Review: 2012 Audi A7

Posted on 01. Jul, 2011 by in Auto News

Large four-door car with the style of a coupe is not a recent innovation. But early attempts, such as the 1995 Oldsmobile Aurora was able to captivate car buyers. It was run on the Mercedes' four-door coupe "segment with the 2006 CLS. Although sales declined been back to exotic levels, when the new CLS around 2,000 of them had left dealer lots each month. This apparently sufficient motivation for other manufacturers provided to offer their own "four-door coupe." Volkswagen nearby. Of the original with the CC Audi, on the other hand, has taken a very different approach with the new 2012 A7.

To begin with, Audi appears thought that if you're going to sweep the roof line are almost to the trailing edge of the car, you might as well do it to have a fastback. The American market has great upscale hatchbacks in the past, the Rover 3500, Acura-based Sterling 827 and Merkur Scorpio come refused to mind, but tastes have expanded over the past decades. The Porsche Panamera certainly has its critics, but the car is not designed hatchback configuration greatly in their criticism. And the BMW 5-Series GT? Its aesthetic deficiencies similarly extend across the hatch of the vehicle bulky proportions.

If the Audi A7 was a stunning car, few would contrast the hatch. Unfortunately, while the A7 thoroughly tasteful exterior is much more attractive than the Porsche or BMW, it is a conservative design to inspire double takes unlikely, as the CLS swoopier who is also still six years. In a bid for "coupe ness," the A7, the side windows are frameless and its roofline is an inch lower than the closely related 2012 Audi A6 sedan (and almost half a foot lower than the 5-Series GT). Latest Audi design language, with a focus on clear, horizontal lines suits the A7 balanced proportions much better than it does the A8 sedan. A double fold along the shoulder of the car often the illusion of a pinstripe. The entire appearance could not inspire passion, but it radiates technical perfection. This car could be none other than German.

The Audi A7 interior is also very tasty, without a strong design statement. A line arcs from one door to the instrument panel above to find another door, but you'll do the same in a relatively pedestrian Buick. Unlike the first-generation CLS, there seems nothing craft of classic Jaguars or wood inspired. Audi has long been known for the quality of the interior, but the rest of the industry has caught up. Notable in their absence: padded instrument and upper door panels. The seats' no contrast stitching and the leather is not very soft. The door handles are typical of Audi, hard plastic. In general, the interior seems to be of very high quality, but not very luxurious. The riskiest choice interior: The cars tested ash trim minimal ready and has a strong grain that can be actually felt. I liked it. Others who were not driving the car so sure about the matte finish. Glossy wood is available for them.

One advantage of the reasonable design, if not the limo spare the BMW GT, there is almost as much passenger space inside the Audi A7 as the state of the A6. Thus four adults fit comfortably. The front seats are moderately tight and properly support, but less cosseting than in some other luxury cars. They also offer minimal lateral support. Maybe because it will be offered an A7 and not a S7, no electrically adjustable sport buckets or strengthens. On the positive side of the ledger, set the front and rear head restraints, a rarity these days. Unlike first generation CLS are dislocations not required to and from the rear seat. A functional flaw: the rear seat is divided by a low, integrated console, so three people can not sit back there. For a family of five of these cars will not work.

The cargo area is limited to the car's low tail, but extends far forward, especially if the second row is folded. A two-part package shelf effectively seals the passenger compartment from the cargo space. It's not nearly as difficult or overengineered as the bulkhead in the BMW 5-Series GT, but is a little fiddly (and also reflects poorly in the backlight). After removing it, I was easily able to a bike with the front wheel removed (and probably would have mounted to fit the wheel when loaded in the opposite direction) to fit. Front, the A7 is not so accommodating. There is not enough space in the glove box or in the center console for my SLR-style camera so that it rolled over the passenger footwell all week.

Audi A7 to impress some of the toys, others not so much. The LED headlights ($ 1,400 if ordered a la carte) are all the rage, but my eyes failed to detect a significant advantage over xenon. Since they are non-standard, the units musts be the same size and shape as a conventional headlight. Things get even more interesting when cars designed around standard LED lights are. The 1,300-watt Bang & Olufsen audio system sounds so fresh and so clear, even at high volumes that its $ 5,900 price seems almost justified. My old man said it 460th far better than the Mark Levinson system in his Lexus LS He was less enthusiastic about the tweeter "acoustic lenses in their bit pushy upright position, even if the system is to remain off., The Internet-connected nav system uses Google Maps to display satellite images. Regular nav screen does not seem easy enough then .

