2012 Audi A7 Comfort & Quality

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Comfort & Quality
The 2012 Audi A7 Sportback might be a little hard to size up at first glance. At about 196 inches, it's a little longer than today's typical mid-size sedan in the U.S.; it's also quite wide, yet its low 55-inch-tall roofline makes it no taller than some sports cars.

What that translates to is a relatively low seating position, and enough space for four adults—provided you don't have too many lanky passengers. Up front, the comfort is almost limitless thanks to the highly adjustable seats, except for one small detail, likely an artifact of side-impact crash requirements: the driver's seat isn't centered on the steering wheel. The low-set instrument panel, which cants slightly toward the driver but doesn't at all swoop around, helps enhance the feeling of spaciousness in front. In back, too, you shouldn't plan on carrying five; with backseat accommodations designed to create what are basically two separate bucket seats. From the backseat, you might notice that the headliner has been carved out to accommodate taller adults; if you're one of those, you might find it a little unsettling, though.

As responsive and capable as the A7 is, it's all the more amazing how Audi managed to make it so supremely isolated—almost to the degree of a floaty, cushy luxo-cruiser. The automaker says that it's painstakingly worked to minimize minor vibrations from the engine or the road surface, and the A7's suspension components and subframes are isolated with hydraulic dampers. That pays dividends in keeping the interior quiet, too. This sleek vehicle's frameless doors—a feature that's typically the domain of coupes and convertibles—have a complex sealing system that helps keep the side profile smooth and noise-free. And much like Audi's TT sports car, the A7 employs an integrated spoiler that extends at 80 mph to improve high-speed aerodynamics, then automatically retracts at 50 mph.

The 2012 A7 is comfortable, quiet, and supremely isolated—and while headroom in back is tight, its rakish roofline doesn't affect space as much as you might think.

The A7 rides on the firm side of comfortable—meaning that if you live around excessively patched, potholed roads you might find it too firm; but over tight mountain roads, urban streets, and a particularly coarse, choppy stretch of Interstate, we found the ride to be just fine. Even on a demanding, undulating stretch of mountain road, the A7 was secure, almost stoic, in situations that would have some sports cars and sports sedans working up a sweat, yet its suspension managed to soak up both noisy surfaces and bigger jolts without ever seeming bouncy or too pillowy.

The A7's cargo space isn't really that bad, though you will need to watch the rear hatch glass. The backseats fold, of course to expand the space, which is admittedly a little shallow at the back. But it's really a give-and-take, and versus a trunk it's far more flexible. 

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