2019 Audi A7 First Drive | Evaluation


Ever since its introduction early this decade, the Audi A7 has introduced credibility to the “four-door coupe” idea, because of the automobile’s successful mixture of luxurious refinement and sporting character wrapped in some significantly fetching sheetmetal. For its follow-up effort, the A7 grows (arguably) much more good-looking, however there are better adjustments beneath its freshly pressed pores and skin.

The size intently mimic these of the outgoing automobile, however the design employs extra crisp traces and sharp angles. The mannequin is once more a hatchback, and on the trailing fringe of the liftgate is a spoiler that deploys at 75 mph. Flanking the decrease, extra hexagonal grille, the A7 provides three totally different headlight setups: customary LEDs, matrix LEDs, and matrix LEDs with laser high-beams (the final two are as but unconfirmed for the U.S. market). The taillights, which span the width of the automobile, encompass 13-element models at either side linked by an LED heart strip. The entrance and rear flip alerts mild up sequentially, and when the automobile is locked or unlocked, the entrance and hind lights carry out just a little flashy choreography.

The A7 shares its structure with the redesigned 2019 A8 and the upcoming next-generation A6, though the sub-8s have considerably much less aluminum of their remaining construct. The platform’s highlights embrace a 48-volt hybrid-assist system, better self-driving functionality, and a redesigned MMI interface. For our market, the A7 is available in a single mechanical configuration with a 335-hp turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6, which supplants the 2018 mannequin’s supercharged six of the identical displacement and output. It’s paired with Audi’s seven-speed dual-clutch S tronic transmission relatively than the eight-speed standard automated used beforehand, and Quattro all-wheel drive is customary.

On the street, the A7 deftly blends polish and efficiency. The transmission’s light-throttle upshifts are all however imperceptible—partly as a result of the engine is so quiet—and its low-speed conduct is clean sufficient to go for a torque-converter automated. But it’s additionally fast to snap off downshifts when requested. The turbo six’s most torque comes on-line greater than 1500 rpm decrease than earlier than and peaks at 369 lb-ft (up from 325 beforehand), and it’s accessible over a broad span from 1370 to 4500 rpm. The muscular V-6 successfully motivates the lighter new A7 (Audi claims a 4001-pound curb weight for the Euro-spec model, a discount of greater than 150 kilos), and turbo lag is minimal, if not fully vanquished. The engine’s flexibility and the transmission’s responsiveness imply that there’s little must hassle with Dynamic mode, which hangs on to decrease gears unnecessarily lengthy. Or select your individual ratio with the paddles or the shifter’s plus/minus gate.

A Subtler Type of Hybrid

The powertrain’s customary 48-volt hybrid ingredient is basically invisible and will likely be significantly so in U.S. automobiles. The system’s regenerative braking recoups as much as 16 horsepower whereas decelerating, shops it within the 48-volt battery positioned underneath the cargo flooring, and feeds it to the engine’s crankshaft through a belt-driven motor/generator, which additionally capabilities because the automobile’s alternator and cease/begin engine starter. The hybrid system doesn’t enhance the powertrain’s most output however “torque fills” to scale back perceived turbo lag and the V-6’s workload—together with permitting it to close down fully for engine-off coasting, a perform that’s seamless however one we gained’t get right here. For us, the chief advantage of the 48-volt system is that it permits the auto cease/begin function to function extra easily and extra usually. Cleverly, that system can set off a restart when the forward-facing radar sees that the car forward begins shifting, relatively than ready for the driving force to raise off the brake.

Within the U.S., the A7 will supply a selection of ordinary metal springs or an adaptive suspension with air springs, as on the automobiles we drove. Audi claims its Drive Choose system now provides better differentiation amongst its numerous settings, and the Consolation mode positively offers one of the best experience high quality whereas nonetheless holding physique motions properly managed. In Auto and Dynamic modes, the 255/40R-20 Michelins acknowledge pavement imperfections with a strong thwack. The Dynamic setting provides some heft to the in any other case overly mild steering however doesn’t supply any notable enchancment in dealing with—not that it actually wants enhancing. As revealed on a collection of S-bends and switchbacks, the A7’s chassis turns in with newfound enthusiasm and carves corners like an Alpine skier. The automobiles we drove, nevertheless, had the good thing about four-wheel steering, which gained’t be provided on A7s within the States (though we might get the function on the forthcoming S7).

