2019 Audi A7 Review

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2019
The Car Connection
2019
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Kirk Bell Kirk Bell Senior Editor
February 5, 2019

More practical and more elegant than the A6 sedan, the Audi A7 drives better than ever and takes on next-level technology.

The 2019 Audi A7 hatchback is as pretty as it is fast as it is luxurious as it is useful. Yeah, we know.

It's the second generation of a car that set a high-water mark for performance and design. It's updated this year, and we expect hotter variants to arrive soon.

A stronger, lighter structure helps it drive better than ever, a powerful engine with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system delivers smooth power, and a new two-screen infotainment system highlights the high-quality interior.

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These strengths make the A7 one of our higher rated cars with a score of 7.8 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The 2019 Audi A7 costs at least $69,000 and is offered in Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige trim levels. All cars are gifted with exemplary materials, inside and out.

With the 2019 update, Audi designers didn’t fix what wasn’t broken. The design uses the same basic shape as the outgoing model, but some of the details have changed. The grille up front sits lower and wider, and sharper creases highlight the car’s lines, with the lower character line and rear haunches noticeably more prominent. The hood gets lines of its own for the first time, and the rear end now features a taillight graphic that runs the width of the car.

Under the more sculpted hood sits an engine that churns out 335 horsepower, which is similar to the outgoing engine. However, this 3.0-liter V-6 now takes its forced induction from a turbocharger instead of a supercharger, and torque improves from 325 to 369 pound-feet. It also adds a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that smooths out and quickens the stop/start function and keeps the climate control on at stops. Instead of an 8-speed automatic, the A7 uses a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission that sends the engine’s power to all four wheels via all-wheel drive.

All this rests on a new spaceframe that trades solely aluminum for a mix of various steels and aluminum; the idea is to use right material for the job. It forms a stronger and lighter architecture that can be enhanced with an air suspension with adaptive dampers, rear-wheel steering, and a sport differential that vectors torque on the rear axle.

Base cars get 19-inch wheels, an 8.6-inch touchscreen for infotainment that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, an 8.6-inch lower touchscreen for vehicle and climate control functions, three USB chargers, keyless ignition, heated front seats, and automatic emergency braking. Premium Plus is our idea of the idea A7 and adds a beautiful 12.3-inch instrument cluster that can show high-resolution map information in front of the driver. 

The A7 also adds advanced safety features such as matrix headlights, active lane control and adaptive cruise control to reduce driver fatigue, and a surround view camera system. Every A7 is equipped with automatic emergency braking that can prevent or mitigate forward crashes.

9

2019 Audi A7

Styling

An evolutionary, sharper-creased take on the A7’s signature tapered roof creates a sexy exterior, while the 2019 A7’s interior combines technology with luxury.

Conceived as a reaction to the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class, the Audi A7 managed to improve upon the coupe-like sedan theme, only it was a hatchback instead of a sedan. The A7 enters its second generation for 2019 and adds a more chiseled look with sharper lines. It may not be quite as elegant as the first generation, but the A7’s tapering roofline is still sexy, and the interior bristles with more technology than ever to go with its unmistakable luxury.

We rate the A7 a 9 out of 10 for styling, giving it points for both an excellent interior and an excellent exterior. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The A7 retains its basic shape, but the lines are more pronounced and the edges sharper for 2019. It results in a look that may not conjure the elegance of the original but still inspires lust. The graceful fastback shape, the car’s most defining characteristic, still tapers to the rear. Audi calls the A7 a Sportback, but that’s just another name for a hatchback.

The dimensions change slightly as the wheelbase grows 0.5 inch and the total length increases 0.8 inch.

The sharper creases are most noticeable from the profile and at the front, where the brand’s signature five-pointed grille rests lower and wider, the outer air ducts get taller and blockier, and character lines now flow over the hood. Along the sides, the character line at the top of the lower sill is sharper, and so is the line that defines a haunch over the rear wheel.

At the rear, a spoiler integrated into the hatch pops up at 75 mph, and helps form one continuous line that tucks back into the body at a 45-degree angle headed toward the rear wheels. The taillights now extend across the whole rear end. These LED lights put on a show when the driver unlocks the car and/or closes the doors.

Inside, the design is more NASA and less Victorian study than it has been. Two screens dominate the center console, with a third available in the dash. Audi cants these screens toward the driver. Otherwise, the layout is very horizontal, and somewhat sterile as it plays up the technology theme.

