After months of long highway journeys, the Audi A7 has enjoyed a well-deserved break from its regime of cross-country road trips. It hasn't strayed far from home since deputy editor Joe DeMatio returned from a trip to northern Michigan. That's not to say we're bored with the A7 -- in fact, some staff members are already fretting about the day when the car will vanish from our fleet.
"We're halfway through our loan, and I already know I'll miss the Audi when it leaves," said road test editor Chris Nelson. He signed out the A7 for a weekend when his parents came to visit, so he could chauffeur them around in luxury. Nelson also picked up some second-hand, 24-by-30-inch picture frames to decorate his living room, and reported that they easily fit into the back of the Audi, once again showing the benefits of its hatchback design. Of course, his home decorating has a ways to go before it equal the Audi's interior design. "I'd rather sleep in this car than in my condo," he says.
Having previously only spent a few hours behind the wheel, associate web editor Ben Timmins recently drove the A7 for an entire weekend and reported: "There are no deal-breakers with this great car." He lauded the eager powertrain, direct steering, well-appointed interior, and sultry sheetmetal. In fact, the only downside to the A7 may be jealous pals asking for a ride. After a brief trip around Ann Arbor, one pronounced the A7 "just perfect."
While the outside of the Audi A7 may grab attention, the car's electronics help us keep our attention focused on the road. We especially appreciate that you can enter addresses into the navigation system by "drawing" letters and numbers on the car's touch pad. Not only is this quick and intuitive, it's easier than entering a destination by tapping a touch screen or manipulating scroll wheel. Connecting a phone via Bluetooth for hands-free calling has also proven simple and trouble-free.
Not everyone loves the tech features of this Audi, though. Managing editor Amy Skogstrom finds the pop-up infotainment display distracting and wishes it were integrated into the car's center stack. Managing editor for digital platforms Jen Misaros applauded the broad swath of wood that "adds simplicity and sophistication" to the dashboard, a counterweight to a cabin that can be "overly tech-centric."
After six trouble-free months, we've recently noticed two small problems with our Audi. Several drivers have reported a rattle from the driver's door panel. We also discovered that some of the LEDs in the third brake light (known as the CHMSL) have failed. Our local Audi dealer informed us that the entire assembly must be replaced, even though only two or three LEDs in the strip have burned out. The dealer claims that this is the first time he had seen LED lights fail so early in a car's life, although this particular dealership so far only has serviced a handful of A7s. Unfortunately, the service department wasn't able to order a new CHMSL assembly in time before the A7 left on its latest scheduled trip. Managing editor Skogstrom claimed the Audi for a road trip to South Carolina, so we'll have the light replaced under warranty as soon as she returns.