the battery’s high-performance operation over the long term. Heat is exchanged between the cells and the cooling system beneath them via a thermally conductive gel pressed beneath each cell module. A special cooling lance provides additional heat reduction to power motors. 

A strong surround frame and lattice-type aluminum structure that holds the cell modules is designed to protect the battery block. A substantial aluminum plate provides protection against damage from flying stones or curbs. These measures demonstrate how Audi’s engineers have developed the battery and cooling systems with safety in mind. 

2019 Audi e-tron E55 Quattro
e-tron recharging partially takes place while you drive. (Photo: Audi)

For customers’ residential charging needs, a standard 9.6 kW AC capsule charger (Level 2, 240-volt/40 amps) is provided and designed to deliver a full charge overnight.

Audi e-tron buyers will also have the opportunity to experience the first-ever home charging collaboration between online retail giant Amazon and an automaker. “Audi Home Charging powered by Amazon Home Services” will offer e-tron buyers a fully-digital experience for in-home electric vehicle charging installations, designed to make the process of home charging set up as easy as ordering home charging with installation from Amazon. 

E-tron buyers can also define their own personal priorities, such as charging when electricity is less expensive where available. With the myAudi app, owners can plan, control, and monitor e-tron charging and pre-heating/cooling. Owners can set a departure time, for example, so that the Audi e-tron is charged and/or heated/cooled at the desired time. They can even choose to heat or cool certain zones in the car. On cold winter days, for example, owners can turn on optional seat heating. The app also displays charging and driving data. 

2019 Audi e-tron E55 Quattro
Audi has staked its claim in the FIA-sanctioned Formula E series. (Photo: Audi)

For charging on the go in the U.S., the e-tron will be supported by a nationwide charging network, “Powered by Electrify America.” By July 2019, this network will include nearly 500 fast-charging sites complete or under development throughout 40 states and 17 metro areas. Offering advanced charging, Electrify America’s chargers are capable of delivering up to 350kW. With the purchase of the e-tron, customers will receive 1,000 kWh of charging at Electrify America sites over four years of ownership. According to reports nothing similar has been finalized for Canadian customers, but sources within Audi Canada believe a similar deal may be offered. 

Take years of German engineering and production know how, and Audi’s capacity to produce e-tron on a large scale looks better than Tesla’s struggling efforts to meet consumer demand long before the first e-tron hits the street in Q2 of 2019. 

2019 Audi e-tron E55 Quattro
Tesla had better get ready, because Audi is on the move. (Photo: Brian Armstead, Canadian Auto Press)

Additionally, Audi left internal combustion engine powered endurance racing, and now competes and wins in the all-electric “Formula E” racing series with the e-tron FE04. Successes with technology in Formula E will certainly trickle down to Audi consumer electric vehicles, in the same way Le Mans successes helped spur their once strong diesel sales. 

The 2019 Audi e-tron 55 quattro seems to have covered all of the bases that make it a safe, well equipped option for luxury electric car buyers. Watch out Tesla. The competition now is real. 

Ready to get yours? Visit audi.ca and place a $1,000 fully refundable deposit. 

And while you’re waiting for your car to arrive, check out these great e-tron e55 quattro videos provided by Audi:

 

Electrified: the world premiere of the Audi e-tron (3:13):  

 

May we present: the all-new Audi e-tron (4:00):  

 

A new era of electric mobility: the first fully electric Audi e-tron (2:10):  

 

Audi e-tron: Electric has gone quattro (0:15):  

Where is the world’s best mid-size luxury SUV made? Audi can make a good argument for Bratislava, Slovakia, where its recently redesigned Q7 SUV flagship has been assembled since inception in November…

2018 Audi Q7 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik Road Test

2018 Audi Q7 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
No S Line Sport package this year, but we think this top-line Technik-trimmed 2018 Q7 3.0 TFSI Quattro looks great just the same. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Where is the world’s best mid-size luxury SUV made? Audi can make a good argument for Bratislava, Slovakia, where its recently redesigned Q7 SUV flagship has been assembled since inception in November of 2005, when the 2006 first-generation model arrived on the scene and almost immediately became the darling of the seven-passenger luxury crossover SUV market. 

Astute readers will correct me by stating the Q7 is also produced in Kaluga, Russia and Aurangabad, India, but the one we get hails from the quaint Slovakian capital that flanks the Danube River, its fertile banks surrounded in vineyards, the entire area nestled within the Little Carpathian mountains, a picturesque part of Europe that rivals its Austrian and Hungarian neighbours for good beer and good times. 

