The Audi A7 is a style-focused luxury sedan intended to compete with the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class. Based on the more conventionally-styled A6 sedan, this four-door coupe brings a new level of style to the segment and gives the pioneering CLS a run for its money.
While its Mercedes and BMW counterparts bring a V8 to the fight, Audi instead is relying on a supercharged 3.0-liter V6, which it interestingly refers to as a 3.0T. This force-fed V6 is good for 310 horsepower, 325 lb-ft of torque and a zero-to-60 mph sprint of 5.4 seconds. Those who want the power of a V8 should check out the A7's performance-oriented S7 variant, however.
For the latest model year, the A7 gains an engine stop/start system that saves fuel by unobtrusively shutting off the engine when the car is coming to a standstill (the system automatically starts the motor once the driver hits the gas pedal).
The A7 puts its power to the ground through the latest generation Quattro all-wheel drive system with enhanced torque vectoring and an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission. The A7 also features Audi drive select, which is essentially computer tuning that takes into account the vehicle's transmission, power steering and engine output all at once to deliver optimal shift points, steering boost and throttle characteristics in four possible modes: comfort, auto, dynamic and individual.
While power and handling are certainly important aspects of the A7, it is the styling - inside and out - that defines the car. The exterior is rendered in the "four-door coupe" style that is currently very much in vogue, sacrificing rear headroom for sex appeal. However, because of its hatchback configuration, the A7 provides easy access to its generously sized (24.5 cubic feet) cargo area.
For the latest model year, Audi has added an optional five passenger seating option that adds a rear middle seat for customers looking to maximize the people-carrying capacity of their car. The standard A7 continues to include seating for four.
While the rear of the A7 defines the vehicle from a style perspective, the front fascia and its incredibly aggressive design are not be forgotten, including the Xenon plus headlights and LED daytime running lights as standard - with optional full LED headlights with adaptive lighting. Also not to be forgotten are the standard 18-inch wheels or available 19- or 20-inch variations.
Inside, the A7 is packed with technology and luxury, ranging from the "wraparound" design that gives the driver and front passenger a feeling more akin to that of a cockpit or racecar. Materials arrive in forms that simply convey a look and feel of luxury, from the colors, to the wood veneers, to the supply and contrasting leather, to the subtle metallic accents throughout.
The A7 is available with two types of leather - Milano or Valcona - which color-coordinate with the four-spoke steering wheel and transmission selector lever. Fine grain Ash wood veneers are standard, while Dark Brown Walnut and brushed aluminum trims are optional. The seat coverings are available in Black, Titanium Gray, Nougat Brown and Velvet Beige, while the headlining is available in Black, Lunar Silver and Silk Beige.
Being a modern Audi, the A7 is equipped with MMI, or multimedia interface, which includes an eight-inch pop-up display, a five-inch information LCD display and an optional heads-up display for the windshield. The MMI also boasts an industry first: the ability to recognize driver handwriting via the touch input pad, allowing for the input of both navigation and telephone information.
MMI also includes interfacing to control Google Earth for navigation, Google Local search and Wi-Fi connectivity for as many as eight different mobile devices.
Driver aid technologies include Audi's adaptive cruise control system, a color heads-up display, Night vision, Audi side assist and Audi pre sense plus. If technology-based safety systems don't tickle your fancy, Audi also offers a Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System that features 15 speakers and 1,300 watts of power to bring your music to life.
Standard and Optional Features
The A7 can be had in Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige trim levels.
The Premium trim comes standard with leather upholstery, a sunroof, heated front seats, tri-zone automatic climate control, an AM/FM/CD/SiriusXM sound system, keyless start and 18-inch alloy wheels.
Adding the Premium Plus package will swap out the standard 18-inch wheels for 19-inch units, add Audi MMI Navigation plus with Audi MMI touch and Google Earth, Audi connect with a six-month trial period, front and rear parking sensors, advanced keyless entry a seven-inch color driver information system and an eight-inch Audi MMI screen, along with HD radio, CD changer and an MP3 jukebox.
The Prestige trim builds upon the Premium Plus by adding the S line exterior styling with new bumpers and grille, adds a Bose surround sound system,, four-zone climate control, ventilated front seats, adaptive and cornering lights, power adjustable steering column and LED ambient lighting for the interior.
The Innovation Package adds LED headlights, Audio pre sense plus, adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go, Audi side assist, head up display and Night vision assistant. For the latest model year, this package adds active lane assist and corner view, which allows the driver to see around the corner on the front or rear of the car when pulling out of parking spaces or alleyways.
The Sport Packages include either 19- or 20-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension and a three-spoke sport-themed steering wheel.
The Driver Assistance Package is essentially a limited version of the Innovation package aimed exclusively as safety tech, and as such adds just Audio pre sense plus, adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go and Audi side assist.
The final option is the Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System, which adds 15 speakers with a center channel and subwoofer, acoustic lens emerging tweets and speakers covers finished in an elegant aluminum.
A luxury car wouldn't be complete without a myriad of active and passive safety features to keep its precious occupants safe, as is the case with the A7. The A7 employs an adaptive restraint system that is integrated into the Audi pre sense safety system, which intelligently manages airbag deployment and seatbelt tensioners simultaneously in the event of a near of actual accident.
Other standard safety items include front, front knee, front side and full-length side curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems and electronic brakeforce distribution.
The A7's main rival is of course the original "four-door-sedan," the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class, though other competitors include the sleek Jaguar XK as well as the controversially-styled Porsche Panamera.