The Audi A7 delivers a luxury-sedan ride, coupled with the handling talents of a grand touring machine. Its dashing exterior turns out to be quite practical, with the convenience of a massive hatchback. Occupants get comfortable seats with numerous adjustments.
Following a 2016 design update, the 2017 Audi A7 gets a handful of revisions. Bose surround-sound audio and Audi’s smartphone interface now are standard on 2017 A7 models, along with new 19-inch 5-spoke wheels. Also new is the 2017 Audi A7 3.0T Competition model, which comes with an S line exterior, red brake calipers, and 20-inch wheels. Meanwhile, the V8-powered 2017 Audi S7 adds a Premium Plus trim level; newly designed 20- and 21-inch wheels are available, and red brake calipers come with the 2017 S7 Sport package.
The six-cylinder A7 model comes in Premium Plus and Prestige trim levels, joined by the A7 Competition model. In each A7, a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 develops 333 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. The transmission is an 8-speed automatic, working with standard quattro all-wheel drive. A 340-horsepower version of the V6 powers the A7 Competition hatchback. Audi also offers V8-powered S7 and RS7 editions, which use a 7-speed automatic.
Audi’s Multi-Media Interface (MMI) infotainment system now offers improved Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration. Available 4G LTE includes the option to connect as many as eight Wi-Fi devices. An S Line Plus package adds a sport suspension and distinctive wheels.
No safety agency has crash-tested the A7, but Audi provides an abundance of safety features, either standard or optional. Standard are blind-spot monitoring, a rearview camera, Bluetooth hands-free functionality, and front/rear parking sensors. An optional Night Vision system can detect potential hazards, including people. A Driver Assistance Plus package adds adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, forward collision warning with automatic braking, and corner-view cameras.
Audi dropped its diesel version of the A7 after Volkswagen AG, its parent company, admitted in 2015 that its V6 diesel engine emitted more pollutants than initially acknowledged.
Audi A7 3.0T Premium Plus ($68,800) includes the supercharged 3.0-liter V6, leather upholstery, heated power front seats, four-zone automatic climate control, a power tilt/telescopic steering column, Bluetooth, keyless ignition, HD radio, and satellite radio. Also standard are a rearview camera, sunroof, LED headlights, power tailgate, 19-inch alloy wheels, and Bose 14-speaker surround-sound audio. (Prices are MSRP and do not include destination charge.)
A7 3.0T Prestige ($71,350) gets perforated leather, ventilated 12-way front seats, and a head-up display. Premium Plus and Prestige models can be equipped with additional high-tech features, including audiophile-grade stereo systems.
A7 Competition ($76,550) includes a 340-horsepower version of the V6 engine, S line exterior, red brake calipers, flat-bottom steering wheel, sport seats, and 20-inch wheels.
S7 Premium Plus ($79,900) and S7 Prestige ($82,900) get a turbocharged 450-horsepower, 4.0-liter V8. The RS7 ($110,700) and RS7 Performance ($129,500) contain a 560- or 605-horsepower version of the V8.
In a world of sports sedans that blend together, the A7 stands apart, based upon its sleek coupe-like body design. Simply put, it’s a midsize hatchback with an especially shapely back end. Essentially a reaction to the coupe-like Mercedes-Benz CLS sedan Benz, plus a few other hatchback contenders, the A7 is one of the most elegantly beautiful cars to be found on any road.
Leading off at the familiar front end, Audi’s signature LED headlights flank a single-frame grille. Looking only at the front half of the car, the A7 hatchback is almost identical to the A6 sedan. Moving toward the rear, the sloping roof creates the sleek fastback profile that attracts enthusiastic attention.
Within the roomy cabin, high-tech modernity joins a beguiling blend of sensual design and luxury features, following a theme adapted from Audi’s flagship A8 sedan. Elegant trim and materials accompany a wide, horizontally laid-out dashboard, resulting in a rather businesslike appearance.
The steering wheel is offset a bit, while the instrument panel angles toward the driver, helping to create the feel of a cockpit.
Four adults can ride in comfort, and a fifth might squeeze in. Front seats are especially roomy and comfortable, built with top-quality materials and offering multiple adjustments to suit a variety of occupants. They’re also nicely bolstered and supportive.
Taller back-seat riders might be short of head clearance and legroom, due in part to the A7’s sleekly sloped roofline, especially if a panoramic sunroof is installed. Scallops built into the headliner provide a little extra head space.
Audi’s MMI, which includes navigation, is quick-acting and appealing to use. A pop-up LCD ahead of the driver can display Google Earth data, along with driving directions.
Although the hatchback body style beats a sedan’s trunk for cargo-carrying capacity, the space is shallow, with height limited by the shapely lid. Back seats may be folded flat to add more volume.
Though large and luxurious, the A7 accelerates quickly and is surprisingly agile. Little of the understeer characteristic of Audis is evident. Yet, in spite of exhibiting roadgoing qualities that are more sporty than expected, occupants can expect satisfying ride comfort.
The A7 is fun to drive, courtesy of its balanced chassis as well as its potent engine, which delivers a strong sense of confidence. Acceleration to 60 mph takes less than six seconds, and the responsive automatic transmission yields smooth shifts.
Passenger comfort, ride quality, and driving ease help give the A7 the pedigree of an authentic luxury automobile. Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive provides additional traction when needed, coupling with the overall balance to yield a truly pleasurable driving experience. Sports sedan enthusiasts might proclaim a lack of steering feel, with minimal feedback at the wheel, but many drivers aren’t likely to notice.
For its size and power, not to mention its all-wheel-drive system, the A7 is quite fuel-efficient.
Credit goes to the hatchback’s svelte profile, which improves aerodynamic qualities. The A7 is EPA-rated at 20/30 mpg City/Highway, or 24 mpg Combined.
A combination of dapper exterior style and a practical, understated interior results in a compelling grand-touring luxury sedan. Tech-focused features abound, highlighted by Audi’s MMI infotainment system. Still, the main attractions are the A7’s enticing driving qualities and lush appearance.
Driving impressions by Kirk Bell, The Car Connection. James M. Flammang contributed to this report.