2012 Audi A7
Starting MSRP $59,250
Audi says the four-seat A7 Sportback, a large hatchback conceived along the same lines as BMW's 5 Series Gran Turismo, combines a coupelike profile with the comfort of a sedan and the practicality of a station wagon. The A7 slots between the A6 and A8 sedans in Audi's lineup. Competitors include the 5 Series GT and V-6 Porsche Panamera.
The A7 comes standard with a supercharged V-6 and all-wheel drive. Trim levels are the Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige.
The A7 is 6.5 inches shorter than Audi's regular-wheelbase A8; its measurements line up closer to the squat Panamera than the 5 Series GT. The roofline descends onto a short rear deck, from which the rear end cuts abruptly downward. Up front, Audi's tall grille dominates the face, and the headlights include standard LED daytime running lights — once an Audi signature element, now a common sight among luxury cars. Full-LED headlights, which the A8 also employs, are optional.
In a move more typical of coupes, the A7's windows have no frames. Behind the rear window, an integrated spoiler deploys automatically at 81 mph, retracting when the A7 slows below 50 mph. Eighteen-inch alloy wheels are standard. Nineteen- and 20-inch wheels, as well as sportier S-line ground effects, are optional.
The cockpit's contours wrap from the doors to the dash. A central display powers up from the center part of the dash. It's controlled by Audi's latest Multi Media Interface, whose knob controller has an adjacent touch-pad that picks up commands as you trace them with your fingers. The backseat fits two, with folding seatbacks to expand cargo capacity.
Standard features include heated leather upholstery, power front seats and a moonroof. Four-zone climate control, Bang & Olufsen stereo and ventilated front seats are among the options.
Under the Hood
The A7's supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 delivers 310 horsepower and 325 pounds-feet of torque. With an eight-speed automatic and rear-biased all-wheel drive, the A7 hits 60 mph in just 5.4 seconds, Audi claims. That's quicker than the V-8 powered A8, and it handily beats the six-cylinder Panamera and 5 Series GT. Audi also boasts a 22 mpg rating in the EPA's combined city/highway cycle, which is competitive with both cars. However, the A7 does not come with a V-8, which both competitors offer.
Eight airbags, including dual front knee airbags, are standard. Antilock brakes and an electronic stability system are also standard. Safety options include side-impact airbags for the rear seats, adaptive xenon headlights, a blind spot warning system and adaptive cruise control with forward collision warning.
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