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2019 Audi A7

Performance

Quick, smooth, agile, the 2019 Audi A7 is a polished ride.

The 2019 Audi A7 mixes a compliant ride with sure-footed dynamics and a strong, responsive powertrain. Those strengths all factor into our 8 rating for performance. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The 2019 Audi A7 makes mostly the same horsepower as the outgoing model, but with a different powertrain. It uses a turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 instead a supercharged engine of the same size. Horsepower is nearly unchanged at 335 hp, but torque increases from 325 to 369 pound-feet. The A7 also trades an 8-speed automatic for a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.

The V-6 works with the 7-speed transmission to provide refined thrust. Zero to 60 mph arrives in a quick 5.2 seconds. The dual-clutch transmission shifts smoothly and provides quick downshifts needed for ready passing punch. It’s amusing to think that the S7 will be quicker and the likely RS 7 variant quicker still.

Those cars offer improved handling versus the A7’s competent natural dynamics. Audi builds the A7 on a new spaceframe that combines aluminum with various steels to use the right material in the right spot. It replaces an aluminum spaceframe, and it’s sturdier and lighter, with a 10-percent improvement in torsional rigidity and a 30-percent increase in lateral rigidity.

The A7 comes with all-wheel drive with a standard 40/60 front/rear torque bias. This system can send about 80 percent of the torque to the axle with grip.

The base suspension features steel springs and fixed dampers, and a sport version of that setup gets a 0.4-inch lower ride height and stiffer tuning. The top-end suspension includes air springs with adaptive dampers.

The air suspension/adaptive dampers setup makes the A7 glide comfortably over ruts and bumps, even with the optional 21-inch tires. It also provides controlled, agile handling, with quick, predictable steering and little body lean.

Audi may offer two features to improve the A7’s handing to near-S7 levels. Dynamic all-wheel steering and Audi’s sport differential help the large A7 feel smaller and pivot through corners with a sporty flair. The all-wheel steering varies the front steering ratio between 9.5 and 16.5:1. More importantly, it adds rear-axle steering that can turn the rear wheels up to 5 degrees opposite of the fronts at parking lot speeds to cut 3.6 feet off the turning circle. At speeds up to 37 mph, however, it can turn the rear wheels 2-2.5 degrees opposite the fronts, thus virtually shortening the wheelbase. Audi's sport differential vectors torque on the rear axle.

The A7 has the brakes to match that sportiness, too. It comes standard with six-piston calipers that clamp down on 13.8-inch ventilated front rotors. We drove it hard along twisty coastal roads, and never experienced a soft pedal.

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2019 Audi A7

Comfort & Quality

The 2019 Audi A7’s cabin boasts high-quality materials, bristles with technology, and offers real cargo utility.

The 2019 Audi A7’s hatchback shape affords more cargo space than sedan competitors, though the sloping roof cuts into rear head room. Exemplary materials create a luxurious cabin, and Audi now focuses more on technology with new touchscreens. We rate the A7 a 9 for comfort and quality, adding points for front seat comfort, cargo space, fit and finish, and the large infotainment screens. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The A7’s hatchback design gives it considerably more cargo room than a sedan, and Audi has even increased the interior space this year. Front-seat occupants sit on comfortable, supportive seats with lots of adjustments and plenty of space.

The wheelbase grows by one-half inch, but the interior adds 0.8 inches of length for additional rear leg room. While the backseat is generally comfortable, the slope of the roofline cuts into head room for taller passengers.

In addition to its good looks, the hatch offers real utility. It boasts a roomy 18.9 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seat, which meets or beats any sedan’s trunk, and that can open up to 49.1 cubic feet with the rear seats down. That’s as much as several small crossovers.

Two large screens dominate the center console. They are part of the new MMI Touch Response system that replaced last year’s single screen and rotary controller. Buyers also can add the Audi Virtual Cockpit digital gauges that adds a 12.3-inch screen in the instrument panel. Together, these screens create an antiseptic look that isn’t as inviting as it has been. Nonetheless, Audi still outfits the A7 with high-quality materials such as open-pore wood, multiple choices of leather, Alcantara, and metal trim. It all fits together with precision, and 60 colors of ambient lighting highlight the contours and help the driver find controls at night.

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2019 Audi A7

Safety

A solid structure and a vast array of safety features should make the 2019 Audi A7 one of the safer cars on the road.

The 2019 Audi A7 hasn’t yet been crash tested by federal and independent safety officials.