2018 Audi Q7 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
The more angular new Q7 looks fresh and modern from front to back. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

This said the only Audi vehicles I’ve ever driven through Europe were on Austrian and German roads, and never once in a Q7. My four-ringed adventure began in the Alps near Salzburg aboard a bevy of TT Coupes, followed up by the premium brand’s A8L flagship sedan powered by a ridiculously potent turbo-diesel V8 on the autobahn between the Red Bull capital (and of course childhood home to Mozart—I walked past Hagenauerhaus on my way to dinner while visiting on a separate occasion with Maserati) and Audi HQ in Ingolstadt in Ingolstadt. How I would love to drive this new Q7 over the same routes, or for that matter any of the other circuitous European roadways I’ve grown to appreciate from many visits across the Atlantic since youth (back then we had a VW 411 “Squareback”, not exactly in the same league). 

2018 Audi Q7 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
This sharp new take on Audi’s “Singleframe” grille has spread across the brand’s entire SUV lineup. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The first-generation Q7 aged gracefully, having managed to maintain its popularity despite few updates during its decade-long run, which is a nod to the original SUV’s good inherent design both aesthetically and mechanically. This second-generation version, which arrived in 2016 for the 2017 model year, rides on a new lighter weight chassis architecture that’s allowed for a significant 300-kilo (660-lb) reduction in mass, while this in turn has resulted in the first-ever application of a fuel-efficient turbocharged four-cylinder in the large albeit still mid-size three-row SUV. 

I drove and reported on the 2.0 TFSI equipped Q7 last year and not only found it wholly adequate, but in fact its 252 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque felt downright spirited thanks in part to the standard eight-speed automatic and efficient Quattro all-wheel drive system it comes mated to, but for those that make their German engineering choice with an eye on performance first and foremost, I recommend the V6. 

2018 Audi Q7 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
Technik trim gets standard full LED headlamps, that add nighttime brightness as well as daytime sophistication. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The 2018 Audi Q7 3.0 TFSI Quattro shown on this page felt much the same as a V6-powered model I also tested and reviewed last year, although this variation on the theme didn’t include an upgrade to the $1,800 S Line Sport package, which is really more about cosmetics than performance anyway, due to no sport suspension improvements and identically sized albeit uniquely designed 20-inch alloys on 285/45 all-season tires, restyled front and rear bumpers, an enlarged rear rooftop spoiler, S line fender badges and door sill embellishment on the metal treadplates, and a black headliner inside. 

2018 Audi Q7 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
The Technik’s standard 10-spoke 20-inch alloys combine elegance with ample sportiness. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

With its visual focus more about luxury than sport, my Q7 loaner still looked suitably planted with its 20-inch 10-spoke Star design alloys, while its two-slat corner vents are hardly less aggressive than the trio of glossy black slats and deeper brake vents provided in S Line trim. 

As you might expect, the 2018 Q7 is mostly carryover from last year, this only being the second-gen model’s second year of availability, so therefore the only change this year is the addition of standard Audi side assist blindspot warning and Audi pre-sense rear advanced driver assistance systems to mid-range Progressiv trim, the latter feature using a rear-facing camera to detect and warn of potential rear-end collisions, at which point it mitigates possible injuries by automatically adjusting the seats, tightening the seatbelts, plus closing the windows and sunroof. Additionally, as-tested top-line Technik trim now gets the Audi Connect smartphone interface, concierge service, and security features as standard equipment. 

2018 Audi Q7 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
Of course the taillights are LEDs, and these look even better when lit up at night. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

While we’re talking trims, according to CarCostCanada.com that has full pricing by trim level, the dealer’s invoice pricing (wouldn’t it be helpful to know that?), and info on available rebates, the Q7 is once again available in three grades including $61,900 Komfort, $67,650 Progressiv and $74,750 Technik. Quattro AWD is standard, while the aforementioned 2.0-litre turbo-four is standard in Komfort and Progressiv trims, while not available with Technik. The 3.0-litre supercharged V6 is a $4,000 option in either base or mid-range trim, with the result of this choice being 333 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque for considerably stronger straight-line performance, its zero to 100km/h sprint time improved by 1.7 seconds from 7.4 to 5.7 seconds, plus almost no downside in fuel economy as per Transport Canada’s official claimed rating of 12.6 L/100km city, 9.4 highway and 11.1 combined for the V6 and 12.2, 9.5 and 11.0 respectively for the I-4. 

