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The all-new 2012 Audi A7 is one of the most distinctive models on the market—and if you want to know why, simply popping the trunk release would be a good place to start.
What you get is—instead of a small trunklid, which it could be—a long hatch, opening up a long, grocery-friendly cargo floor under a graceful, curved roofline and long back window—much like that of a grand-touring sports car.
The A7 is the latest entry in a growing field of cars that put a curvier spin and add a little extra design pizzazz to conservative sedan tradition. On top of that, the A7 has a rather large cargo area under the hatch, and with the seats down, it's limited only by the sloping glass in terms of capacity; there's a lot of room here, and a lot of utility.
Small gripes aside, the A7 is one of the best entries in the four-door-coupe/hatch/sedan segment in terms of refinement, style, and performance. It's quick, it handles shockingly well for such a large car, exhibiting none of the nose-heavy, understeering traits Audis are often known for in hard driving. To be clear: it's more of a full-size sport sedan than a sports car, but it's well-mannered, engaging, and very fun to drive.
Considering the A7 Sportback's chiseled good looks; graceful roofline; top-notch luxury-car interior; athletic ability; and supremely quiet interior, there aren't any serious flaws, which is a lot to say for such a daring design. Front seats are supremely comfortable, though in back you'll only fit two adults and they shouldn't be too lanky. The ride is on the firm side but never jarring.
Most of what's great in the new Audi A8 flagship has been handed down to the lower-priced A7, either on the standard-equipment list or as part of the options list. On offer are a night-vision display, blind-spot assist, 3D Google Earth maps, and a MMI Touch system that lets you scratch out letters with your finger. The latter we've found considerably less distracting than touch-screen or cursor-based systems—once you get used to MMI's menu structure, that is.
- Handsome from any angle
- Superb seats
- Rides like a lux sedan, handles like a touring coupe
- Innovative MMI Touch scratchpad
- Top-notch nav with Google Earth maps
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- Lacks steering feel
- Not much legroom in back
- Rear window limits cargo capability