Robots Take the Wheel

Audi’s Stage 3 autonomous-driving functionality is one other function not coming to the U.S.—not less than not till the regulatory clouds disperse. We didn’t get to expertise it however did check out the adaptive cruise management with stop-and-go performance. It permits to be used in metropolis site visitors, though if the automobile is stopped for quite a lot of seconds the driving force must prod the accelerator or flick the cruise-control stalk to get going once more. We discovered that cruise-controlled stopping launched a vibration that wasn’t current in any other case, and the driving force nonetheless needs to be alert, as a result of the adaptive cruise will be caught napping when the automobile it’s following pulls off the street, revealing stopped site visitors forward. The lane-keeping help (which works independently of the cruise management) can self-steer for a number of moments at a time, however it doesn’t do a fantastic job centering the automobile within the lane. The A7 additionally will supply self-parking functionality—together with from outdoors the automobile through a smartphone app.

Display screen Gems

The extra spectacular expertise is contained in the cabin, the place three generously sized screens are readily available to wow showroom goers (4 should you rely the small touchscreen that operates the rear local weather management). In entrance of the driving force is Audi’s acquainted 12.3-inch Digital Cockpit configurable instrument cluster. It’s joined by a wholly new MMI system that ditches the pop-up show and rotary controller for 2 touchscreens with haptic suggestions which are absolutely built-in into the sprint design and canted towards the driving force.

The ten.1-inch higher display screen is used primarily for the audio system, the map show (though the map can also seem within the Digital Cockpit), the digicam feed, and to change the automobile’s many settings. All climate-control capabilities transfer to the 8.6-inch decrease display screen, with fan pace and temperature adjustable by tapping or by swiping. The decrease display screen is also the place one can finger-draw inputs for Google or navigation searches—the system acknowledges entire phrases, not only one letter at a time. And in addition to the climate-control show, the decrease display screen can present programmed shortcuts throughout the highest (4 at a time, in as much as eight groupings, for 32 whole); the shortcuts will be radio presets, navigation locations, or telephone contacts. Within the new system solely the amount knob survives, together with buttons to name up the driver-assist menu and the outside digicam views. The outside cameras will be the neatest new function, providing a 3D view of the automobile that may be manipulated to see what’s subsequent to the car on any aspect. And among the many numerous 2D views (entrance, rear, overhead) is one that may present a top-down take a look at the entrance or rear wheels and warn you if you’re about to curb a rim.

Though the system’s performance is drastically enhanced, MMI—like all touchscreens—requires extra eyes-off-the-road time than do bodily controls. Additionally, the big decrease display screen means there’s nowhere to place cellphones and sun shades aside from within the cupholders, the door pockets, or the cubby underneath the middle armrest. The armrest bin is also dwelling to an inductive-charging pad and two of the 4 USB ports (with the opposite two being within the rear).

As we’ve come to anticipate in an Audi, the inside supplies and design execution are largely above reproach. On our instance, clean leather-based lined the sprint and the door tops, with microsuede on the ceiling and the door panels. Lighting that outlines the perimeters of the console and the tops of the doorways appears cool at night time, however within the daytime the plentiful brushed-metal trim can annoyingly mirror the solar. Audi was capable of carve out fractionally extra rear-seat legroom, which is now beneficiant, though headroom stays marginal. The rear bench has seatbelts for 3; fold it down and the cargo maintain provides 49 cubic ft of area—or a nonetheless spectacular 19 cubes behind the rear seatbacks.

This redesign maintains the A7’s trendy attractiveness whereas bolstering its tech quotient and burnishing its drivability. Even with a few of its new parts off-limits to People, the A7 once more presents one of the best argument for the German confection that’s the four-door coupe.


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MMI Oh My

The A7 (together with the brand new A8) marks the primary true overhaul of Audi’s MMI interface. The brand new system scraps the rotary controller and its surrounding perform buttons. As an alternative, there are two touchscreens, a ten.1-inch higher unit and an 8.6-inch decrease one, each of which affirm inputs with haptic suggestions. The higher is used primarily for the audio system, digicam view, and map show (though the map also can seem within the configurable instrument display screen) and to change the automobile’s settings. All climate-control capabilities transfer to the decrease display screen, with fan pace and temperature adjustable by tapping or swiping. The decrease display screen additionally permits finger-drawing inputs for Google or navigation searches—entire phrases, not simply letter by letter. As well as, the decrease display screen can present programmed shortcuts throughout the highest (4 at a time, on as much as eight pages, for 32 whole); the shortcuts will be radio presets, navigation locations, or telephone contacts. Solely the amount knob and the buttons that decision up the driver-assist menu and the outside digicam view survive the touchscreen takeover. The outside digicam will be the most trick new function, although, providing a 3-D view of the automobile that may show any aspect of the car. And among the many numerous 2-D views is one that may present an overhead take a look at the entrance or rear wheels to point out you if you’re about to curb a rim. —JL

Specs

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