2012 AUDI A7 REVIEW
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Wed, Sep 21, 2011
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
Audis often strike us as works of art. The exterior flanks are like metal sculptures; interiors like jewelry. Every once in a while, however, Audi turns up the design dial. They did it with the second-generation A6, produced from 1997 to 2004—a design that influenced the current Jaguar XJ sedan. A few years later, the Freeman Thomas-designed Audi TT sent the sports car competition back to the sketch pad. drawing board. This year, Audi has another standout model, the A7, which breaks ground in both exterior design and interior execution. John-Fredrik Wright reports. By John-Fredrik Wright I’m a little biased when it comes to Audis; I love ‘em! So any car with an Audi emblem on it will usually make me smile. Some, however, will make me smile wider and longer. Even before I spent time in the A7, I was sure I was going to love it (I did), actually I knew it already when the Audi website mentioned it the first time, way back when. During my weeklong test of the A7, I turned a couple of heads, got a couple of “nice car” comments (to which I almost felt inclined to say “not really mine” but opted to go with “thanks” instead), and thoroughly enjoyed driving, even when stuck in traffic. And if I was enjoying myself in traffic, you know I was loving life out on the open road.
However, I was hoping for one thing the A7 didn’t deliver on—I was hoping for just a little more of the wagon utility to go with the coupe styling. Just enough so that I could report that this was the answer to those, like me, who have been waiting for a very luxurious car that also a large dog can enjoy. And with Audi reporting that they will not offer the A6 station wagon (Avant) in the US, I was really hoping the A7 could take on that role, even just a little bit. Now, the fact that you can’t put your St: Bernard in the luggage compartment and have him sit up straight doesn’t mean that you, the person, won’t enjoy this car. I loved it, so will you. For starters, this vehicle oozes luxury. How about real wood, with real wood texture, as the interior inlays? So real, in fact, that almost everyone who got into the car, myself included, had to stop and touch the wood panels. The only one who didn’t notice it within a millisecond of getting into the car, in fact, was my wife; mainly because she was too focused on how comfortable the seats are. The leather cushions grab your butt and let you sink in, just enough to make it so very comfortable, but without sucking you into the seat. Soar butts, no more!
The smooth touch of the leather reflects the smooth lines of the exterior. With a wide nose, drawn back through to the tail in one long line, the side profile of the A7 is just as impressive as the interior is plush. The profile reeks of elegance, but also of speed. You can really see how the air molecules will rush over the car with barely any resistance. The feel of no resistance is exemplified by the silky smooth shifts coming from the 8-speed (!) automatic transmission. The A7’s 3.0 TFSI (it is actually supercharged, which makes me wonder why the “T”FSI) is more than powerful enough, and coupled with the very fluid transmission, the A7 gets up and goes very quickly. But not in one of those strained, rough ways; no, the A7 floats forward as if it’s being pushed by a very gentle, yet even stronger, giant cloud-arm. The shifts are seamless and the constant push forward never relaxes. Fluid, just like a luxurious four-door sport-coupe should be.
The swooping exterior lines mention above takes a small toll on the interior space. The Audi engineers had to dig out some head-space for the rear passengers, which we are thankful for, but the exterior styling makes up for this in a major league way. The down-side, again, is that a lot of space is lost in the storage compartment. With the head space restored the rear passengers can enjoy a very comfortable ride. With only two seats in the rear row, the passengers can relax knowing that this flight will not check in full. I enjoy the fact that the newer Audis have a button that turns on the back-up camera and activates the audio-visual system alerting of objects that are close. This way, the system can be activated even without being in reverse, for example when I’m driving straight into a parking spot, maybe at an angle, and could use the extra help. Also, the A7 has the MMI controls right behind the gear selector, which means that I can reach it without looking and without reaching forward.
The bad news with having the MMI controls between the seats is that your Venti GreenTee Latte With Hazelnut sitting in the cup-holder might get in the way. A small price to pay in my mind, but might be upsetting for the Starbucks fanatic. So, for a four-seating, asphalt eating, sports coupe with a large douse of luxury the A7 definitely will thrill all your senses. The navigation system, or rather, the MMI screen, magically appears from the dash revealing a map based on Google Earth, a speedy looking wing folds up in the back at higher speeds, and the transmission, when in sport mode will blow your socks off. Even the head rests surprise; they can be adjusted up and down, but also forward and back. If you can’t find a comfortable sit position in this car, you might want to opt for a bike. A perfect car for four people who want to arrive in style, both in-town an on longer road trips. Now if only Fido could sit up straight and enjoy the view. For more information on Audi products, go to audiusa.com
SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2012 Audi A7 3.0 TFSI Quattro Auto Tiptronic Sedan Price: $59,250 (base) $68,630 (as tested, Prestige line) EPA fuel economy rating: 18 mpg (city) 28 mpg (highway) Engine size and type: 3.0 liter supercharged, DOHC V6 gasoline engine with dual intercoolers, FSI direct injection and variable valve timing
Horsepower: 310 hp @ 5500-6500 RPM Torque: 325 lb-ft. @ 2900-4500 RPM Transmission type: Eight-speed Tiptronic® automatic transmission with DSP (Dynamic Shift Program) Drive configuration: quattro® all-wheel drive Steering (type): Electromechanical with Servotronic vehicle speed-sensitive power rack and pinion Suspension (front and rear): Front: Trapezoidal-link, twin-tube-gas-filled shock absorbers Rear: Five-link, anti roll bar, twin-tube-gas-filled shock absorbers Brakes and tires: Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with anti-lock brake, electronic rear brake pressure proportioning, vacuum power assist, asbestos free linings, dual diagonal circuits. 265/35 summer performance tires Dimensions: Length: 195.6 in Width: 84.2 in Height: 55.9in Curb weight: 4210 lbs