2018 Audi Q7 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
The Q7 opens up to one of the best interiors in the mid-size SUV sector. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Yes, I know this seems strange, so I found my second witness in the U.S. EPA that shows identical ratings of 19 mpg city, 25 highway and 21 combined no matter the engine tested, which in case you were wondering come very close to our government’s estimates at 12.4 L/100km city, 9.4 highway and 11.2 combined when converted to metric. So there you have it, the 2.0 TFSI is more about reducing the Q7’s initial price than ongoing costs. 

Additionally, with the optional tow package added to both four- and six-cylinder powered Q7s, the latter increases its trailering capacity by more than 1,500 kilos (3,300 lbs) over the former, from 1,995 kilograms (4,400 lbs) to a surprisingly capable 3,500 kg (7,700 lbs). 

2018 Audi Q7 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
Everything is well made, smartly organized and within reach. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

No matter which engine you choose, Komfort trim includes standard self-leveling Xenon plus headlights with washers, LED daytime running lights, LED taillights, 19-inch alloy wheels, heated power-folding side mirrors, stainless steel door sills, pushbutton ignition, a heatable leather-wrapped steering wheel, paddle shifters, an electromechanical parking brake, rain-sensing wipers, Audi Drive Select performance modes, a HomeLink garage door opener, a cooled glove box, heatable eight-way powered front seats with four-way powered driver’s lumbar support, driver-side memory for the seat and side mirrors, leather upholstery, genuine oak hardwood, piano black lacquer and real aluminum interior trim, tri-zone automatic climate control, a large infotainment display that powers up from within the dash top, HD and satellite radio, a powered panoramic glass sunroof with an electric sunshade, a powered liftgate, a retractable cargo cover, 50/50-split power-folding third-row seatbacks, front and rear parking sensors, engine stop-start, regenerative braking, and Audi’s pre-sense basic driver assistance system that detects when an emergency manoeuvre is being made and then initiates all of the crash preventative measures noted earlier about pre-sense rear. 

2018 Audi Q7 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
The Audi Virtual Cockpit lets you go from a fairly normal looking gauge cluster… (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

My Technik tester included all of the above, plus everything from mid-range Progressiv trim such as its proximity-sensing keyless access, auto-dimming centre and side mirrors, blindspot warning, power-adjustable steering column, Audi Virtual Cockpit fully digital 12.3-inch TFT gauge cluster, 360-degree Topview surround parking camera, aforementioned smartphone integration, navigation, additional rear zone for the climate control system, four-way powered front passenger lumbar, ventilated front seats, heatable rear outboard seats, stainless steel trunk sill protection, virtual pedal proximity-sensing trunk release, and more. 

2018 Audi Q7 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
….to a all the graphic info you could ever need, by the simple touch of a steering wheel-mounted “VIEW” button. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Lastly, exclusive Technik features include full LED headlamps for much brighter nighttime drives, a larger set of 20-inch alloys on 285/45 all-season run-flats for better grip, a sensational sounding 3D Surround Sound Bose audio system with 19 speakers and 558 watts of power, Audi connect assistance and security services, and more. 

Of course, some of the features that come standard with Technik trim can be had in option packages and as standalone upgrades within each trim level, while my tester was also enhanced further with a $150 set of second-row side window sunshades, which are ideal if you have sun-sensitive passengers in back. I’d find it difficult to believe many Q7s are ordered without the $900 Driver Assistance Package too, which includes auto high beam assist, a camera and distance sensor, Audi active lane assist, and traffic sign recognition. 

2018 Audi Q7 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
This 8.3-inch display powers up from within the dash top, and provides crystal clear clarity and excellent depth of colour. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

If this were to become my personal ride I’d be even more tempted to add the $3,400 Driver Assistance Plus package due to its adaptive cruise control with stop and go alone, while this suite of advanced safety features includes a head-up display projecting key info onto the windscreen ahead of the driver, Audi pre sense plus, Audi pre sense city front collision warning with autonomous braking, and traffic jam assist, a semi-autonomous steering feature that does the driving for you while stuck on well-paved congested roadways at speeds from 0 to 65 km/h. 

2018 Audi Q7 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
Both standard three-zone and as-tested four-zone auto climate control systems can be easily adjusted from this attractive interface. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

My tester’s standard Diamond finish upper inlay with Silver Grey and Oak Grey lower inlays, can be replaced by three $500 alternatives that all include Brushed Aluminum for the upper inlay with either Oak Grey, Beaufort Walnut, or Walnut and Terra Brown for the lower inlay, while the already excellent Bose audio system can be traded in for an even more impressive $5,100 Bang & Olufsen system with tweeters that power up out of the dash and many other advanced audio technologies. 

