The 2019 Audi A7 Sportback Is Quiet, Placid, and Smooth

2019 Automobile All-Stars contender.

Todd LassawriterAndrew Trahanphotographer

The Audi A7 was among the cars competing for a coveted 2019 Automobile All-Stars award. See the rest of the field here, and go here to see the winners!

The all-new second-generation 2019 Audi A7 is "an easier-to-use multimedia interface (MMI) system wrapped in stylish sheetmetal with competent dynamics," we said a few months ago after our first drive of the car. Nowhere did we call it a "sport sedan," though that term gets tossed into Audi descriptions a bit too easily.

Its sexy new take on the "four-door coupe" design is the only substantial feature that distinguishes the A7 from the more conservative and upright midsize A6 sedan. Like Mercedes-Benz with its latest CLS-class, the new A7 looks cleaner than the old model, especially out back, where the droopy-looking rear deck of the previous car is reshaped. Throw in a top-notch interior full of quality materials and exceptional fit and finish typical of the marque—along with the latest in bleeding-edge driving aids and gadgetry, including laser exterior lighting—and the A7 makes a pretty compelling case for itself.

Not everyone was smitten, however. Maybe it was the weather, but contributor Marc Noordeloos and editor-at-large Arthur St. Antoine both said the A7 left them "a bit cold."

Noordeloos did warm up to some of the A7's tech features, though. "All the technology made driving through three hours of Los Angeles traffic a breeze: the steering assist, radar cruise, etc.," he said. "But the steering assist doesn't feel good at high speeds. I prefer the Mercedes system."

Audi has been a leader in driver-controlled chassis dynamics for years, but dialing the haptic MMI control from Comfort to Dynamic could not overcome the A7's propensity to err toward quiet, comfortable cruising. The A7 is one smooth car, but its unusual longitudinal front-drive-based Quattro all-wheel-drive system doesn't change the perception that this sedan prefers understeer to oversteer.

Audi's new 3.0-liter turbo V-6 with a healthy 335 horsepower and a 48-volt mild hybrid system coupled to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission powers the A7. "Pulls all over the tachometer and offers a relatively placid ride," senior editor Erik Johnson said.

Quiet. Placid. Smooth. These are adjectives we'd normally associate with the sort of car perfect for cross-country trips but not one that would necessarily stir our souls. The A7 doesn't really do anything wrong, and it does a lot of things right. It just didn't blow enough of us away to achieve All-Stars status.

"It's an unfortunate but weirdly wonderful world where such a slick accomplishment like the Audi A7 manages to get lost in the mix of more extroverted cars," contributor Basem Wasef said. "Its lack of All-Star status is not so much a diminishment as it is a commentary on its status as a quietly likable car."

2019 Automobile All-Stars
The Winners | The Contenders | The Venues

 2019 Audi A7 Sportback Specifications

PRICE $68,995/$85,240 (base/as tested)
ENGINE 3.0L turbo DOHC 24-valve V-6; 335 hp @ 5,000-6,400 rpm, 369 lb-ft @ 1,370-4,500 rpm
TRANSMISSION 7-speed dual-clutch automatic
LAYOUT 4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, AWD hatchback
EPA MILEAGE 22/29 mpg (city/hwy)
L x W x H 195.6 x 75.1 x 56.0 in
WHEELBASE 115.2 in
WEIGHT 4,332 lb
0-60 MPH 5.2 sec
TOP SPEED 130 mph
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