Underneath its attractive skin, the A7 is essentially mechanically identical to the considerably less costly A6 midsize sedan. But unless blending in is your priority, the A7 makes a strong case for itself with inspired, almost Italianate sheetmetal that apes the sleek roofline of a sports car.
The theme continues inside, where flowing lines, metal accents and a variety of available wood trim choices - including exquisite lacquer-less "natural" ash - create a ritzy, fashion-forward environment. Some rear headroom is sacrificed in the name of the A7's dapper lines, but at least Audi has tossed the puzzling two-passenger rear setup for the latest model year in favor of a conventional bench seat that adds space for a third rear passenger.
Because of its hatchback configuration, the A7 provides easy access to its generously sized (24.5 cubic feet) cargo area.
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.
The A7 comes standard with Audi connect, which offers in-car WiFi along with real-time localized weather, news and live fuel prices. When equipped with an optional navigation system, the system includes Google Earth integration - complete with panoramic views and high-resolution 3D satellite and aerial imagery.
The A7 comes with a choice of gasoline or diesel V6 motors.
The standard supercharged 3.0-liter V6 produces 333 horsepower between 5,300 and 6,500 rpm and 325 lb-ft. of torque from 2,900 to 5,300 rpm. It's good for a zero-to-60 mph sprint of 5.2 seconds and fuel economy of 20 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway.
The optional oil-burning mill is a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 unit. Though it makes a relatively modest 240 horsepower, the diesel's V8-like 428 lb-ft. of torque allow it to scoot to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds - nearly as fast as the gas V6. Rated at 25 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway, the engine sets an impressive new segment standard.
Both powerplants shift through an eight-speed automatic transmission that sends power to all four wheels via Audi's quattro all-wheel-drive system.
Standard and Optional Features
The A7 is available in two trim levels called Premium Plus and Prestige, respectively.
Premium Plus models come standard with automatic LED headlights, door mirrors that are power-adjustable, heated and auto-dimming, a power liftgate, an adaptive rear spoiler, heated washer nozzles, leather upholstery, heated front seats, an eight-way adjustable power front seat, navigation with voice control, Bluetooth connectivity and audio streaming, a HomeLink transceiver, rain-sensing wipers, keyless entry and start, parking sensors on both ends and a rear-view camera.
The list of standalone options includes a Bose surround sound system, rear side airbags and a long list of alloy wheels and metallic paint colors.
Stepping up to the Prestige trim brings LED ambient lighting, a heads-up display and a 630-watt Bose surround sound system with 14 speakers. Additionally, Prestige models can be ordered with night vision, a Bang & Olufsen advanced sound system and power-closing doors.
Both Premium Plus and Prestige models are available with a several option packages including the Driver Assistance package, which brings corner view cameras, active lane assist, adaptive cruise control with a stop and go function, high beam assist and Audi's pre-sense plus.
The Cold Weather package bundles a heated steering wheel and heated rear seats. The S line sport package adds 19-inch alloys wrapped by all-season tires and a sport suspension. Finally, the 20" Black optic package includes 20-inch alloys with a titanium finish and gloss black trim on the radiator grille.
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.
The optional Audi pre sense plus system can detect imminent collisions and autonomously apply full braking force to prevent or mitigate the severity of a crash.
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 rivals are the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class and BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe, though other competitors include the sleek Jaguar XK as well as the controversially-styled Porsche Panamera.