2017 Audi A7 Review

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2018
The Car Connection
2018
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Kirk Bell Kirk Bell Editor
May 31, 2017

The 2017 Audi A7’s combination of sexy exterior style and healthy interior practicality make for a grand touring luxury sedan par excellence.

The 2017 Audi A7 is an automotive standout. The mid-size hatchback is not only one of the best-looking cars on the road today, it’s also one of the best performing. Starting with its roots firmly planted in the A6 lineup, the A7 skips the base powertrain and aims for a higher-end customer—and doesn’t stop. Starting with the A7, the hatchback also is offered in a high-performance S7 version and a stratospheric RS 7 model. We cover those separately.

The A7, however, is excellent, rating a 8.6 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Audi A7 styling and performance

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A reaction to the coupe-like Mercedes-Benz CLS sedan, the Audi A7 is one of the most beautiful cars on the road. It's actually a hatchback with a shapely rear end mated to Audi's corporate and rather elegant front end. Up front, the A7 features Audi's signature LED headlights and "singleframe" grille. The look from the front doors forward is almost exactly the same as the A6 sedan, which is handsome in its own right, but the fast rake of the roof at the rear creates a very sleek, fastback shape. 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.

After a 2016 update to the design, the 2017 model gets tweaked bumpers at both ends, an expanded color palette, and new wheel patterns.

As with even the most sexy of Audis, the interior of the A7 is understated, cool, and simple. The dash is a chorus of cutlines, but Audi's mastery of materials carries it off without a hint of chaos. A range of available trims and upholstery hues offers plenty of customization.

On the powertrain side, only one engine is offered as Audi pulled its diesel version until the company complies with regulations for diesel emissions. The automaker admitted in 2015 that its V-6 diesel engine polluted more than initially admitted.

That leaves just the supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 rated at 333 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. The transmission is an 8-speed automatic, and the A7 comes standard with quattro all-wheel drive in the U.S.

Considering its size and luxury, the A7 is surprisingly agile and quick. Only after pushed well past the limits of sanity does the A7 exhibit the typical Audi foible: nose-heavy understeer. It’s sporty, but not at the expense of ride quality.

Audi A7 comfort, safety, and features

The A7’s cabin is comfortable and shod with high-quality materials throughout. Rear-seat passengers may look for the same leg room and head room as front-seat riders, but those cases will be few. Up front, the adjustable seats make it easy to find the right position, regardless of the occupant's body type. Fold down the rear seats, and cargo capacity climbs, even if the space does remain shallow under the sharply sloped roof.

Interior changes for 2017 include new LED ambient lighting packages, aluminum and wood dash accents, improved Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, a wireless charging pad, and an available rear-seat entertainment package utilizing a pair of tablet PCs.

Audi adds plenty of high-tech gadgets to the A7’s handsome style and luxury appointments, but it’s an equal mix all the way around. Audi's Multi-Media Interface (MMI) infotainment system is standard and it comes with navigation. MMI is fast, slick, and good-looking thanks to an Nvidia Tegra 30 processor. The instrument panel's LCD can display Google Earth data, too, as well as driving directions, car information, and much more. High-speed data connectivity, MMI Touch input, and an optional Bang & Olufsen sound system further upgrade the A7's features.

Available safety features include adaptive cruise control that can bring the car to a complete stop and still resume following the car ahead, a night vision system, a forward collision warning system with emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, and lane keeping assist.

The A7 is fairly efficient given its size and power. It scores 20 mpg city, 30 highway, 24 combined, according to the EPA.

10

2017 Audi A7

Styling

The 2017 Audi A7 stands out for its sleek coupe-like exterior styling and elegant, luxurious interior.

The Audi A7 is one of the most beautiful cars on the road. A reaction to the coupe-like Mercedes-Benz CLS sedan, the A7 is actually a hatchback with a shapely rear end mated to Audi's signature elegant front end.

The A7 is an easy 10 out of 10 in this category. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Up front, the A7 features Audi's signature LED headlights and single-frame grille. The look from the front doors forward is almost exactly the same as the A6 sedan, which is handsome in its own right, but the fast rake of the roof at the rear creates a very sleek, fastback shape that adds both visual appeal and interior space.

Despite its unique shape and gorgeous exterior, the A7 manages to be understated and cool all the way around. A range of available trims and upholstery hues offers plenty of customization. Audi transplanted the look from the A8 flagship sedan, with a business-class interior composed of elegant materials, a horizontal layout, and top-rate surfaces—albeit with a hint of aggression.

The MMI infotainment system and touchpad dominate attention up front with a rising, high-resolution LCD screen in the center of the dashboard, a screen in front of the driver in the instrument panel, which can both display Google Earth maps along with other entertainment and car settings. )

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2017 Audi A7

Performance

A balanced chassis and a strong, confident engine make the A7 fun to drive.

The A7 offers the ride quality, comfort, and ease of a true luxury car. 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. Until pushed well beyond propriety, the A7 exhibits little of the nose-heavy understeer dynamics Audis have long been known for. The steering, however, is largely uncommunicative.

