2012 Audi A7 Review – Sportback? Hatchback? Fastback? Just call it brilliant.

Audi Expert Reviews

2012 Audi A7
By Alex Kramer


  • Smooth, powerful supercharged V6
  • Remarkable 8-speed automatic transmission
  • Well-balanced suspension provides comfort and performance
  • Excellent fuel efficiency, especially on the highway
  • Gorgeous, distinctive exterior design
  • Tons of available technology


  • Annoying dashboard squeak
  • Rear legroom a bit cramped
  • Need to order the Sport Package for paddle shifters and sport suspension

Is it a hatchback? A sportback? A fastback? A 5-door coupe? Whatever you want to call it, the new Audi A7 is one magnificent automobile.

That might seem like an overly strong statement with which to open this review, but every now and then a car comes along that just does so many things well that you have to acknowledge its brilliance from the start. And then when it also offers a truly unique design, you have a car that is simply in a class by itself.

2012 Audi A7

Driving Impressions

Once you manage to stop staring at the gorgeous exterior and actually get behind the wheel, the A7 reveals itself to be a wonderful driving companion. Although not the fastest car on the road, or the most agile, this Audi does what so many Audis do best, which is provide a sublime level of balance between performance, refinement, and comfort.

Under the hood is the same supercharged 3.0-liter engine that you’ll find in the A6 and S4. Here it is tuned to make 310 hp and an gutsy 325 lb-ft of torque. Although acceleration isn’t quite head snapping, primarily due to the somewhat hefty 4200 pound curb weight, all that torque means there is tons of usable power across the RPM range. This makes maneuvers requiring quick acceleration while at speed, such as passing or merging, absolutely effortless.

8-speed automatic transmission20-inch aluminum alloy wheels

Married to this wonderful engine is the same brilliant 8-speed automatic transmission that’s found in the larger A8. Although having eight gears might seem excessive, when they are handled this well it is a revelation, especially compared to the slow shifting 5 and 6 speed automatics of the past. Shifts are executed so smoothly and quickly that you start to wonder why anyone would drive anything else.

Surprisingly, the A7 doesn’t include paddle shifters as a standard feature, although you can manually shift gears using the shift lever. To get some flappy paddles, you have to order the optional Sport Package. Although the transmission works beautifully, it would have been fun to be able to rifle off shifts with just the pull of a finger.


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  • Peter Anastopulos says:

    This is such a good option and AUDI has tried what they used to call the 5 door in the past.I don’t think it needs a name it’s looks say it all .The traditional sedan has lost it’s luster and this is fresh and to me will be much more successful then the A8.This is just the right price and the right kind of mileage that many of us would be drawn to.I think that’s why were drawn to SUV’s because of the illusion of utility. The 4 door sedan really seems like the Mad Man era vehicle kind of wasteful .This has options even though I am not sure I would load a flat screen TV on that leather.The reason why this version of the new mixed use vehicles succeeds while the ZDX,X6,Crosstour,GT fail is very basic it’s high mileage.

  • Roberts says:

    Love everything about the car except the limited engine choice — one. Would much prefer the 4.2 v8 version for car this size!

    • Derek says:

      @Roberts – the supercharged V6 has plenty of power without the poor fuel economy of a V8 engine. While the V6 may not have the rumble and raw thrust of a torquey V8 engine, the supercharged V6 does a good job of moving the A7 along very quickly.

      Want more performance and can afford it? Wait for an S7 model.

  • Derek says:

    @BG – thanks for the catch. We totally missed that one.

  • BG says:

    Apostrophe in “acknowledge it’s brilliance” should be removed. (Second paragraph, first sentence)

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