Our Four Seasons Audi A7 has been in motion almost every day since it arrived here two months ago, and already has traveled to three corners of the country. A big chunk of this month's miles were put on by journalist David Brancaccio, who drove from New Jersey to California on assignment for American Public Media's Marketplace. His mission was to drive across the country without interacting with another human, in a bid to see whether robots and computers really have taken jobs from average Americans.
Brancaccio was mostly impressed with our Automobile of the Year winner, although he lamented that his assignment meant he would, "travel thousands of miles in the sleekest car I may ever drive, while denying myself the opportunity to use its sex appeal to make new friends." To stay nourished on the road, he packed a microwave oven into the A7's cargo hold, although at one point he attempted to warm up a frozen pizza on the car's hot exhaust manifold. The cheese melted to the foil wrapper and the pizza crust became "a flaccid disappointment." We don't recommend trying this with your own vehicle.
After six days and 3260 miles, Brancaccio arrived in San Francisco and handed the Audi's keys over to west coast editor Jason Cammisa. Though Cammisa called the car "beautiful and elegant," he did have several complaints about our A7. For starters, he found that the glamorous, sloping rear window collects raindrops and has no wiper, making it almost opaque during downpours. Nor was he a fan of the small sunroof, or the lack of rear visibility. "Ah, the cost of high fashion," he wrote.
Cammisa also criticized the Audi's adaptive cruise control, which he found too eager to slow for "a slow-moving truck 500 feet ahead" and reluctant to accelerate when the road clears. Although switching the Audi Drive Select system to Dynamic will make the cruise control brake and accelerate in a more aggressive manner, the adaptive functionality cannot be disabled. "So much for technology making life better. A 30-year-old Cadillac will hold whatever speed you desire."
Foibles aside, there are plenty of positive comments filling the A7's logbook. The LED headlights continue to draw praise for their broad and powerful beams, and the supercharged V-6 has been lauded both for its strong torque delivery and its smooth demeanor. "I'm sure you could find V-12 sedans that don't lumber around town with the smoothness of this V-6," offered Cammisa.
The Audi has so far proven to be almost trouble free. While traveling through Oklahoma on I-40, the aforementioned adaptive cruise control failed, but cleaning bugs off the sensor at a car wash remedied the issue. While in California, the front end of the A7 took a hit from a flying tire, taking out one of the front lower grille inserts. A replacement piece cost less than $200 and was easily snapped into place by hand.
As of writing, the Audi A7 is with photographer Martyn Goddard, who will use it as a support vehicle for some photography assignments in California. After that, our Four Seasons Audi will finally be coming back to home office.