The A7 is still polished and excellent to drive, however, rating it an 8 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Only one engine is offered. It is a supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 that produces a healthy 333 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. It is quick, hitting 60 mph from a stop in well under six seconds. The only transmission is an 8-speed automatic that delivers smooth, responsive shifts.

A diesel version of the A7 was sold in the U.S., however Audi pulled that model until it could comply with emissions regulations.)

For a review of the sportier S7, read Motor Authority's first drive.

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2017 Audi A7

Comfort & Quality

The 2017 Audi A7 is spacious and comfortable up front, and the hatchback body style adds cargo space, but the rear seat is tight.

The interior of the A7 is plenty spacious, although the exterior shape requires a few compromises. Notably, head room for rear passengers is somewhat compromised—although slightly mitigated—and it’s more pronounced with an optional panoramic sunroof.

The A7 is beautifully finished, and with very good front seats, but the back seat isn't as roomy as you may think—which scores it a 8 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The driver’s seat can be adjusted in multiple ways, but the steering wheel is slightly offset from center in the A7—a common nuisance in many new cars. The instrument panel, however, is angled slightly toward the driver, making for a cockpit-like feeling, while retaining an open, spacious atmosphere for the cabin as a whole. The front seats are highly adjustable, well-bolstered, and supportive, and they are offered with heating and ventilation.

Four adults can fit comfortably, particularly if rear-seat occupants aren't especially lanky, and five will fit in a pinch. Scallops in the headliner make some additional space for taller rear-seat passengers. The rear seats are slightly recessed to improve leg room, but it's still best for smaller occupants.

The A7’s cargo area is a noticeable improvement—especially for road trips—by offering a long, somewhat shallow, space under the hood and behind the rear seats. The rear seats fold down for more room, but overall the area is a big improvement over a typical sedan trunk. Although we’re smitten with the flexibility, we’d be remiss not to say: wagons still have more room.

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2017 Audi A7

Safety

An abundance of standard and optional safety features are offered for the 2017 Audi A7, but it hasn't been crash tested.

Standard safety features include the usual full complement of airbags, stability control, anti-lock brakes, Bluetooth hands-free functionality, a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, and blind-spot monitors. 

Until we have more data from federal and independent agencies regarding the A7's crash test performance, we cannot assign it a score. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Also offered is a night vision system that can detect and highlight potential hazards, including animals and people. A Driver Assistance Plus package adds corner view cameras, automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, lane keeping assist, and forward collision warning with emergency braking.

High list prices and low sales volume mean the Audi A7 hasn’t undergone official crash testing by federal officials or the IIHS.

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2017 Audi A7

Features

The Audi A7’s tech-laden arsenal of features is highlighted by the MMI infotainment system with Google Earth map views.

The 2017 Audi A6 lineup is offered in Premium Plus and Prestige trim levels. Both have ample standard features, plus upgrade paths to even more high-tech gadgetry, audiophile-grade stereo systems, and more.

It's hard to beat the A7 for its feature count, scoring it a 10 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Standard equipment on the Premium Plus includes leather upholstery; heated 8-way power-adjustable front seats with 4-way lumbar adjustment; four-zone automatic climate control; a power tilt/telescoping steering column; an auto-dimming rearview mirror; Bluetooth; keyless ignition; HD radio; satellite radio; a 10-speaker, 180-watt AM/FM/XM/CD stereo with iPod connectivity; a rearview camera; front and rear parking sensors; blind-spot monitors; a sunroof; LED headlights; a power tailgate; a drive selector; and 19-inch alloy wheels. The Prestige gets perforated leather ventilated 12-way adjustable front seats; a head-up display; and a 14-speaker, 630-watt Bose audio system.

Audi's Multi-Media Interface (MMI) infotainment system is also standard. MMI has long been a strong suit of the brand, with abundant features, strong internet connectivity, and Google Earth maps. Last year, MMI was 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 is available, with the option to connect up to eight wi-fi devices. This year, MMI gets improved Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration.

Voice input, satellite traffic updates, Google Local Search, real-time weather and news, and 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.

Options include a Driver Assistance Plus package with corner view cameras, automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, lane keeping assist, and forward collision warning with emergency braking. An S Line Plus package adds a sport suspension and unique wheels. Other available extras include 20-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels, night vision, and adaptive headlamps.

For 2017, Audi adds new LED ambient lighting packages, a wireless charging pad, and an available rear-seat entertainment package utilizing a pair of tablet PCs.

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2017 Audi A7

Fuel Economy

A svelte shape aids aerodynamics, permitting 30 mpg on the highway despite ready power.

Although it is a large and luxurious four-door hatchback with quattro all-wheel drive, the Audi A7 is surprisingly fuel efficient.

The lone engine is a supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 that the EPA rated last year at 20 mpg city, 30 highway, 24 combined, enough for a 7 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

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. At that time, 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, and the engine may come back.

Part of the A7’s greener-than-expected gas mileage performance 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. The sleek shape also contributes.

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$68,800
MSRP based on 3.0 TFSI Prestige
 
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8.6
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 10
Performance 8
Comfort & Quality 8
Safety N/A
Features 10
Fuel Economy 7
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