You can also use the Web for addresses. The MMI system, with a knob, is a half-dozen or so keys and a touchpad that recognizes letters written with the finger, usually easy to operate on the fly, but the programming of the nav system could be much easier. An ergonomic errors that confuse me away at the end of the week: the button to start the engine is located on the right side of the shift lever. The optional head-up display navigation information includes warnings and night vision (there is a pedestrian detector), but not a speedometer or song title (which I thoroughly enjoyed both, in a Buick). The display for the optional night vision system is removed between the speedometer and tachometer, too low to be considered continuous. The blind spot warning system seems designed to signal only when a car is overtaking you from the rear quarter. If one assumes parked at a constant speed in a blind spot that you know that it's there. Other such systems shine in a broader range of circumstances. The adaptive cruise control works better than previous systems, there is even viable in stop-and-go traffic. Although the A7 concept and design seems a natural fit for a panoramic sunroof, roof-portal is a standard-sized unit.

Currently, only one motor is in the U.S. market Audi A7: the same 310-hp 3.0-liter V6 engine in the redesigned 2012 A6. Officially the context mill in the Audi S4 kick out another 23 horsepower, but the A7 engine feels stronger than his performance. The six quiet, noble character better suited to the A7 and A6 as the smaller, sportier car. There is no sensation of boost and no sound from the compressor, its impressive V8-style torque (325 foot-pounds of the summit runs from 2900 to 4500 rpm). Sixty comes in just over five seconds.

The Audi A7 is ZF eight-speed automatic with many other luxury cars (and soon some Chryslers) split has excellent conditions for quick starts, relaxed highway cruising, and everything in between. It reacts quickly, but shifts are usually noticeable, with the occasional odd bump when braking to a stop (I noticed the same thing in some BMWs). Europeans will take a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automated manual gearbox. Audi judges have refined this transfer is not sufficient for the American luxury car duty?

The 3.0T / automatic powertrain achieves excellent fuel economy for a powerful, 4,200-pound, all-wheel-drive car: on-board computer in general confirmed the 18 city / 28 highway EPA ratings. On a highway to the airport run the car managed almost 30 mpg, about as good as my much easier, much less powerful Mazda Protege5. In the suburbs, I watched 15 to 25, depending on the frequency of stops.

In conjunction with the optional sport suspension (which lowers the car 0.4 inches) and features 20-inch high-performance Yokohama tires, the Audi A7 takes about as sporty as it looks. So confidently and competently direct than the typical luxury car, but just interesting. Steering resistance can "comfort" to "dynamic" or "auto." The difference between the modes is to be felt. In each mode, the steering gets firmer as speed increases. You must be on the road 70 + before it even feels tight in "dynamic." The similar system in the larger Audi A8 feels a little tighter and firmer, if memory serves. Feedback is better in smaller Audis. The A7 feels significantly less top-heavy than previous Audis-perhaps because it is the differential before the transfer to enable positioned 54/46 weight distribution. But even with this sub-system controlling the AWD 40:60 initial rear torque bias, and a braking system that engages the A7 to address the dynamics are not those of a rear-drive car. The general attitude of the chassis is a very mild understeer. Power oversteer happens only with an aggressive gas on loose surfaces.

With the sports suspension is at least the Audi A7 ride most decidedly firm, jostling with the occasional, but by far not to punish. Noise is a problem. Although the A7 inside certainly is not loud, it's much louder than the other luxury cars. The optional 20-inch tires contribute, especially on concrete, the standard levels should be less noisy. The tailgate configuration could also help. But the bottom line is that Audis tend to suffer from more road noise than other luxury cars, and this remains the case with their latest.

Pricing starts at $ 60,125 and tops $ 80,000 when all the boxes are checked (the tested car was missing heated rear seats). A 535i xDrive Gran Turismo for lists within a few hundred dollars, if configured similarly, but you will get a much bigger discount with the slow-selling BMW. (The BMW quarter-ton heavier, so an argument could be made that the 550i GT is more comparable.) The redesigned 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS550 4Matic lists for about $ 12,000 more. True Delta car price comparison tool indicates that almost half of the gap through additional features on the Mercedes, including adaptive shock absorbers, a sophisticated air suspension, various high-tech security features, and extensive leather interior can be explained. Then there is the matter of much larger engine of the Benz. With the Mercedes with a V8 (why?), And the Audi V6 with only one (for now) avoid offered, both a direct confrontation. Probably the toughest competition for the A7: an identically equipped A6 lists for just $ 8,000 less. As the two cars are very closely related under the skin, this is how much you pay is for the A7 fastback body slimmer.

At the end of the Audi A7 takes the middle ground between the Mercedes-Benz CLS and BMW 5-Series GT in appearance and functionality. It is with more than the car, but much less than a Porsche Panamera. Sun buyers who purchase high prioritize functionality or the cars almost exclusively for emotional reasons, end up being behind the wheel of something other than the Audi. But the whole idea of a "four-door coupe" suggests a desire to establish a four-door functionality and styling of a coupe in the same car. This segment is all about compromise. Those who are intelligent "both brained" compromise between the excesses of the other cars it here.

Audi provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review.

Michael Karesh operates True Delta, an online source of automotive reliability and pricing data.