Story by Benjamin Greene
Originally published by Dupont Registry: http://www.dupontregistry.com/autos/NewsCenter/NewsCenterDetails.aspx?mmysid=4080
Audi says the A7 combines the functionality of a sedan with the look of a coupe and the space of a wagon. Before driving the car, we thought Audi was making a mistake by not offering a V-8. However, we found the supercharged V-6 to offer ample power and peppy performance. The 3.0-liter engine offers a maximum of 310 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque and is connected to an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission. Like other Audis we have tested, performance is better than the engine stats imply. Audi quotes a zero-to-60 time of 5.4 seconds, which confirms our in-seat impressions. Despite Audi’s trademark (literally) Quattro all-wheel-drive system being standard, the A7 keeps its weight low thanks to aluminum and other lightweight materials. Audi says a number of mechanical components and more than 20 percent of the A7’s body panels are made of aluminum.
Speaking of body panels, the A7 is eye-catching. It features short overhangs, a long wheelbase, and a sloping rear roofline. Audi added other design elements to better accentuate the coupe-like roof taper, including frameless door windows and side mirrors mounted on the front doors. Out back is an integrated spoiler that can be adjusted manually at the touch of a button; otherwise, it automatically extends at 80 mph and retracts at 50 mph. The Audi A7 boasts of a 0.30 coefficient of drag, which aids fuel economy and reduces wind noise.
Long, at 195.6 inches, the car features an interior that actually feels snug but adequate for a long trek with four people. The rear occupants don’t have to worry about headroom thanks to cutouts in the rear roof and legroom is generous for all parties. In fact, the A7 offers only a smidge less head, shoulder, and leg room as the A6. The person behind the wheel is greeted with a wraparound dash and copious amounts of chrome- and aluminum-look accents and wood inlays. The quality of the materials and the sculpted interior shapes make the cabin of the A7 endearing. The driver-oriented center console features an eight-inch display that rises from the dashboard when the ignition is switched on. It houses Audi’s MMI system, which consolidates audio, navigation, and telephone functions into one interface and even features a touchpad that recognizes handwriting.
The large rear hatch is quite heavy but comes with a height adjustable power-lift system that opens the rear hatch with the touch of a button. The rear area is spacious and can grow further with the fold-down rear seats.
With its practical hatch design, good looks, luxurious interior, and sprightly performance, the Audi A7 reminds us of how we felt after driving the A5 Cabriolet: it’s hard not to like.
3.0-liter supercharged V-6
310 hp @ 5,500 rpm
325 lb-ft @ 2,900 rpm
Practical, good looking, luxurious and performs well
If you want more passenger room, go for the A6