- Brisk acceleration and ample power
- Gorgeous exterior design
- Elegant interior
- Comfortable despite its sporty tendencies
- Lots of standard and available high-tech gear
- Steering can be a bit vague
- Handling reflects the car's considerable size and weight
- Can be very expensive when fully optioned
The 2016 Audi S7 is one of the most beautiful cars on the road today, plus it packs serious performance and abundant high-tech equipment.
The Audi A7 makes no bones about its beauty. The mid-size hatchback puts its four-door A6 sibling on the trailer when it comes to styling, and it also skips the base-level powertrain and instead reaches for the limits with an ultra-powerful RS 7 edition. It's the closest thing to a gasoline-powered Tesla Model S you can drive.
The A7 remains mostly unchanged for 2016, but there are some key updates aesthetically and mechanically. At the front of the car, the most visual changes are to the headlights, which now bear a more angular shape, with a new daytime running light shape and standard LED lighting. The grille is also updated, with a slightly more angular profile and new lower spoiler area for a more modern, cleaner look.
Inside the updated A7 family, buyers will find a new Valcona leather option and Beaufort walnut wood trim, among other new material and color choices. An all-new version of Audi's Multi-Media Interface (MMI) is also available, running on substantially upgraded hardware for improved visual impact—already a strength of the previous A7. High-speed data connectivity, MMI Touch input, and an optional Bang & Olufsen sound system further upgrade the A7’s features.
On the powertrain side, things change but also stay the same. Audi has pulled its diesel version of the A7 until the company complies with regulations for diesel emissions. The automaker admitted in 2015 that its engines polluted more than initially admitted.
All versions of the 2016 Audi A7 come standard with quattro all-wheel drive in the U.S.
Start with the base engine in the A7 and you’ll find the 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 rated at 333 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque—a rise of 23 hp over the previous A7. For the sport-seeking, there’s the S7, which uses a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 engine to generate 30 hp more than last year, now rated at 450 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. For improved shift quality and manual control, the S7 comes paired with the 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox with paddle shifters. The RS 7 continues forward unchanged (as yet) for the 2016 model year, still generating 560 hp, ridiculously small 0-60 mph times, and huge grins. (There's a performance pack that boosts output to an eye-watering 605 hp.)
Despite its size and luxury, the A7 is both quick and surprisingly nimble. Until pushed well beyond propriety, the A7 family exhibits little of the nose-heavy understeer dynamics Audis have long been known for. Despite this sportier-than-expected quality, the ride comfort of the A7 is still high. The S7 and RS 7 take these traits and move them up a level—or two, in the case of the RS 7. The standard adaptive air suspension on the S7 and RS 7 can adjust to meet the needs of driver and road, reducing body lean in the corners or reducing the impact on the occupants over bumps.
Strongly resembling, from most angles, the A6 sedan with which it shares its key underpinnings, the A7 nonetheless breaks with the A6’s conventionality by keeping the graceful arch of the roofline going to create a coupe-like profile and a large rear hatchback space. Great for cargo—though a bit shallow in its dimensions—the A7’s combination of sexy exterior style and healthy interior practicality make for a grand touring luxury sedan par excellence. Subtle details, perhaps even more subtle for the 2016 model year, keep the theme going, and keep it fresh: optional black-out trim can reduce the shiny chrome count; a new mesh insert is available on the rear bumper of some models; and revised exhaust tips are offered as well, depending on trim.
Inside, the updates are even more subtle, with small changes to switch gear shapes; a new MMI computer system powering information, navigation, and more behind the scenes; and subtle new color and material options, as well as slight changes to some of the head-up display components. Subtle details distinguish the base cars from the uber models: chrome grilles become black honeycombs, simple exhausts tap out for diffusers and oval tailpipes, and matte aluminum and carbon replace gloss black trim. The dash is a chorus of cutlines, but Audi's mastery of materials carries it off without a hint of chaos.
Throughout the cabin, seating is comfortable and materials are top-notch. Only rear-seat passengers will want for anything, and that’s just a bit a of leg room for taller occupants. Up front, the seemingly infinitely adjustable seats make it easy to find the right position, regardless of body type. Fold down the rear seats, and cargo capacity climbs, even if the space does remain shallow under the sharply sloped roof.
