Highlights: This is Audi’s version of a four-door coupe. Actually, the folks from Audi refer to the all-new A7 as a five door coupe due its curvaceous low roofline.
The A7 also features Audi’s Google Earth navigation with voice recognition. This is the first vehicle to offer such a feature with 3-D models of buildings, topography and terrain.
Furthermore, the advanced Multi Media Information touch pad in the A7 enables the driver to enter navigation or telephone information with the stroke of a finger, using handwriting recognition technology.
MSRP: $68,830 (The base price starts at $60,125)
Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles
Major Standard Features: 18-inch wheels; 8-speed automatic transmission; Xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights; heated windshield washer nozzles; a manual tilt/telescopic steering wheel; 10-way power front seats; power heated leather (front) seats; keyless door entry; power sunroof; a three-zone climate control; push-button keyless starter; a speed-sensitive pop-up rear spoiler; and a height-adjustable power-lift system for the hatchback
Standard Engine/Horsepower: 3.0-liter, 6-cylinder engine/310hp
Standard Fuel Mileage: 18-city/28-highway
Standard Audio System: Sirius satellite radio with a AM/FM in-dash single CD player with CD MP3 Playback stereo
Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes.
iPod Integration: Yes.
What’s New: The all-wheel drive A7 is all-new to the line up for the 2011 model year. This coupe-like vehicle mimics the high-end Mercedes CLS and its moderate price, low-tech sibling, the VW CC. The A7 is based off of the same platform as the current-generation Audi A6.
Pros: The Audi A7 is the ultimate premium-class German luxury sedan. Not only does it provide a stylish design, a driver-oriented cabin, which offers three driving modes, contoured form-fitted front seats, a height-adjustable front center armrest, a fuel-friendly spirited 6-cylinder engine, a versatile cargo area, but a host of high-tech features too. For consumers looking to flaunt their success, while keeping their bank account in tact, the moderately priced A7 is the perfect vehicle to fit the bill.
The all-new coupe-like A7 is available in three trim levels: Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige. We were fortunate to get our hands on a Midnight Blue A7 with the upgraded Prestige Package, which consisted of 19-inch wheels; front and rear parking sensors; a 4-zone ventilation system; front ventilated seats; HD radio; a 630-watt, 14-speaker premium BOSE audio system; a power steering column and the brand’s signature pop-up 8-inch multi media information touch screen which houses the audio controls, navigation system and telephone functions. Our distinctive style Audi was also equipped with the brand’s $1,400 optional full LED lighting system and blind-spot lane changing technology.
And if the wheel and audio package doesn’t set one’s vehicle apart from the crowd, Audi has stepped up their game, offering 20-inch factory wheels and an upgraded $5,400 1300-watt, 15-speaker Bang and Olufsen Advanced Sound System.
Moreover, for the safety conscious driver, Audi has taken almost everything for the driver. The all-new A7 can be outfitted with a Driver’s Assistance Package, which includes a variety of driver assistance features including an adaptive radar-controlled cruise control, Audi side assist and power folding, heated exterior mirrors with memory.
Furthermore, by adding on Audi’s Innovative Package, buyers can expect every feature found on the Driver’s Assistance Package plus the all-new Head Up display system which shows important driver information such as speed, navigation and adaptive cruise control. The Night Vision Assistant can detect pedestrians approximately 1,000 ft. ahead. Once a pedestrian is registered, the system identifies them in yellow. If they move into the anticipated path of the A7, they are highlighted in red and accompanied by an acoustic warning helping to alert the driver.
Cons: There’s really not much to like about this vehicle. For those looking for a five-passenger vehicle, they won’t find it in the coupe-like styling of the A7, since it only seats four. And we found the optional automatic ventilation system to be somewhat tricky. At times, we found it to be somewhat cumbersome to adjust the a/c and fan speed to a cabin-cozy comfortable temperature. Moreover, where is the fuel-sipping A7 diesel? And the vehicle lacks an 8-cyline engine, although we hear that one is in the pipeline.
The Verdict: This premium-class hatchback costs significantly less than many of its competitors. And in some circles, the A7 stylish coupe-like design is being touted as the German brand’s flagship vehicle, although the conservative-styled A8 was just reworked. Ironically, the A7 which hit showrooms in April 2011racked-up 6,200 vehicles sales in 2011, as opposed 5,700 sales for the A8. Based upon these numbers, the A7 is the new flagship vehicle for Audi.
So for price conscious consumer looking for a spirited road vehicle, which is capable of carrying up to four, the Audi A7 is the perfect vehicle to fit the bill. And besides the few minor gripes we noted in an earlier section, the Audi A7 is a car that we hated to release back into the press fleet.
Furthermore, we’ve heard that an 8-cylinder engine will be added soon, the vehicle will be referred to as the Audi S7.
Competition: Jaguar XJ, Mercedes CLS and Porsche Panamera
Jeff Fortson is an auto analyst and editor of a car-buying website for women and minorities. To learn more about his popular car-buying workshop and/or to price a new-vehicle, drive on over to www.JeffCars.com. Follow him http://twitter.com/#!/JeffCars/.