It all started so well. After naming the Audi A7 our 2012 Automobile of the Year, we jumped at the chance to spend a year behind the wheel. We racked up almost 26,000 miles over the course of eight months, and the Oolong Gray Audi did not disappoint. Yet our time with the A7 came to an abrupt close this month when the car was stolen in New York State.
When we went out the next morning it was gone.
Road test editor Chris Nelson drove the Audi to New York in mid-October, as the car was scheduled to spend a month in with senior editor Joe Lorio and contributor Jamie Kitman. Yet less than a week after Nelson dropped the car off, the A7 went missing.
"The A7 was parked on the street overnight in a quiet residential neighborhood in Rockland County," explained Kitman. "When we went out the next morning it was gone."
Although we held out a faint hope that the car might turn up after a few days, in case a joy-riding teen had dumped the car nearby, we eventually had to face the unpleasant truth that the Audi A7 was missing in action. Local police told Kitman that the car was likely stolen by accomplished thieves and quickly shipped off for sale abroad.
At least the thieves will enjoy a freshly serviced car. Before sending the Audi to New York, we spent $130 to fix a bent wheel, curing the vibration that annoyed anyone who drove the Audi on the highway. Regular readers will note that was the second time we had to fix a bent wheel on the Audi -- those showy, 20-inch rims are unfortunately susceptible to damage.
We had also recently sent the A7 to our local dealership for its 25,000-mile service. The $219.98 appointment included an oil change, topping off essential fluids, and performing a thorough inspection of the car. On top of that, Audi preemptively reprogrammed the electric power steering, per a technical service bulletin, to address a potential glitch that could illuminate the check-engine light.
We Still Love(d) It
In the last month before it was stolen, the Audi A7's logbook continued to fill with compliments from every driver fortunate enough to borrow the keys. Most recently, copy editor Rusty Blackwell used the A7 to travel with his family to a college reunion.
"As an impressive, sporty, beautiful, and functional ride, the A7 was my first choice to take and it didn't disappoint in the least," Blackwell said. "I love this car. So do my wife, my kids, my in-laws, my college friends, and even my dental hygienist."
Road test editor Nelson also had no complaints after his trip from Ann Arbor to New York. He praised the relaxed driving experience and comfortable seats, but was even more impressed with the Audi's luxurious interior design.
"I like how the browns, black, and grays all mix to create a laid-back and tasteful color scheme. I also really enjoy the tactile sensations inside this car; I found myself constantly rubbing the exposed wood trim with my fingertips," Nelson said.
Tactile sensations are one thing; what about the sensation of speed? There's now a faster version of the A7: the S7. After we spent two weeks in an Audi S7, several editors weighed in on the similarities and differences between the 420-hp S7 and our 310-hp A7.
Some had a hard time justifying the price differential between the two models (a base S7 costs $18,700 more than an entry-level A7). "Don't get me wrong: the S7 is lovely, powerful, quick, and agile. But the A7 is all those things, too, and the seat of my pants barely registers the 0.9-second difference in 0-to-60-mph acceleration," explained associate editor David Zenlea.
On the other hand, managing editor for digital platforms Jen Misaros had no qualms about paying extra for the twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8: "The S7's engine is what makes this car worth the extra dough. It produces a lovely muted bass growl that sounds really mean. Straight-line acceleration is quite amazing for such a big car."
Overall, a review of the logbook reveals no regrets for naming the Audi A7 our 2012 Automobile of the Year. Whether we were commuting across town or traversing the entire country, it never failed to impress. After eight months and 26,000 miles, we our only regret is that it left us too soon.