This was our chariot from Central Park South in Manhattan back home to Ann Arbor, Michigan, and what a fine chariot it was. Over 610 miles and about 11 hours of driving, including stops, the Audi A7 was fast and comfortable and predictable. We did wish it was equipped with adaptive cruise control, but the conventional cruise control system worked very well and it was easy to dial in exactly the speed we wanted (generally, 72 or 73 mph in cop-crazy Pennsylvania and Ohio). The trunk was huge and easily swallowed our suitcases and other goods. I think the A7 is very good looking, and I think the 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 is a great powertrain. During our 610-mile journey home, we achieved 25 mpg, according to the trip computer. Throw in a comfortable, well-appointed cabin, the latest version of Audi's superb navigation system, and the road-holding of Quattro that took us through some torrential thunderstorms on the Ohio Turnpike, and there are few cars I would rather have been in for the drive home after a long week at the New York Auto Show.
Joe DeMatio, Deputy Editor
The A7 is a car that looks much more aggressive on the street than in photos or on a show stand. Seeing its low roofline silhouetted against a taller compact car was enough to convince me that this is indeed a very different animal from the A6, surely different enough to attract new buyers. There's almost something Lamborghini-esque in its stance and roofline.
Looks aside, the car is pretty much standard fare Audi. The interior employs a similar layout and materials mix as the new A8, a nice combination of exotic looking wood and modern materials. Fit and finish is, of course, perfect. The driving experience splits the difference between an S4 and an A6 (I'm thinking of the current-generation A6, as I've not driven the new one yet). Steering is nice and sharp, though it suffers from the odd variable effort setup as other new Audis. The 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 is brilliant. Matched up with an eight-speed automatic, it provides instant and ample power at every speed. I drove a BMW 535i the next day and found myself pining for the around-town responsiveness of the Audi engine.
I also give Audi credit for finding a new spin on this fast-growing segment. It essentially splits the difference between the crossover-like 5-series Gran Turismo and the swoopy Mercedes-Benz CLS. To these eyes, it's more enticing than either of those German competitors. I'll be very interesting to see if buyers agree.
David Zenlea, Assistant Editor