Additionally, a $2,500 Night vision assistant uses a thermal imaging camera to scan 15 to 90 metres ahead for pedestrians and large animal heat signatures and then projects them onto the multi-information display in the gauge cluster, while other options include massaging front seats, a dual screen rear seat entertainment system, rear side-impact airbags, a bevy of wheels and tires and more, plus dealer installed accessories galore. 

2018 Audi Q7 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
Thanks to electronic transmissions, gear “levers” have changed in recent years, which is why we like Audi’s mostly normal one a lot. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Naming off options and standard equipment might help put the Q7’s value proposition into a better light, but it hardly relates the experience of actually spending time inside. It remains one of the best interiors in its class thanks to Audi’s pleasing horizontal design mixed with fine attention to detail. The quality of workmanship and materials chosen are difficult to match in this class, and the overall layout, ease of use, and general comfort comes close to perfection. 

2018 Audi Q7 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
The Q7 gets a rotating knob, touchpad and surrounding buttons for controlling its infotainment system. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The Q7 may excel even further above most peers in driving dynamics, by somehow balancing a gentle ride with superb handling. I’m always amazed at how small the Q7 feels when at the wheel, as if it’s outwardly sized a category down from its true three-row mid-size dimensions, but numbers don’t lie and your rear passengers won’t complain about being cramped, although it’s so much fun to drive that backseat drivers may ask you to slow down. 

2018 Audi Q7 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
Comfort and support are Audi driver seat hallmarks, and the Q7’s are no exception. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The Q7’s speed-sensing electric power-assist steering feels just right and responds to input quickly and accurately, while the SUV’s fully independent double wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension system absorbs all the nasty road imperfections yet still manages to stay glued to the road even when pushed much harder than you might think possible. Audi may have found the ideal compromise between sport and comfort, as I never felt like I was giving up either. Added to this is Quattro AWD for all-season confidence, a system that has saved me from snow covered ski hill parking lots and launched me out of even deeper snow banks plenty of times, and would no doubt be just as capable of dealing with muddy cottage backroads, etcetera. 

2018 Audi Q7 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
This massive powered panoramic sunroof is standard across the Q7 line. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

And that from an SUV that can gobble up seven occupants and much of their cargo, the area behind the rearmost seats good for 420 litres (14.8 cubic feet) of what-have-you according to the U.S. EPA, which is about as much as a generously sized sedan’s trunk, while if you fold those rear seats flat via the aforementioned power controls you’ll end up with 1,062 litres (37.5 cubic feet) behind the second row, or go a step further and you’ll have a cavernous 2,027 litres (71.6 cubic feet) of available space, and more so a completely flat load floor. 

2018 Audi Q7 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
Second-row roominess and comfort are hard to criticize. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Even better, Audi was really inventive with its second row seats, as they’re not split in the usual 60/40 configuration, and not even sectioned into a 40/20/40 division that allows a narrow pass-through down the middle for skis and other long cargo, but they’re almost evenly divided at 35/30/35 for a much larger centre pass-through and a more comfortable middle seating position. 

Power releases pop the second-row seats forward for easy access to the third row, and while I wouldn’t want to spend an entire day back there I was able to buckle in my five-foot-eight frame without discomfort. This still left plenty of legroom for second-row passengers, which certainly won’t be able to complain about spaciousness in all other directions either, or comfort. 

2018 Audi Q7 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
The third row provides enough space for two medium-sized adults on short journeys. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Is the Q7 the best mid-size luxury SUV available today like I inferred at the beginning of this review? My answer would depend on your personal priorities, such as performance over luxuriant pampering, how you prefer controlling infotainment functions, from a simple, straightforward touchscreen or via a rotating knob, touchpad (for pinch, swipe and finger gesture capability) and surrounding buttons on the lower console as Audi provides. The system is excellent and incorporates Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, accurate navigation, superb backup and overhead cameras, plus its depth of colour, resolution and overall speed of operation can’t be faulted. 

2018 Audi Q7 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
This large, flat loading area makes the Q7 ideal for active families. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Added to this, the Audi Virtual Cockpit is by far best of the best when it comes to digital gauge clusters. I love how the “VIEW” button on the left steering wheel spoke expands the multi-info display to epic proportions, leaving smaller digital dials for speed and tachometer readings. This allows the navigation mapping and route guidance info to almost completely take over the display, or one of many other functions within the system. 

Yes, it’s difficult not to love the Audi Q7, which is why there are so many on Canadian roads. It would be unwise to buy into this category without experiencing a Q7 first hand, as it’s easily one of the best on offer.