Add to the A7’s charming mix of sultry style and luxurious appointments Audi’s brand of high-tech gadgetry, and you have a truly winning combination. The new MMI system is faster, slicker, and better-looking than ever thanks to a new Nvidia Tegra 30 processor, which offers twice the processing power of the previous, already highly capable, MMI processor system. Thanks to the upgrade, the instrument panel’s LCD can now display Google Earth data, too, as well as driving directions, car information, and much more.
Other upgrades include enhancements to existing high-tech safety systems, including the ability to come to a complete stop and still resume following in adaptive cruise control mode; an improved night vision system; and improvements to the Audi pre sense safety system. Blind-spot monitors and active-lane assist also improve safety and driver awareness.
The base engine combination, a 3.0-liter supercharged V-6, scores 20 mpg city, 30 highway, 24 combined for the 2016 model year, according to the EPA. On the sportier end of the spectrum, the S7 and RS 7 get 17/27/21 mpg and 15/25/18 mpg, respectively.
2016 Audi A7
The 2016 Audi A7 family updates its already stunning looks with subtle refinements.
This year, Audi's signature LED headlights have been updated for the A7 lineup, and tweaks to the front and rear bumpers, aerodynamic elements, and minor details inside the cabin all combine to offer a fresh look to the car while preserving its standout attractiveness.
As with even the most sexy of Audis, the interior of the A7 is understated, cool, and simple. Updates to the interior buttons and switches and newly available materials (Beaufort walnut wood trim and Valcona leather) across the range, plus a new selection of interior upholstery hues, offer a range of customization. The theme is borrowed from the A8 flagship, with smooth surfaces, a wide horizontal dash layout, and elegant materials and accents making for a business-like feel that’s given just a hint of aggression for the A7.
The infotainment system and touch input controller make up much of the eye-catching ingredients of the front row of the cabin, with a pop-up, high-res LCD screen, a screen in front of the driver in the instrument cluster, and access to Google Earth maps among other graphics-rich elements. The pod surrounding the head-up display on equipped models has also been restyled to look sleeker and smaller.
Raising the ante to S7 and RS 7 trim brings a discreet application of logos, wheels, and an automatic rear spoiler. There's a fantastic matte grey available on the RS 7, and painted brake calipers are on the order sheet too, to complement its black honeycomb grille.
2016 Audi A7
For the speed-hungry, the S7 and RS 7 are sure to satisfy, but even the base A7 is fun to drive.
With one standard engine and a pair of performance, twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8s to choose from, the Audi A7 line offers something for nearly everyone. Each engine is smooth, confident, and powerful for its class.
The standard A7 starts off with either a 3.0-liter supercharged V-6. The gasoline version gets an upgrade in power output for 2016, now charting 333 horsepower, while retaining the same 325 pound-feet of torque.
The base model is quick, hitting 60 mph from a stop in well under six seconds.
If you prefer a sportier option, there’s the S7, which upgrades its 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8’s output by 30 horses this year for a total rating of 450 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. That enables some truly brilliant acceleration, while retaining all of the A7’s standard ride quality, comfort, and ease. Turn up the wick behind the wheel, however, and the S7 responds willingly, the dynamic suspension engaging to reduce body roll. The steering remains largely uncommunicative, but the quattro system’s all-wheel-drive traction and the chassis’ innate balance make for an overall very enjoyable driving experience at nearly any pace.
For more on the sporty nature of the new S7, read Motor Authority's first drive.
The sportiest of the A7 family is the RS 7, and while updates for the 2016 model year haven’t yet been confirmed, its 4.0-liter twin-turbo output of 560 hp makes it downright stunning when it comes to applying the throttle to the road. With a Performance Pack option, that output increases to 605 hp. In the right hands, on a closed course, the RS 7 can dash to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds and carry on to a top speed of 174 mph. Like the S7, its handling is confident and capable, if not quite sports car communicative.
A diesel version of the A7 was sold in the U.S., however Audi pulled that model until it could comply with emissions regulations.
2016 Audi A7
Comfort & Quality
Spacious and comfortable, the 2016 Audi A7 offers surprising cargo space for its coupe-like profile.
While spacious enough throughout the cabin, the A7’s shape makes for a few compromises for taller occupants in the rear seat—most notably head room and leg room—particularly if fitted with the optional panoramic sunroof.
