Trying to lose weight? You’re not alone.

At any given time, approximately 45 million Americans are dieting, according to the Boston Medical Center. And they’re not alone. Automakers also face weight gain, as new technology features and federally mandated safety gear adds weight and bulk. Perhaps this is why the redesigned 2017 Audi Q7, while stunningly polished in demeanor, looks a bit bulky, not fleet.

But appearances can be deceiving, as I found out on a recent morning-time four-hour drive to Albany, N.Y., from Burlington, Vt. The road unfurled in bucolic splendor, revealing a village so breathtakingly beautiful, you’d swear you were on a movie set. The perfect road, perfect weather and perfect vehicle led me to indulge my inner-Andretti. And why shouldn’t I?

Audi’s Q7 may be a three-row crossover but it’s blessed with incredible genetics, including a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine mated to an eight-speed automatic and Quattro all-wheel drive. Reaching 60 mph takes less than 6 seconds from a standstill, pretty impressive for 2-plus ton luxury family hauler.

And yet those words don’t really convey just how quick this conveyance truly is. Given that the Q7’s engine is turbocharged, you’d expect it to exhibit some turbo lag. Yet there doesn’t appear to be any. Better yet, the eight-speed automatic transmission seems to be the perfect dance partner, always ready with the proper gear when your right foot requires it. This makes it ridiculously easy to indulge your need for speed. And it proves to be quite the athlete, exhibiting little if any body roll when tackling the twisties, comfortably absorbing all that country roads can throw at it. The Q7 never seems to lose its tenacious grip; it’s simply a remarkable performance.

That’s why I couldn’t help myself, even as I passed a small church with a police officer parked behind it. After spotting the patrol car, I looked at my speed. Hmmm. This was going to be an expensive outing.

And it was.

But I was surprised, both at myself and at this Audi’s qualities — ones that go beyond speed.

The instrument panel wears a look of chic rectilinear simplicity that belies the wide array of features offered. Best of all was the instrument cluster, which can be changed to minimize the speedometer and tachometer and fill the remaining space with a large navigation screen. This proves particularly helpful if you’re as direction-challenged as I am. Without it, I would have ended up in New Hampshire.

Audi’s multimedia interface, or MMI, proved fairly intuitive to use. But I wish there were a simple way to bring up the 360-degree camera whenever I’d like to use it. And a weeklong test in summer heat revealed an air conditioner that struggled to cool the cabin on anything other than the maximum setting.

The seats proved comfortable, although second-row legroom is not as generous as you might expect. Meanwhile, the third row is best for quick occasional trips.

But it’s hard not to be seduced by the Q7’s sophisticated simplicity in design, even if it emphasizes the Q7’s mass, not its sleekness. Which is why I never imagined it would be as agile and fleet as it.

And while any buyer will appreciate that, I know a small town in Vermont that appreciates it even more.

2017 Audi Q7

Base prices: $54,800

Engines: 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder

Horsepower: 333

Torque: 325 pound-feet

Fuel type: Premium

EPA fuel economy (city/highway): 20/25 mpg

Wheelbase: 117.9 inches

Length: 199.6 inches

Cargo capacity: 14.8-71.6 cubic feet

Towing capacity: 7,700 pounds

Curb weight: 4,938 pounds


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