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.
Massive 20-inch, 10-spoke wheels are optional, as are blind-spot monitors. Other options include adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality, night-vision camera systems, and a Bang & Olufsen audio system that includes 15 speakers and dramatic tweeters that rise from the dashboard when you turn on the car.
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 says they've improved response of their voice-input systems in the A7, largely with help from Google Voice Local Search that listens for keywords then returns potential destinations. Google's system also looks for details on hotels, restaurants, or nearby points of interest that can be displayed on the map. Real-time traffic, weather, and news are displayed on the system, including gas-station prices. An online Google Map plug-in, called myAudi Destination, also will store up to 50 destinations to be retrieved in the car.
A touchpad with handwriting recognition called MMI Touch is the centerpiece of the infotainment system. Everything from destination entry to scribbling in phone numbers is possible on the touchpad, albeit one letter and number at a time. With a little practice the system is easier and less distracting than a touchscreen or pointer-based system, according to our fingertips and eyes.