By Matt Degen
If you were to combine style, function, technology and individualism into just one automobile, you'd get the 2016 Audi A7. Though its silhouette mimics a coupe in a sedan's suit, the A7 is neither. With its rear liftgate and open cargo space, the A7 is actually one of the world's sexiest hatchbacks. As is often the case with Audi, this German luxury car comes with the brand's Quattro all-wheel-drive system, making it surefooted no matter the road or season. The best of Audi's other traits are also abundant, including an innovative infotainment system and excellent ergonomics. A bevy of engine choices are available, including powerful V8s in the S7 and RS 7 performance models. Starting near $70,000, though, the A7's fine attributes don't come cheap.
If you want a luxury car that stands out from the crowd, has commendable cargo room and the latest technology, check out the A7. With a choice of powerplants that range from a 38-mpg diesel to a 560-horsepower twin-turbo V8, this premium hatchback can appeal to both the fuel-conscious and performance-minded.
The A7 is revamped for 2016 with more powerful yet more efficient engines, a new front fascia that includes LED headlights, and a revised rear exterior with LED taillights and trapezoidal tailpipes. New technology includes night-vision assist with animal detection, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality, and 4G LTE in-cabin Internet connectivity.
The Audi A7's versatile traits carry over on the road. Even in "base" form with a 333-horsepower supercharged V6, the A7 has abundant power that's proved in a 0-60-mph time...
... of 5.2 seconds. Acceleration is smooth and brisk, and power is available at almost any velocity. Take heed: This luxury mover will do speeds far in excess of the legal limit without batting an eye. For buyers who somehow require more gusto, the S7 provides it with a 450-horsepower twin-turbo V8, while the RS 7 could be considered the ultimate sleeper with its 560-horsepower and 3.7-second 0-60-mph time. There is also much to like in the A7 TDI diesel, which offers striking efficiency with little detriment to performance. Yet swiftness isn't the A7's sole trait. Comfort and composure are equally impressive, and the car's very manners can be tailored for performance or relaxation via Audi Drive Select feature.
Beyond quality materials and sleek aesthetics, this Audi's interior boasts controls that literally feel good, such as knurled dials and a leather-trimmed steering wheel. Another highlight is the standard 8-inch display that arises from the center dash upon starting the car. Classy, indeed.
Every automaker offers nav systems, but none match what's in an Audi. That's because Audi's incorporates Google Earth, which conveys satellite imagery so real it makes everything else look like a cartoon. With new 4G LTE connectivity, the system has the power and speed to run a you-are-here Google Street View application.
If you've seen the inside of an Audi lately, you know there is much to like. This is most evident in higher-end Audis such as the A7 family. Leather seating is standard, with higher-grade hides available with diamond stitching in S7 and RS 7 models. The A7 has standard seating for five, while the S7 and RS 7 are limited to four since they feature a pair of contoured rear seats instead of a 3-person bench. Thanks to the standard 8-way-power/4-way lumbar adjustment and power-operated steering-wheel adjustment, it's easy for drivers of various shapes and sizes to be comfortable.
The A7's fastback shape has been one of its most striking elements since the model debuted in 2012. And while its beauty is subjective, our eyes find a lot to like. Though Audi may dub it a "sedan," the A7 is not one in the traditional sense due to its rear, power-operated hatch door. This offers easy access to a flat load floor with 24.5 cubic feet of space. The higher-performing S7 has its own front and rear bumper design, while the top-dog RS 7 offers a carbon-fiber splitter and diffusor. All models include a sunroof and electric rear spoiler.
As should be expected in an Audi – and a nearly $70,000 one, at that – the A7 comes well-equipped out the gate with features such as a supercharged V6, 4-zone climate control, an interior awash in leather and wood, and heated 8-way-power front seats. In the infotainment and technology front, the 2016 A7 includes navigation, rearview camera, blind-spot monitoring (Audi calls its version "side assist"), and a 10-speaker AM/FM/CD player with satellite and HD Radio. And, at long, last, Audi receives integrated USB ports – two of them, in fact.
The A7's list of extras is long and tempting, with niceties ranging from front seats with ventilation and massaging functionality to a fighter-jet-style head-up display that projects pertinent driver information onto the windshield. Other notables include upgraded audio systems from Bose and Bang & Olufsen, adaptive cruise control, a corner-view camera system, night-vision assist and Audi pre sense plus, which can apply the brakes to avoid or lessen the impact of a frontal collision. A stiffer sport suspension can be had on the A7, while the S7 and RS 7 offer a sport exhaust and other performance hardware.
Four engines are available across the A7 line, each suited for a different taste. The 333-horsepower supercharged V6 that's standard in the A7 will be more than suitable for most drivers, and at up to 30 mpg it is quite efficient, too. The V6 turbodiesel A7 TDI boasts fuel economy up to 38 mpg, yet it hardly sacrifices where performance is concerned. For buyers mostly concerned with performance, there are the S7 and RS 7. Both use a twin-turbo V8, with the S7 making 450 horsepower and the RS 7 putting out a sports-car-humiliating 560. The A7 and RS 7 use an 8-speed automatic transmission that is among the best out there, while the S7 utilizes a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic. All models are all-wheel drive.
3.0-liter supercharged V6 (A7)
333 horsepower @ 5,300-6,500 rpm
325 lb-ft of torque @ 2,900-5,300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/30 mpg
3.0-liter turbocharged diesel V6 (A7 TDI)
240 horsepower @ 3,500-3,750 rpm
428 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-2,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/38 mpg
4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 (S7)
450 horsepower @ 5,500-6,400 rpm
406 lb-ft of torque @ 1,400-5,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/27 mpg
4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 (RS 7)
560 horsepower @ 5,700-6,600 rpm
516 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-5,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: NA
The 2016 Audi A7 luxury car has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $69,225 for a base model with the supercharged V6 engine. An Audi A7 diesel hatchback is slightly more at $71,325. Moving up the chain, the performance-tuned 2016 S7 begins at $83,825, and the voracious Audi RS 7 starts at $109,825. Options on any of these models can lift prices by several thousands. At its starting price, the 2016 A7 is a few thousand above the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class 4-door coupe and several thousand below the BMW 640i Gran Coupe. Before buying, be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others are paying for their new A7. The A7's residual value has traditionally held up better than those of its Mercedes and BMW rivals.