Four adults can fit comfortably, particularly if rear-seat occupants aren’t especially lanky. Scallops in the headliner make some additional space for taller rear-seat passengers, and the bucket seats themselves are slightly recessed to improve leg room—but it’s still best for smaller occupants. The front seats are highly adjustable, well-bolstered, and supportive, and many models come with heated and ventilated seats, too.
For the driver, the position can be adjusted in a multitude of dimensions, but a somewhat offset steering wheel—biased toward the center of the car, perhaps for side-impact crash ratings—can be a small bother to some. The instrument panel, however, is angled slightly toward the driver, making a cockpit-like feeling, while retaining an open, spacious atmosphere for the cabin as a whole.
When road-tripping, the A7’s cargo space is a welcome addition, offering a long, if shallow space under the hatch behind the rear seats, and even more space with the rear seats laid flat. It’s a big upgrade from the utility offered by a typical sedan trunk, and well ahead of the space available in most sport coupes.
2016 Audi A7
While the 2016 Audi A7 hasn’t been crash tested, it does offer abundant standard and optional safety features.
High list prices and low sales volume mean the Audi A7 hasn’t undergone official crash testing by federal officials nor the IIHS, but it does pack a long list of standard and available safety features, including many high-tech options.
Standard features include the usual full complement of airbags, stability control, anti-lock brakes, Bluetooth hands-free functionality, a rearview camera, and, on all models except the base model (where it’s an option), blind-spot monitoring.
Optional safety add-ons range from a newly upgraded night vision system which can detect and highlight potential hazards, including animals and people; a corner-view system making right-angle merges easier; adaptive cruise control, upgraded for 2016 to include full stop-and-go ability; lane-keeping assist; and Audi’s collision warning system.
2016 Audi A7
The enhanced MMI infotainment system and Google Earth maps are standouts in the Audi A7’s tech-laden arsenal of features.
The 2016 Audi A6 lineup offers ample standard features, plus upgrade paths to even more high-tech gadgetry and audiophile-grade stereo systems and more.
The Multi-Media Interface (MMI) infotainment system has long been a strong suit of the brand, with abundant features, strong internet connectivity, and Google Earth maps. For the 2016 model year, the A7’s MMI system is upgraded with a new, more powerful processor, with better graphics, which can even relay them into the instrument panel LCD screen. For those needing data on the go, 4G LTE will also be available, with the option to connect up to eight wi-fi devices.
Voice input, satellite traffic updates, Google Local Search, real-time weather and news, and even local gas station prices are also available via the MMI interface, thanks to the fast web connection. The myAudi Destination feature even allows users to see up to 50 saved or prior destinations online via Google Maps.
Other standard equipment includes Bluetooth, keyless ignition, HD radio, a power sunroof, and AM/FM/XM/CD stereo with iPod connectivity. Available extras include: 20-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels; 15-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio; and more. Available on some higher-trim models: Bose audio, adaptive xenon headlamps, power-adjustable steering column; four-zone climate control; and cornering lights. Air suspension, drive mode selection, and performance-themed interior and exterior carbon fiber upgrades are also available on performance-oriented models.
2016 Audi A7
The A7's svelte shape cuts an efficient hole in the air, which helps it run up to 30 mpg.
The Audi A7 line, while being a large and luxurious four-door coupe with quattro all-wheel drive, is also surprisingly fuel-efficient—or at least it can be. Base models do rather well with their supercharged gasoline engines, and sport models trade gas mileage for performance.
The base engine combination, a 3.0-liter supercharged V-6, scores 20 mpg city, 30 highway, 24 combined for the 2016 model year, according to the EPA.
On the sportier end of the spectrum, the S7 and RS 7 get 17/27/21 mpg and 15/25/18 mpg, respectively.
Part of the A7’s greener-than-expected gas mileage figures is due to the use of an 8-speed automatic transmission, which offers a wide span of gears, intelligent shifting, and low rpm at highway speeds.
A diesel version of the A7 was available in the U.S. until November 2015, when the automaker issued a stop-sale on those cars. Last year, Audi and parent-company Volkswagen admitted the diesel engine found in the A7 polluted more than the automaker advertised. The company said it is working on a fix for those cars.