2012 Audi A7 Review

2012 Audi A7 - Matching Mercedes step-for-step, Audi now offers CLS competitor.


PLUSES: New entry sandwiched between the $45,000 Audi A6 and $85,000 Audi A8 sedans. Quick, supercharged V-6 with decent 28 m.p.g. highway mileage for full size sedan. Huge cargo hold. Fashionable appearance.
MINUSES: Cargo hold deep, but not tall. Rear seat leg and head room tight.
Sloping coupe roof line impacts the melon.

Audi felt it necessary for its A-6 and A-8 sedans to have a playmate so it adds the A-7 sedan for the 2012 model year, another luxury, high performance offering from the German brand.
Audi says the A-7 is for those who want to be "seen and noticed and make a fashion statement," which means the A-6 and A-8 sedans "are more for stockbrokers, the A-7 sedan for advertising executives," an Audi insider said.  
The A-7 sedan must have been influenced, in part, by Mercedes-Benz since the Audi sports a sharply sloped coupe-like roofline similar to that adopted by Mercedes a few years back to make its sedans look like coupes in profile.
The coupe look creates a spirited, action image for the luxury sedan, reinforced by a 3 liter, 310 h.p. V-6 that gets a supercharged jolt of energy to act like a
V-8 when needed to sprint away from the light or quickly zip into and out of the passing lane.
The V-6 is lively, yet quiet, and teamed with an 8-speed automatic that helps it earn an 18 m.p.g. city/28 m.p.g. highway rating while still able to dash from 0 to 60 m.p.h. in 5.4 seconds and reach a top speed of 130 m.p.h.
Thanks to the standard Quattro all wheel drive, the A-7 has pinpoint precision in corners and sticks to the pavement regardless of how sharply it twists.
Stability control is also standard. The test car came with optional sport tuned suspension and 20 inch summer performance radials that hug dry roads to ensure optimum handling ability. But when the snow flies, all season radials are a must for the grip needed to prevent the softer summer treads from slip sliding on wet roads.
The A-7 has a rather large power open/close hatchback rear lid that opens high and wide to reveal a very deep cargo hold. But since the hatch is sharply sloped in keeping with the coupe design, the cargo hold isn't very high. For tall items or big suitcases you need to pull the release levers to fold the rear seat backs down to expand cargo carrying capacity into the cabin.
It also helps if you remove the large cover secured to the inside of the huge glass window on the hatchback lid that serves to hide items underneath. With cover gone, you gain some room for taller items.
With the rear seatbacks flat and the hatchlid wide open, the A-7 looks like a sedan sporting a truck bed in back. There's tie down hooks and a small net pouch to help secure items being hauled.
While the cargo hold is huge, Audi could have devoted a little more space to the rear of the cabin. Leg room is tight in the back seat and the coupe roof slope puts melon room at a premium for passengers. Not only is the roof sharply sloped, it hangs low, and that means rear doors lack high openings and require ducking the melon to make entry or exit painless.
The rear seat comes with a power plug housed behind the center console should anyone in back feel the need to employ a laptop computer. A pair of cupholders slip out of a center armrest that folds down out of the rear seat. There's also a ski pass-through between the cargo hold and cabin to keep them secure.
The A-7 also features a relic amenity---a cigarette lighter serving rear seat passengers. Front seat backs are equipped with parcel nets so passengers in back can store items during the trip---perhaps cigarettes.
Doors come with stowage pockets but NOT cup or bottle holders. Guess those who pilot $60,000 sedans don't sip Big Gulps while traveling---or smoking.
Neat features include push button start, and a power deck lid spoiler you can raise or lower at the touch of a button to add to high speed stability, and a navi screen that slips out and up from the dash when needed and then slips back again when it has served its purpose.
There's also a lot of BMW-like dials to twist and push to make simple tasks more complex in handling functions ranging from navigation directions to choosing radio stations. And one gripe about the radio: When the gear shift lever is put in reverse, you loose radio sound, which means if your favorite song is playing or your favorite team is one out from a victory, you better keep it in "D" and move forward.
The A-7 tested starts at $59,250.  
The A-7 is new for 2012, while an all new A-6 comes out later this summer.

2012 Audi A7


114.7 inches


Length: 195.6 inches


Engine: 3 liter, 310 h.p., supercharged V-6.


Transmission: 8-speed automatic.


Mileage: 18 m.p.g. city/28 m.p.g. highway.


Base price: $59,250.


Price as equipped: Add $475 Dakota gray metallic paint, $3,620 Premium
Plus package with navigation system, front and rear parking sensors with
back up camera, HD radio, manual folding and heated outside mirrors,
and driver information center, $1,500 Sport Package with 20 inch summer
performance tires, sport suspension, and shift paddles on steering
wheel, plus $875 freight.

Jim Mateja

Jim Mateja enjoyed a 42 year career with the Chicago Tribune before retiring in 2007 as the newspaper's automotive columnist. He received numerous awards for his reporting and writing, including the National Automotive Journalism Association's "Moto" award for best regularly published column and automotive feature writing, and a Best in Show award for his test ride of a horse in conjunction with the Tribune's 150th anniversary. He also earned the Detroit Press Club Foundation's Gold Wheel Award for best car reviews, and a Tribune Professional Performance Award for his column and regular reporting. He still writes occasional car reviews for the Tribune, is one of the nation's 50 automotive journalists who serve as members of the North American Car of the Year judging panel, and is a panel member who helps select Best Buys for "Consumers Digest" magazine. Mateja also is the founding President of the Midwest Automotive Media Association.