No, the A7 may not hold quite as much cargo as the European-exclusive 2012 A6 Avant, but it does manage to blend additional practicality and stunning design into a single package. I used the A7 the other day to pick up two large roof vents for my house and it turned a number of heads in the Home Depot parking lot.
This is the second A7 we’ve had in the office recently, and it’s the more opulent of the two. This example carries nearly $20,000 in options over a base A7, much of which is tied to the Prestige trim ($6330) and a number of tech features. The innovation package ($5800) includes LED headlamps, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot warning (those amber LED warning lamps really catch your attention), among other things. Add another $5900 for the dramatic Bang & Olufsen audio system. If its 1300 watts and digital signal processing weren’t enough to grab your attention, the artistic pop-up dash tweeters certainly will be.
Unless you’re wowed by the latest in gadgetry, adding these to your A7 order doesn’t necessarily leave you with a vehicle that feels like $20,000 more car. To Audi’s credit, the Premium and Premium Plus trim grades drive just as nicely (especially when equipped with the $1500 sport package) and provide passengers with an equally sumptuous cabin. The affluent and tech-savvy may prefer the Prestige’s extensive content, but the lesser A7s are just as impressive and much less expensive.
Evan McCausland, Associate Web Editor
Like the A8, the Audi A7 can be equipped with an amazing array of options, and this 3.0T Prestige came with just about every box checked, adding over $20,000 to the base price and bringing the total to more than $80,000. The coolest option has to be the $5900 Bang & Olufsen surround-sound system. It sounds expensive, of course; more importantly, though, it looks expensive. Hit the power button for the stereo and two small, elegantly designed speakers pop up from the near the A-pillars. I was so enthralled with their operation that I turned the stereo off and on repeatedly. The rearview camera, which is part of the $6330 Prestige trim, is far less exciting, but with the A7’s extra-wide C-pillars it’s a near necessity for safely reversing in this big car.
Jennifer Misaros, Managing Editor, Digital Platforms
Just the wood trim. That’s what I’d like to talk about. Matte finished, real wood, complete with rough grain and open holes. It is something fabulous to see and know that, yes, this is real wood trim. What a refreshing and oddly luxurious change from the over-varnished, highly plasticized-looking wood adorning the most expensive luxury cars in the world. This is the new luxury for me.
Jean Jennings, President and Editor-In-Chief
The big three German luxury brands are guilty of subdividing the automotive market into too many segments. Once one of them comes out with a new body style, the other two are quick to follow. The Audi A7 is the latest example of this, following the Mercedes-Benz CLS and the BMW 5-Series GT (not to mention the Porsche Panamera).
As much as this lemming-like behavior baffles me, I can’t help but really like the A7. Simply put, it’s pretty damn cool. The slanting roofline actually reminds me of the 1960s Ford Torino Talladega. Indeed, if Audi were to enter NASCAR competition, the A7 seems like it’d be a perfect, highly aerodynamic entry. Speaking of the roofline, I have adequate headroom and tons of legroom in the back seat, but the average six-foot adult male would surely be cramped. The hatchback design allows a swoopy shape and easy loading, but the wonderfully integrated luggage cover eliminates any concerns about the security of your luggage or about keeping it separate from the passenger compartment in an accident.
Some of Audi’s new ergonomics will take a bit of getting used to, but that probably won’t be a concern for owners after a few days. The cabin is absolutely beautiful, with minimal but smart use of matte-finish wood trim around the shifter, which Jean described at length. I must complain about HD radio, however: It kept switching between HD and regular radio, but there’s a delay in the feeds, so I’d occasionally miss a pitch of the Tigers game or hear the same pitch twice. Highly annoying. I quickly turned off the HD seeking function of the powerful Bang & Olufsen system.
The A7 drives very well, too. The supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 and eight-speed automatic make it nicely quick, and the car rides comfortably and quietly.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor
There’s no doubt that the Audi A7 is a head-turner. I thought the guy driving the pizza delivery car was either going to get in an accident or sprain his neck when he ogled the A7 as he drove past me at an intersection. But this car isn’t just about its looks — it’s a pretty great car to drive, too. The power delivery of the 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 connected to the eight-speed automatic is as smooth and seamless as it gets. I didn’t get much of a chance to put it through its paces here in Ann Arbor, but I drove an A7 earlier this year on a track, where it proved to be quite capable, with well-suppressed body roll and a finely tuned chassis.
Simply put, this is a car that makes you feel good when you’re driving it. Whether it’s the less expensive model we had earlier this month or this uplevel Prestige trim, the Audi A7 is a car that gets noticed. Of all the four-door luxury coupes (A7, Mercedes-Benz CLS, and Porsche Panamera), this car is, in my eyes, the best looking.
Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor
I had forgotten what a sweet-sounding engine Audi’s new supercharged “3.0T” V-6 is. Although the exhaust doesn’t breathe the same way it does in the S5 cabriolet, you still get a great aural hint at what’s lurking under the hood. The A7 rides so smoothly and moves so quietly (especially given its frameless windows) that I often found myself going 10 mph faster than I thought. The eight-speed automatic shifts seamlessly when left in drive, and it has the appropriate amount of vigor when popped into sport mode or shifted manually via the wheel-mounted paddles or the console shift lever.
The quartz gray paint color on this A7 and the full-LED headlights make a huge difference in the way this car looks. Whereas the red of our last A7 seemed to accent all the wide spaces between the lines, the gray draws the eyes along the creases and muscular arcs of the car’s design. While I might not call the A7 a sexy car, the design is much more graceful and beautiful in this subtle gray than the louder red.
Donny Nordlicht, Associate Web Editors
2012 Audi A7 3.0T Prestige
Base price (with destination): $60,125
Price as tested: $81,530
3.0-liter supercharged V-6 engine
8-speed automatic transmission
18-inch alloy wheels
4-wheel disc brakes with ABS
Audi drive select
Electronic stability program
Quattro all-wheel drive
Xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights
Audi music interface
Auto-dimming rearview mirror
Leather seating surfaces
Multi-media interface with single CD player
Power glass sunroof
Sirius satellite radio
Three-zone climate control
Tilt/telescoping steering column
Tire pressure monitoring system
Options on this vehicle:
Prestige trim — $6330
Audi navigation plus MMI touch
Front and rear parking sensors with rearview camera
4-zone climate control
Front seat ventilation
Bose surround sound system with HD radio
Power adjustable steering column
7-inch color driver information system
Bang & Olufsen surround sound system — $5900
Innovation package — $5800
Adaptive cruise control
Audi side assist
Audi pre-collision sense
Night vision assist
Power folding exterior mirrors
20-inch sport package — $1500
LED headlights — $1400
Key options not on vehicle:
18 / 28 / 22 mpg
3.0L supercharged V-6
Horsepower: 310 hp @ 5500-6500 rpm
Torque: 325 lb-ft @ 2900-4500 rpm
Curb weight: 4210 lb
Wheels/tires: 20-inch alloy wheels
265/35R20 Yokohama Advan Sport performance tires
Competitors: BMW 5-series GT, Mercedes-Benz CLS550, Porsche Panamera