Do you think it’s possible to have too many options? Well, Audi clearly doesn’t. In the United States alone, the German brand offers 14 different body styles (not counting S models as a separate body style) and 21 models in its lineup. Next year, that number will continue to grow by at least another handful. However, the big news for the brand this year comes in the form of its first attempt at creating a Mercedes-Benz CLS competitor, the new 2012 Audi A7.
Now, granted that the Mercedes-Benz CLS really started the sloping roofline four-door-coupe luxury segment, others like Porsche have stepped in to grab a piece of the pie. While I’m not a big fan of the Porsche Panamera’s appearance, the Audi A7 definitely wins my approval. Before I even get into a full review of the new Audi, I’m going to go ahead and say that compared to the Benz CLS, the Audi is, without question, an overall superior machine. Why? Let’s have a look.
2012 Audi A7 Specifications:
- Style: Sedan.
- Drive Type: All-wheel-drive.
- Seating Capacity: 4.
- Base Price: $59,250.
- Price As Tested: $81,980.
- Engine: 3.0 liter TFSI Supercharged V6 – 310-hp at 5,500 rpm / 325 lb-ft of torque at 2,900 -4,500 rpm.
- Transmission: 8-speed Tiptronic.
- 0 to 60 mph: 5.4.
- Top Speed: 130 mph.
- Curb Weight: 4,210 lbs.
- Fuel-economy (city/highway/combined): 18/28/22 mpg.
All Photos Copyright © Omar Rana, Nikolina Kostrevski – egmCarTech.
The new 2012 Audi A7 fits into the brand’s lineup between the A6 and the massive A8, but is by no means a medium sized car. The new large Ingolstadt sedan is 16.31 ft long, and has a wheelbase of 9.55 ft and stands 6.27 ft wide. Nonetheless, the A7 maintains a very sporty stance and stands just 4.66 ft tall.
I have to say that after the R8, the Audi A7 is the most beautiful car in the company’s lineup that bears the four-ringed badge. From the signature, sleek-design of the LED headlamps to its sloping roofline, Audi’s exterior designers paid close attention to making the A7 a drop-dead gorgeous car.
[quote float=”left”]I have to say that after the R8, the Audi A7 is the most beautiful car in the company’s lineup that bears the four-ringed badge.[/quote] When viewed directly from the front, the sedan has a wonderfully designed front fascia, reminiscent of the R8. However, when viewed from the side, the A7 has the looks of an exceptional luxury sedan from the B-pillar and forward. From the B-pillar and back, the A7 has the appeal of high-end sports coupe. Not to mention, when you bring up the spoiler with the touch of a button, you may just mistake the A7 for a coupe and not the luxury sedan it is.
According to Stefan Sielaff, Head of Design at Audi AG: “Audi design is the harmony of form and function. It is the perfect interaction with technology and an expression of beauty; the aesthetic staging of highly developed technology.”
Sielaff is on point with his statement as function in the A7 hasn’t been sacrificed in the interest of form.
The Audi A7 has a practical hatchback tailgate which opens to a very generously sized boot – if you need more space, the A7’s rear seats fold flat down for extra room.
But how is comfort for the rear passengers? After all, this is a sedan we’re talking about. Hop in the back and you’ll notice that the A7 offers ample legroom for rear-seat passengers. However, as with all these four-door-coupes in the segment, accommodating for the sloping roofline takes precedence over head room. I’m 6 foot tall and I could feel by hair brushing up against the roof. Nonetheless, the rear passengers do get their own climate control system and heated leather seats to keep them comfortable.
[quote float=”right”]Compared to its competitors, Audi still builds one of the most impressive, ergonomic and quality built interiors in the luxury segment, and the A7 reaffirms that…[/quote] So we know how the passengers feel in the car, but what about the most important factor: How is it from the point of view of the driver? When you get in the driver’s seat you’re welcomed by one of the most stylish, luxurious and sporty cabins I’ve seen in the segment. The full front-dash encompasses the driver in a cocoon-like area and is packed with gadgets and gizmos.
Just to name some of the features that were available in our test-car, the fully-loaded A7 Prestige Plus came with Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Head-up Display, Night Vision assistant (an outstanding one at that), MMI navigation plus with MMI touch, Google Earth (yes, your navigation map displays Google Earth satellite imagery), and heated and cooled front seats. As impressive as all these features sound, it is the Bang and Olufsen Advanced Sound System with 15 speakers including sub woofer, center speaker and acoustic lens emerging tweeters that always blew me away. However, what also blew me away is the $5,900 price tag of the sound system. Nonetheless, I have to say it is by far the best I’ve ever experienced in an automobile.
Compared to its competitors, Audi still builds one of the most impressive, ergonomic and quality built interiors in the luxury segment, and the A7 reaffirms that fact and takes it just a step further with touches like veneer layers of light and dark oak.
While the wheel control arms and many other chassis components in the Audi A7 are made of aluminum – it is still a very heavy car, weighing in at an outstanding 4,210 pounds. That takes away from the A7 feeling anything like a sports car, but the combination of the engine and Audi’s 8-speed Tiptronic transmission still make it pretty engaging to drive.
I wouldn’t recommend taking sharp turns at high-speeds, but the quattro all-wheel-drive system will indeed make you feel comfortable going through long bends on the highways and country roads at speeds that can make you feel a little bit sick. Audi also offers its Driver Select program, that when set to Dynamic, actively distributes power to and between the rear wheels, as a nice complement to quattro drive. Now, don’t expect the Dynamic mode to throw you back in your seat for some aggressive performance – just expect it to make you smile… just a little.
In the United States, the 2012 Audi A7 is available with only one engine option – the 3.0 liter TFSI V6 supercharged engine. It makes 310-hp at 5,500 rpm with a maximum torque of 325 lb-ft between 2,900 and 4,500 rpm. Mated to an 8-speed Tipronic transmission, 0 to 60 mph comes in a zippy 5.4 seconds with a top speed of 130 mph.
Just keep in mind, at the end of the day, the A7 is not a sports car and I really don’t think it’s trying to be one. Spending a week with the 2012 Audi A7, I realized that Audi is offering a comfortable, relaxing and quiet ride for those willing to depart with a lot of hard earned cash.
But what about the enthusiasts that still feel a bit unsatisfied? Next year, Audi will answer your call with the new 420-hp twin-turbo V8 S7.
On the topic of hard earned cash, I have only one major warning to give anyone that is considering buying the new 2012 Audi A7. It is easy to look at the base price and get carried away when it comes to adding options when buying this car.
While the price of the A7 starts at a fairly modest $59,250, Audi offers over $20,000 in options, so you could be walking out of the dealership with $83,180 less than you had in your bank account. I do recommend that if you select any options, the $5,900 Bang and Olufsen Sound System is worth every penny… jus like the car.
For those of you that still feel Stuttgart’s CLS is a better car, there are only two trim levels in the United States at the moment – the $71,300 CLS550 and the $94,900 CLS63 AMG – both of which look very awkward from the back.
– By: Omar Rana
All Photos Copyright © Omar Rana, Nikolina Kostrevski – egmCarTech.