Categorized | Autos/Lifestyle

2012 Audi A7 – Impressions

By Duane Pemberton
Company website: www.audi.com

Audi is a brand that’s been a “driver’s car” brand since its inception – it takes legendary “German handling”, kicks it up a few notches all while doing a masterful job with sport and luxury.

Specs:

Engine & Performance

  • Base engine size: 3.0 L
  • Cam type: Double overhead cam (DOHC)
  • Cylinders: V6
  • Valves: 24
  • Valve timing: Variable
  • Direct injection
  • Torque: 325 ft-lbs. @ 2900 rpm
  • Horsepower: 310 hp @ 5500 rpm
  • Turning circle: 39.0 ft.
  • Base engine type: gas

DriveTrain

  • Drive type: all wheel drive
  • Mechanical center differential\
  • Transmission: 8-speed shiftable automatic
  • Center limited slip differential

Warranty

  • Basic: 4 yr./ 50000 mi.
  • Drivetrain: 4 yr./ 50000 mi.
  • Free Maintenance: 1 yr./ 5000 mi.

This A7 is a “hatch-back”, 4-door sedan that’s priced (as configured) at $67k – they do start in the high 50’s if you’re on a bit more of a budget, however. It has very aggressive-looking styling on the front end – sort of like a shark that’s about to bite.

Of course it comes standard with Xenon headlamps as well as features the very swank-looking LED daytime running lights. At first, I wasn’t sure I’d like the front-end styling but having driven this car for a week – taking it to a few wine events – I believe it completely hits the mark for sporty styling that still looks refined.

In my humble opinion, Audi did a superb job with the body lines – they are sleek and have a very beautiful flow from the front to the back-end.

The 20-inch rims also add to the sporty-look as does the integrated rear spoiler that is driver activated – everything about this car begs you to drive it hard.

Looking at the side view and down below here, you can see the stellar lines swooping from the front to the back , you can see how the overall styling creates one of the best-looking sedans in its class.

Powertrain:
The A7 is propelled by the very potent 3.0 V6 that’s been supercharged and mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission – all that power is dealt out to Audi’s formidable Quattro all-wheel-drive system. It’s a rear-wheel bias but will adjust the power and torque automatically, depending on road conditions and corners etc.

Having a supercharger vs. a turbo means that you have the available boost in power at a much lower RPM – this yields a vary flat torque line which is why the car launches so well and hits zero-60mpg in well under 6-seconds (Audi claims 5.4 seconds).

There is some drive-settings in the car’s menu system that you can adjust which does have some impact on the AWD system – the car does everything so seamlessly – quite amazing really.

Inside:
Wood grain panels abound along with other nice tactical-feeling surfaces such as leather and metal – the attention to detail inside the cabin area can not go over-stated. I’ve been in other high-end German cars that don’t give you such a sublime experience of technology, materials and warmth. The team at Audi really nailed this interior – the dual power front seats are spot on and have really good support for long-distance trips and the ability to do a manual-shift mode really amps up the adrenaline.

The audio system in this car does have really good sound quality, overall but still lacks the “wow” factor that I’ve hear from systems in cars that are a fraction of the A7’s price. That’s not at all to say it’s bad or even poor but for the price of this car, I expected a lot more – having said that, however, I know most people will enjoy it and it does sound better then other German luxury brands I’ve been in.

This display screen really is the central nerve center for the driver as it contains the controls for the audio system, suspension and navigation.

Audi teamed up with Google for the on-board navigation system which exploits Google Earth for its mapping and Google search for any search queries you may have. The net result is what I believe to be the best-performing navigation and search functionality I’ve seen in any car to date.  Cool visuals and easy-to-use interface with the control-knob on the center console – it’s augmented by a series of buttons as well.

As you can see in the picture below, there’s a pop-up screen that does the navigation as well as provide the main input for the audio system and driver-select performance/ride system.  When not in-use, you simply hit a button to have the screen go discretely back into the dash.

The A7 also features a quad-climate control system which gives each person their own ability to dial-in the temperature they want – in addition, the two front seats are heated.

The cargo area is quite large, I think you could easily fit 8 cases of wine back there – much more usable space then most trunks can afford.

Ride, handling and performance:
The ride of the A7 is perhaps the best I’ve experienced in any luxury-performance sedan – it’s appropriately tight, yet subtle when it needs to be – it never feels too soft or gushy, even around hard corning.

Its supercharged 3.0-liter V6 is ultra responsive right out of the gate and doesn’t let up – it pins you back into the seat really well and is deceptively fast.

With so much going for it – all-wheel-drive, best-of-class interior, NAV and a powerhouse that “gets it done” it’s hard to find any fault with the A7 when comparing to the competition. It has styling to lust for, power to die for and enough creature comforts to make it one of my person “dream cars”.

For those at all in the market for a premium luxury-performance sedan that offers a lot for the money, I’d highly recommend you book a test-drive today.

If this car was a bottle of wine, I’d liken it to a 1990 Bourdeaux – tasting great right now, has tons of muscle, yet all the refinement one could hope for.