By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 9/2/2011
The oxymoronic "4-door coupe" concept was founded by the Mercedes-Benz CLS, brought to the middle-class by the Volkswagen CC and applied unexpectedly to a crossover SUV by the BMW X6. Now Audi is further expanding the four-door coupe category with the A7, a sleek 4-seater that sports a roofline reminiscent of a coupe and, in an M. Night Shyamalan-style twist, a super-useful hatchback. In a sense the 2012 A7 embodies the best that Audi currently has to offer, combining sizzling emotive design with substantive attributes like all-wheel drive (AWD), advanced in-car technology and compelling driving dynamics.
If you want a car that makes a strong visual statement we're guessing you'll appreciate the modern yet tasteful shape of the 2012 Audi A7. Also, fashion-conscious folks who live in wintery parts of the country might appreciate the A7's standard quattro all-wheel drive (AWD) system.
If you need room for five feel free to cross the 2012 Audi A7 off your list. It might seem, from the outside, that the rear quarters should accommodate a third occupant but Audi disagrees, opting instead to give the A7 back seats that are spacious for two instead of cramped for three.
Starting at around $60,000, the 2012 Audi A7's price falls somewhere between the expensive Mercedes-Benz CLS and the comparatively cheap VW CC; bringing premium 4-door-coupe ownership to those who are merely well-to-do.
Utilizing a supercharged V6, a smooth-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission and standard quattro all-wheel drive, the 2012 Audi A7 dishes up rapid acceleration for passing, merging or just increasing one's heart rate. Once up to speed we found the A7 to be a very stable, quiet and comfortable long distance cruiser. Audi's four-door coupe also excels when traversing serpentine roads, rewarding the driver with precise steering and high cornering limits. Drivers can tailor the vehicle's character using Audi Drive Select, choosing between "comfort" and sportier "dynamic" settings to adjust the immediacy of the throttle's response, heft of the steering and aggressiveness of gear shifts. An automatic mode is also available for those who would rather let the car sort out those parameters for itself. All told, the A7 provides an impressive mix of driving engagement and refined comfort.
Buyers who step up to the Premium Plus trim enjoy MMI Touch, a neat touch-sensitive pad that lets the driver input letters and numbers by drawing them with his or her finger. MMI Touch might seem like a novelty but it quickly proves useful when searching for street names or points of interest.
Navigation with Google Earth
Google Earth is impressive on a home computer but becomes doubly impressive when incorporated into a vehicle navigation system. Improved awareness of one's surrounding area and the shear coolness of a helicopter-like map view make navigation with Google Earth easily one of our favorite features.
Audi has a knack for interior design, a skill brought to bear in the A7's luxurious cabin. All A7's utilize Audi's MMI interface, a metal rotary selection knob surrounded by four buttons, to control most vehicle functions, which contributes to an attractively uncluttered dash adorned with few controls. The engine start button's location to the right of the gear selector seems odd to us but overall we think the interior layout works well. In terms of occupant comfort all seating positions feature cozy, supportive seats while passenger space is generally good, though taller passengers may find rear-seat head room a bit tight.
The nose of the 2012 Audi A7 is dominated by an oversized hexagonal grille and LED running lights, a look shared with much of Audi's current lineup. Gaze rearward and the A7's design begins to distinguish itself with a roofline that cuts low over the rear windows, which looks great but requires occupants to duck low when entering the vehicle. On the positive side, with the rear seats folded and the large standard power-operated rear hatch lifted, the A7 happily swallows copious amounts of cargo, verified by an editor who used the space and wide opening to haul a bass guitar and bulky amplifier.
The 2012 Audi A7's standard equipment list includes leather seats, power heated front seats, keyless engine start (though, oddly, not keyless entry), 3-zone automatic climate control, xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights, Bluetooth, 18-inch wheels and a power sunroof. The Premium Plus trim adds Navigation with Google Earth, MMI touch and an 8-inch screen, 19-inch wheels and front and rear parking sensors. The highest Prestige trim bundles equipment found in the Premium Plus trim with keyless entry, a Bose audio system, ventilated front seats and 4-zone climate control. Standard safety features include stability control, traction control and six airbags.
Buyers looking to further outfit their vehicle can choose from four different option packages. The Driver Assistance Package features adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring and a system that warns the driver of an impending collision. The Innovation Package includes the components of the Driver Assistance Package and adds to it LED headlights, a Head Up display and a night vision system than automatically recognizes and highlights pedestrians. Included in the Sport Package are 19- or 20-inch wheels, a sport suspension and a 3-spoke steering wheel. Lastly, a 15-speaker Bang & Olufsen premium audio system is offered for a hefty $5,900.
These days, 310-horsepower in a luxury sedan might seem barely adequate but, thanks to an advanced 8-speed automatic transmission, the A7 makes the most of its engine's output, delivering zero-to-60-mph acceleration in a swift 5.4 seconds. Power is sent from the transmission to a standard quattro all-wheel drive (AWD) system, greatly improving the Audi A7's capabilities on slippery roads. We should also mention that the A7's supercharged engine requires premium fuel.
3.0-liter Supercharged V6
310 horsepower @ 5,500-6,500 rpm
325 lb-ft of torque @ 2,900-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/28
In least-expensive form the A7 checks in around $60,000, with the Premium Plus and Prestige trims adding around $3,600 and $6,300 to the bill respectively. Fully outfit an Audi A7 Prestige trim and the price swells to in excess of $80,000. While less expensive than the Mercedes-Benz CLS, prices for the Audi A7 remain much higher than those of the Volkswagen CC. For up-to-date pricing on the A7 be sure to check out the KBB Fair Purchase Price. When it comes to resale values the A7 is expected to perform reasonably well, with residual numbers that match those of the Volkswagen CC but trail the Mercedes-Benz CLS.