2012 Audi A7
Starting MSRP $59,250
George Orwell called it DoubleThink in 1949. The ability to believe contrary ideas at the same time.
But today, DoubleThink is alive and well, crossing over from fiction to reality TV, political debates and anything else that understands the power of language to shape an idea. You're free to repudiate.
Many say a car cannot be a coupe, a wagon and a sedan at the same time. By definition or just counting doors a car typically falls into one, and only one, category. But let's close the door on this theory. The 2012 Audi A7 proves both 2+2=5, and that a car can be more than one thing at the same time.
While the new A7 won't come in the colors Blackwhite or Emanuel Goldstein, it does arrive as the all-new edition to the Audi family, filling a void no one knew existed until now. This category is known as the I want a luxury sports car, under $60,000 with plush interior, lots of space, looks spectacular and can carry a lot of stuff.
The most common association of a coupe is performance. Taking away that second row of doors is part of that performance enhancement. The car's body is stiffer. Most coupes realistically are designed for two people with a small second row that others have to crawl into, often embarrassing themselves during ingress or egress.
The A7 offers more performance than most people will even want to test.
The supercharged 3-liter V-6 blasts out 310 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque, which gives it surprisingly quick acceleration for a car that looks big when you walk up to it. And, ultimately, power is everything.
That power is for naught if the body can't handle it, causing it to twist and bend through every curve. But Audi has shored up the frame with high tech answers such as aluminum and high-grade steel. Audi says its frame weight is about 15 percent less than a traditional steel frame.
That lighter frame helps this big car, it's 194.6 inches, long weigh 4,210 pounds. (That's certainly not light, but considering some of the things it carries, it's still respectable.)
But pushing this car through corners, the body reacts like a coupe. The Quattro drive system, five link front and trapezoidal link rear suspension help it stay glued through a turn. You can just keep giving it more and more gas and it just holds its line and goes faster and faster.
All of its driving attributes feel coupesque. The speed-sensitive electric powered rack-and-pinion steering feels taut and nicely weighted at all times, whether driving aggressively through the city or cruising along the highway. (You can also drive aggressively on the highway, but people who do that should go to traffic court in Room 101 at the Ministry of Love, so as to rectify that problem.)
But when you're in the driver's seat, most of your aggression seems to dissipate. There's no reason to be angry.
It's a sedan
Sedans trade a certain amount of comfort over performance in most cases. Aside from the second set of doors that makes getting into a vehicle easier, sedans have become the preferred car for Americans. They're just more popular and more practical for the masses. Every prole owns a sedan.
It doesn't matter where you're sitting in the A7. All five passengers would feel comfortable with 41.3 inches of legroom in the front and 37 inches in the back.
But the 10-way adjustable driver's seat is the preferred seating position. Just to smell the leather, feel the four-spoke steering wheel, and look at the all of the chrome-trimmed gauges and vents. The thought of cloth seats is unthinkable, though Audi gives you two choices: Milano or Valcona. Both just sound nicer than leather.
There's also Audi's MMI system, which stands for Multi Media Interface. MMI starts with the 8-inch telescreen which rises up out of the dash when the car is started. The crisp screen is easily worked through a set of buttons that surround an aluminum knob that spins on the center console. There is MMI touch, which is a flat surface like a writing pad where the driver can write numbers or letters to operate the phone and navigation system.
The system also debuts Audi's new navigation system, called Audi Connect. This system includes Google Earth navigation, Google local search and Wi-Fi connectivity. It allows up to eight devices connected on it at the same time, meaning you can drive and your passengers can check their email. Big Brother would be proud of such a connected family.
And if you're looking for other ways not to talk, the A7 also includes an optional 1,300-watt, 15-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system.
It's a wagon
Even with all of these luxuries, the A7 still offers a wagon-storage feel to it as well. Under the rear hatch, which doesn't really look like a hatch, is 24.5 cubic feet of storage space, which is more than enough to put a foursome's golf bags back there and still have room for more.
It's easy to load and easy to use, as a push of a button will open the liftgate.
And still, it just looks beautiful. The long lines and low roof help give the A7 a coupe-like profile. The way the roof breaks and bends toward the rear of the car hides its rear hatch. Time and time again, people seemed shocked when the back opened up.
There's even a rear spoiler on the back that will automatically lift up when the car hits 80 mph. Americans will have to use the manual button to lift the spoiler, as there are few places to legally do that on U.S. roads.
There are also some of the cues many come to expect with an Audi. The big grille and LED along the headlights. Audi advances this by using LEDs for both the low beam and high beams, as well as turn signals.
There's also an adaptive lighting system that will adjust the amount of light used depending on the lighting conditions and what the car is doing, such as driving in the city or country.
It anticipates your next move in ways we learn to love.
If not loveable, the A7 is certainly respectable in every way. It soothes an itch we didn't even know we had.
In every way, the A7 is Doubleplusgood.
firstname.lastname@example.org (313) 223-3217
Overall: *** 1/2
Exterior: Excellent. Long lines and low body make this car look sleek and sexy.
Interior: Excellent. Luxury amenities throughout. This car feels mature and well-appointed.
Performance: Powerful engine and great handling make the A7 feel much smaller on the road.
Pros: Lots of room and fun to drive.
Cons: High price, average mileage numbers.
**** Excellent *** Good ** Fair * Poor
Cars.com Expert Reviews
|David Thomas||Cars.com National||May 20, 2011|
|Cars.com Staff||Cars.com National||April 28, 2011|
|Kristin Varela||Mother Proof||June 30, 2011|
|Scott Burgess||The Detroit Newspapers||June 16, 2011|
|Warren Brown||washingtonpost.com||June 3, 2011|
|Anita And Paul Lienert||washingtonpost.com||June 3, 2011|
|Clifford Atiyeh||Boston.com||May 23, 2011|
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