Altogether, in the 2013 A7 and S7 Audi has withheld very few of the features that are offered on its more expensive A8 flagship—which makes us wonder if the A7 might just draw some shoppers across the showroom. Put some extra money put into options, and you can get some of the most advanced high-tech comfort, information, and entertainment options.
The A7 is offered in Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige models, while the high-performance S7 comes only in Prestige guise. Premium includes18-inch wheels; twin bucket seats in back; Drive Select; Bluetooth and iPod connectivity; a sunroof; stop/start; satellite radio; and ambient lighting. Premium Plus adds on 19-inch wheels; a rearview camera; Audi Connect (see below); keyless entry; HD radio; and navigation.
Prestige models step up to adaptive xenon headlamps, Bose audio, heated-and-ventilated front seats, four-zone climate control, cornering lights, and a power-adjustable steering column.
Options include a flashy 20-inch, ten-spoke alloy wheels, plus an Audi side assist system that helps spot vehicles in the blind spot. Other high-end options include a night vision system, a new adaptive cruise control system that can come to a full stop and restart, and a high-end Bang & Olufsen sound system that includes 15 speakers, with polished aluminum covers plus acoustic-lens tweeters that emerge outward when you power up the system.
An Innovation Package combines most of the active-safety extras into one $5,600 price tag; the B&O audio alone is a $5,900 option.The A7 can be optioned up with a set of features grouped as Audi Connect, including the capability to turn the vehicle into a wireless hotspot that can simultaneously accept connections from up to eight WiFi-enabled devices.
Among the features included in this awesome interface are 3D Google Maps (that update quickly enough, as you're moving, to see topography and terrain ahead). There are also Sirius Traffic updates for the navigation system, and they can be overlaid on the imagery from Google Maps, if that isn't complete information overload (and, kind of a map geek's dream).
Audi also claims to have made voice input easier in the A7, thanks to Google Voice Local Search features that listen to your keywords then prompt you with results and potential destinations. Google Local Search also taps into details about restaurants, hotels, or accommodation and relates it to the map display. There's even real-time traffic, weather, and news updates, plus local gas-station prices—also of course put in map form. With a myAudi Destination feature, you can also log on to Google Maps and see up to 50 prior or saved destinations.
Audi's MMI screen interface features a little scratchpad, called MMI Touch, that can use handwriting recognition to understand everything from phonebook navigation to nav destination entry. You trace out one letter at a time, and after a little practice we found it far easier (and less distracting) than a touch screen or any pointer-based system.