Just the wood trim. That's what I'd like to talk about. Matte finished, real wood, complete with rough grain and open holes. It is something fabulous to see and know that, yes, this is real wood trim. What a refreshing and oddly luxurious change from the over-varnished, highly plasticized-looking wood adorning the most expensive luxury cars in the world. This is the new luxury for me.
Jean Jennings, President and Editor-In-Chief
The big three German luxury brands are guilty of subdividing the automotive market into too many segments. Once one of them comes out with a new body style, the other two are quick to follow. The Audi A7 is the latest example of this, following the Mercedes-Benz CLS and the BMW 5-series GT (not to mention the Porsche Panamera).
As much as this lemming-like behavior baffles me, I can't help but really like the A7. Simply put, it's pretty damn cool. The slanting roofline actually reminds me of the 1960s Ford Torino Talladega. Indeed, if Audi were to enter NASCAR competition, the A7 seems like it'd be a perfect, highly aerodynamic entry. Speaking of the roofline, I have adequate headroom and tons of legroom in the back seat, but the average six-foot adult male would surely be cramped. The hatchback design allows a swoopy shape and easy loading, but the wonderfully integrated luggage cover eliminates any concerns about the security of your luggage or about keeping it separate from the passenger compartment in an accident.
Some of Audi's new ergonomics will take a bit of getting used to, but that probably won't be a concern for owners after a few days. The cabin is absolutely beautiful, with minimal but smart use of matte-finish wood trim around the shifter, which Jean described at length. I must complain about HD radio, however: It kept switching between HD and regular radio, but there's a delay in the feeds, so I'd occasionally miss a pitch of the Tigers game or hear the same pitch twice. Highly annoying. I quickly turned off the HD seeking function of the powerful Bang & Olufsen system.
The A7 drives very well, too. The supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 and eight-speed automatic make it nicely quick, and the car rides comfortably and quietly.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor