Four Seasons 2012 Audi A7 – North Platte, NE to Morris, IL

MORRIS, IL—After today’s early start, the Four Seasons Audi A7 gobbled up 800 miles from North Platte, Nebraska, to Morris, Illinois, with a two-hour stopover in my hometown of Omaha, where I visited my sister Kate and saw a couple of family history sites.

The A7 continues to be ever so pleasing and capable. Its supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 and eight-speed automatic transmission impressed me on the Prairies just as much as in the mountains and desert basins. Except for tire rumble, the cabin is quiet and couldn’t be more comfortable. The heated driver’s seat and steering wheel took the edge off a chilly morning. And after 2000 miles, I know that I’ll never tire of the car’s design, inside or out.

But there are these considerations:

  • Too many emblems clutter the rear of A7
  • The left side of the steering column has a small grove of stalks for minor controls including the paddle shifter
  • The radar-assisted “smart” cruise control couldn’t pass a fifth-grade reading exam; it arrests momentum way too early, as though you’ve hit a strong magnetic field (or Clarence Ditlow is sitting on your shoulder)
  • The twenty-inch wheels and rubber look sensational (note there’s almost no gap between tire tread and fender lip), but the tires’ low profile and stiff sidewalls result in some ride harshness on choppy or corrupted pavement

Nevertheless, Ann Arbor is only 275 miles away, and I’ll have a tear in my eye on Friday when surrendering the A7’s key fob to the road test editor. Over the years, I’ve shuttled to and from the West Coast in quite a few cars from the magazine’s Four Seasons fleet—the Chrysler Conquest TSi, Honda Prelude 4WS, a couple of Nissan Z-cars, Volkswagen Phaeton, and I don’t know what else—but the A7 is the one that has most loudly declaimed, “You should keep me!”

For more on Ronald Ahrens’ journey, check back here daily, or visit our Facebook page for video updates by clicking here.

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