By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 8.2
The 2013 Audi A7 and S7 follow the oxymoronic "4-door coupe" concept launched by the Mercedes-Benz CLS and brought to the middle class by the Volkswagen CC. Audi expanded the category with the sleek A7, which sports a roofline reminiscent of a coupe and incorporates a useful rear hatch over a generous cargo deck. In a sense the 2013 A7 embodies all the best that Audi currently offers: sizzling emotive design plus substantive attributes such as all-wheel drive (AWD), advanced in-car technology, compelling driving dynamics and even practical functionality.
If you want a car that makes a strong visual statement, you'll appreciate the modern yet tasteful shape of the 2013 Audi A7. Also, folks in wintry parts of the country will like the A7's standard quattro AWD.
Newly introduced just last year, the Audi A7 carries into 2013 with no major changes. The late-introduction S7 likewise goes unchanged.
Driving Impressions Utilizing an excellent supercharged 3.0-liter V6, a smooth-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission and standard quattro AWD, the 2013 Audi A7 dishes up rapid acceleration for passing, merging or just increasing one's...heart rate. Once up to speed the A7 is a very stable, quiet and comfortable long-distance cruiser. Audi's 4-door coupe also plays well with 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 response, aggressiveness of gear shifts and weight of the steering. Of course, if you're really serious about sporty dynamics, the S7 variant takes you there, with a 420-horsepower twin-turbo V8 and brakes and chassis tuning to match. Even in this guise, the car remains a comfy and civilized grand tourer, but its intensity is turned up a lot.
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 a fingertip. It turns out to be much less gimmicky and more usable than it sounds.
NAVIGATION WITH GOOGLE EARTH
Google Earth is impressive enough on a home computer; in a vehicle's navigation system it is even more striking, and quite practical. Improved awareness of one's surrounding area and the sheer coolness of a helicopter-like map view make navigation with Google Earth a delight.
Audi's now-famous knack for creating great automotive interiors is on full display in the A7's luxurious cabin. All A7's utilize Audi's MMI interface, a rotary selection knob surrounded by four push-buttons, to control many vehicle functions. The rest of the dash becomes attractively uncluttered as a result. Seating is comfortable for four, and, optionally, workable for five; the standard rear seat has two buckets and a storage console between them, but a 3-place bench seat can be substituted as a $350 option. Either way, that graceful roofline makes rear-seat headroom tight for tall passengers.
The face of the 2013 Audi A7 has the trademark oversized hexagonal grille and LED running lights, and the body lines are similarly standard Audi issue. But the A7 distinguishes itself in the roofline, which cuts low over the rear windows and tapers all the way to the tail. It looks great but does ask occupants to duck when entering the rear seat. The A7's 4-door-coupe design marries aero-look efficiency with clean styling in a way entirely consistent with Audi's brand character. The faster and meaner S7 is identified by subtle badging and trim and 1-inch-larger wheels.
The 2013 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 offers 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.
Most A7 options are bundled into four option packages. The Driver Assistance Package features adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring and a collision-warning system. The Innovation Package adds LED headlights, a Head Up display and a night-vision system that 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. A 3-place rear bench seat is available to replace the two rear buckets, making the A7 a 5-seater. A 15-speaker Bang & Olufsen premium audio system is offered for a hefty $5,900.
Today, 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 3.0 supercharged V6's output. Zero-to-60-mph acceleration runs take just 5.4 seconds thanks in part to the broad spread of torque through the low- and medium-speed ranges. With its 420-horsepower twin-turbo V8, the lusty S7 makes even shorter work of 0-60, taking just 4.5 seconds. Remarkably, the S7's blistering performance comes at a cost of just a single mpg in the EPA city/highway ratings. In both the A7 and S7, power is sent from the transmission to the standard quattro AWD system, greatly improving stability and confidence on slippery roads.
3.0-liter supercharged V6
310 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
325 lb-ft of torque @ 2,900 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/28 mpg
4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8
420 horsepower @ 5,500-6,400 rpm
406 lb-ft of torque @ 1,400-5,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/27 mpg