Admittedly, I fell laborious for this aluminum-bodied five-door again in late 2010 upon first driving the then-forthcoming 2012 mannequin. All the qualities that I liked 5 years in the past, together with the A7’s sensuously smooth liftback form, impeccably trimmed cabin, shocking utility and sterling highway manners stay very a lot in place. Happily, Audi’s mid-cycle refresh hasn’t undone any of the unique A7’s good work, and the slight facelift and up to date know-how solely serve to underscore the mannequin’s class and enchantment. For a automobile that I first drove practically 5 years in the past, this Audi does not appear to have aged a lot. In truth, like an automotive Jennifer Aniston or George Clooney, it appears completely resistant to the ravages of time.
Aesthetically, Audi hasn’t messed with a very good factor. Up entrance, there is a extra sharply creased entrance fascia with newly normal LED headlamps and a subtly redefined single-frame grille. The elegantly tapered profile view stays a lot the identical, avoid wasting tweaked facet sills and new wheel patterns. Out again sit redesigned LED hind lights, a brand new gloss-black decrease diffuser, and exhaust shops which have morphed from conventional spherical pipes to properly built-in trapezoidal models. If something, the A7’s redesigned visage is barely extra aggressive, however its total aesthetic stays very a lot the identical.
The inside’s first impression means that little has modified for 2016, as effectively. This is similar low-slung, stunningly well-crafted cabin as earlier than, with seating for 4 (5 in a pinch) and premium supplies in all places the hand falls. The variations lie under the floor, they usually’re nearly solely technological in nature. In the primary, there is a next-generation infotainment controller integrating Apple Siri Eyes Free, on-line visitors data from Inrix and streaming Net radio. The later is made attainable by the brand new AT&T 4G LTE knowledge connection that additionally provides in-car Wi-Fi by means of an Nvidia Tegra 3 chipset. Audi’s Multi Media Interface (MMI) rotary controller/gesture touchpad operation scheme stays mercifully untouched, and all the system appears to reply extra shortly than earlier than, significantly in relation to downloading Google Maps or utilizing Google On-line Search to search out your navigation vacation spot. Audi nonetheless gives among the finest, most feature-rich infotainment programs in the marketplace.
In contrast to the absolutely digital gauge cluster on Audi’s all-new TT sports activities automobile, the A7 holds on to its analog speedometer and tachometer, that are separated by a multifunction TFT show. That is a bit shocking, however like a advantageous wristwatch at all times has a mechanical motion as a substitute of a digital readout, this resolution additionally appears classier (particularly given how artfully the gauges are canted inward). In addition to, many of the automobile’s salient secondary data is conveyed through the center-stack’s gyrating 8-inch display, the aforementioned in-cluster readout or the brand new head-up show.
Omissions? In the intervening time, there is no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, though Audi has pledged to start integrating each into their lineup this yr. There’s additionally nonetheless no panoramic moonroof out there, however provided that the A7’s arching roofline already prioritizes style over second-row scalps, maybe that is no huge loss.
As earlier than, this completely all-wheel-drive lineup begins with the bottom A7 seen right here. It arrives powered by a 3-liter supercharged V6 (ignore the three.0T script on the hatch lid, there is no turbo underneath the hood), and there is additionally a torquey TDI diesel mannequin and S7 and RS 7 high-performance variants. For 2016, Audi has turned the wick up on the usual A7, and it now produces 333 horsepower (a rise of 23) and 325 pound-feet of torque. Accordingly, acceleration for this 4,288-pound hatchback improves barely, with the official 0-60 mph estimate dropping by two-tenths to five.2 seconds, however it appears faster. Prime velocity continues to be electronically capped at 130 mph.
Energy supply through the eight-speed computerized is easy, and with peak torque manifest from 2,900 rpm, progress by no means feels lazy. Nor do issues ever really feel overly frenetic, particularly for the reason that 3-liter’s soundtrack is surprisingly muted by means of the acoustically laminated windshield and double-glazed facet glass. This isn’t a snarly government specific — for that you’ll be wanting the S7 or the RS 7 — the A7 merely acquires velocity well, in an unruffled method.
Whereas I am usually a manual-transmission kind of shoe (or a minimum of favor a dual-clutch setup), this torque-converter gearbox fits the unflustered, dignified character of the A7 so effectively that I by no means missed a 3rd pedal, not to mention Audi’s S Tronic DCT. That nearly by no means occurs. In addition to, when DIY shifting is named for, there are fairly responsive paddle shifters mounted to the again of the steering wheel spokes.
When it comes time to do greater than commute, the A7 obliges with sharp mid-range punch, robust grip, minimal physique roll and keen turn-in. It is no light-weight, neither is it significantly wanting to rotate in sizzling corners, however its underlying sinews agency up properly in a manner that builds confidence (significantly with Audi Drive Choose in Dynamic mode). Over a sweeping B-road, the A7 is able to severely fleet progress that can put a smile in your face, however its dimension suggests it will not be anybody’s first selection for a good mountain highway.
As is true with its Porsche Panamera rival, the A7’s beneficiant wheelbase and huge trunk means the A7 can be very effectively suited to interstate cruising. For 2016, it has barely longer legs, too — EPA gasoline economic system estimates have improved to 30 miles per gallon freeway (20 metropolis) from final yr’s 28 and 18 scores. With a 19.8-gallon tank, practically 600 miles of cruising vary is in sight. I averaged 23.8 miles per gallon in spirited, blended driving.
When it first launched, the A7 was among the many leaders in superior security tech, however the sport has moved on significantly for the reason that 2012 mannequin first hit showrooms. Accordingly, the 2016 mannequin is on the market with a collection of latest driver-assistance options, together with improved adaptive cruise management that works along side energetic lane-keep help to allow what’s successfully semi-autonomous driving. The lane-keep know-how, which makes use of the electrical energy steering to maintain the car from wandering outdoors of 1’s lane, is efficient, however it may also be intrusive. That is as a result of it is attainable to really feel the system making minute corrections to the driving force’s meant path, spoiling steering really feel within the course of. After some time, I switched the system off, and located the newly unchaperoned steering to be barely gentle in weight however fast and correct.
Different new help options out there for 2016 embody blind-spot help, secondary collision help (which mechanically brakes the automobile after a crash in an effort to keep away from subsequent impacts), in addition to parking help and night-vision programs.
Admittedly, the A7’s worth equation stays considerably laborious to rationalize. With a beginning worth of $69,225 and this optioned-up, as-delivered tester brandishing a considerable backside line of $77,725, the A7 is for all intents and functions a sexier A6 with much less rear-seat room at a not-inconsiderable worth penalty — roughly $10,000. (The story is far the identical within the UK, the place a base 3-liter fuel V6 mannequin runs about £53,000, whereas pricing for Australian market is just not available).
And but, as good as Audi’s A6 sedan is, it is by no means made me really feel like I am the custodian of rolling sculpture the best way the A7 manages on a day-in, day-out foundation. My sensible facet tells me the A7 justifies a minimum of a part of its premium due to its large hatchback’s added utility, however deep down, I do know the entire actual the explanation why that is an Personal Cash Car for me, and I am completely okay with that.
You’ll be, too.