However, it comes with a full spate of safety features, including driver-assistance features. Without those crash-test scores, though, we can’t give rate it for safety. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Every A7 is equipped with active safety features such as automatic emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, front and rear parking sensors, and a rearview camera.

The A7 can be had with 24 total sensors, including 12 ultrasonic sensors for parking, a surround-view camera system, a front camera, four mid-range radar modules, a long-range radar, and a front laser scanner.

Also on offer are a night vision camera system, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, a forward cross-traffic system that supplements the forward-collision warnings, rear cross-traffic alerts, an exit warning system that alerts occupants to oncoming cars or bicyclists, active lane control, and automatic high beams.

Frustratingly, Audi still offers rear side-impact airbags as an option.

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2019 Audi A7

Features

The A7 comes well-equipped and Audi will sell you the features to tailor it to your tastes.

Audi offers the 2019 A7 in three trim levels: Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige, and it costs nearly $69,000 to start.

Premium may be the base trim, but its hardly bare. The 2019 A7 Premium is equipped with 19-inch wheels, an 8.6-inch touchscreen for infotainment that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, an 8.6-inch lower touchscreen for vehicle and climate control functions, Bluetooth connectivity, three USB chargers, keyless ignition, advanced safety features (that we cover above), three-zone climate control, heated front seats, power liftgate, and LED headlights.

That's good base equipment, especially the touchscreens, and it earns two points above average. Its optional extras are outstanding, including an updated 12.3-inch instrument cluster. The A7 gets an 8. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

We like the A7 Premium Plus for its options, and we guess most buyers will feel the same way. The A7 Premium Plus adds to the Premium trim level the new 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a bigger 10.1-inch touchscreen for infotainment, HD Matrix lights (more on that later), premium sound by Bang & Olufsen, and a surround-view camera system. More options are available for Premium Plus, too. A driver assistance package combines adaptive cruise control and active lane control to reduce fatigue on long-distance drives or stop-and-go commutes. Upgraded multi-contour seats with in-seat massagers are available for $3,200 and a warm weather package for $1,500 adds four-zone climate control and cooled seats.

The Premium Plus trim level is our Goldilocks spot for nearly $74,000, but we acknowledge that some buyers won't stop there.

The Prestige trim level throws the lot at the A7 for more than $77,000 and adds standard 20-inchers, a head-up display, four-zone climate control, power door closers, and HD Matrix lights with laser lamps. A ridiculously clear Bang & Olufsen sound system is optional here for $4,900 and a night vision camera system is a $2,500 spend-up option.

On Premium Plus and Prestige trim levels, Audi offers matrix headlights that are not yet legal in the U.S. and are disabled from the factory until the rule changes, which may be sometime in 2019. The headlights offer brighter lights on the road ahead, but dim portions that include automobiles or pedestrians to reduce glare. It's a system that's already legal in Europe, although federal regulators in the U.S. have been slow to adopt them. Audi says when legal, the matrix display can be updated on A7 models at dealers.

The A7 offers Audi's latest infotainment system, called MMI. The system combines upper and lower touchscreens for a slick-looking system that's crisp and responsive, but perhaps a little too complicated for new luxury buyers.

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2019 Audi A7

Fuel Economy

Given its power and size, the 2019 Audi A7 isn't too hard on gas.

The 2019 Audi A7 posts fuel-economy ratings that won't look out of place in its luxury-car class.

We give it a 5 for gas mileage. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The 2019 Audi A7 has a turbocharged V-6 with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that can shut off the engine at stoplights. It can aid fuel economy, but only slightly. The turbocharged engine is slightly more efficient than the outgoing supercharged engine, though the 2019’s 7-speed lacks the additional gear of the outgoing 8-speed transmission.

The EPA rates the 2019 A7 at 22 mpg city, 29 highway, 25 combined.

The 2018 A7 was EPA-rated at 20 mpg city, 30 highway, 24 combined.

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$68,000
MSRP based on Premium 55 TFSI quattro
 
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7.8
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 9
Performance 8
Comfort & Quality 9
Safety N/A
Features 8
Fuel Economy 5
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2019 Audi A7 Pricing Insights

  • Redesigned 2019 A7s are here; 2018s are gone
  • Lease: No lease specials this month, which is common
  • Finance: From 3.99% APR for up to 66 months
  • Rebates: Up to $2,250 loyalty or $2,000 conquest bonus
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