Audi A7 History
2013 Audi A7Enlarge Photo
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The Audi A7 is a sumptuously styled derivative of the A6 four-door sedan. A sexy five-door hatchback, the A7 is Audi's entry in the class of "four-door coupes" that include vehicles like the Mercedes-Benz CLS and the BMW 6-Series Gran Sport--and it gets even hotter in the S7 performance edition, and in the even faster RS7 edition arriving soon in American showrooms.See our 2013 Audi A7 and S7 review for more detailed information, including pictures, specs, and pricing.
No matter whether you call the Audi A7 a fastback, a four-door coupe, or a hatchback, we've found the A7 to be one of the best entries of its kind—and that's whether you go by refinement, performance, or features in addition to style. The sloping rear makes the A7 one the best-looking vehicles you can buy today, and it also makes it one of a small set of vehicles crafted specifically to appeal to design enthusiasts.
The A7 is more a sport sedan than a sports car, and even then not a sharply honed one unless you trim up to the high-performance S7. But we've found the A7 to be both fun-to-drive and well-mannered enough for the daily commute or long-distance road trips. The 310-horsepower, 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 (TFSI 3.0) engine fits the quiet character of a luxury car yet churns out the torque just off idle and develops a raspy bark when called on. It's matched with Audi's eight-speed automatic transmission, which proves a willing companion and comes with Tiptronic manual controls. Quattro all-wheel drive delivers power to all four wheels, and Audi Drive Select allows the driver to pick among four different modes that control the way the transmission responds, the feel of the steering, and throttle responsiveness, among other variables.
The Audi S7, meanwhile, has a twin-turbo V-8 with 420 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque, delivered through quattro all-wheel drive and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. It can still deliver up to 27 mpg while it's ripping off 0-60 mph runs in 4.5 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 155 mph. It's the best derivative of the A6 family we've driven yet.There's great isolation from road and wind noise inside, and as in Audi's TT sports car, an integrated spoiler extends (at 80 mph in the A7) to improve aerodynamics—then it retracts back at 50 mph. Hydraulic bushings help mute out harshness, as do frameless doors, and the A7 stays stiff yet light through the extensive use of aluminum in its structure.
The hatchback body style and sloping rear roofline to add practicality and versatility to the A7, with the rear seatbacks folding forward to expand cargo space. Rear-seat passengers may note that headroom is somewhat tight in back, and they'll likely need to duck to get in—though for most buyers it will be a small price for the A7's beautiful roofline and just-right proportions.
Inside, the A7 gets some of the best elements of the cabin from Audi's A8 flagship—including superb materials and trims and Audi's MMI Plus screen-based system, which includes a combination rotary controller and an interface for audio navigation, and calling functions. In addition to the controller, there's also MMI Touch, which lets you enter destinations, phonebook entries, and such by tracing out individual letters, one at a time. The navigation system in the A7 also includes 3D Google Earth imagery; combined with SiriusXM Traffic updates, it's one of the best systems on the market.
The A7 was new to the U.S. market for the 2012 model year, and for 2013 there were only a few minor feature and option changes on the A7--although the 2013 Audi S7 was added to the lineup. There's more to come next year, when the even hotter Audi RS 7, with higher specific output and a track-ready suspension, comes to the U.S., in mid-2014.