The A7 does come standard with Audi’s signature quattro all-wheel drive. Given the amount of torque available from the engine, it’s nice to know that when you stand on the gas, power is transmitted to the road through all four tires.
An added benefit of this versatile powertrain is excellent fuel efficiency. Loaf around on the freeway at 75 MPH in top gear and the engine is turning over at a lazy 1800 RPMs. This correlates to almost 30 MPG, a remarkable figure for a sizable car with over 300 horsepower. Even during our occasionally aggressive test driving we averaged around 22 MPG, a figure you’d be hard pressed to achieve in most comparably powered mid-size luxury sedans.
The A7 also features Audi Drive Select, which allows you to choose between different settings for the transmission, steering, and engine response. We left it in Auto most of the time, which adjusts the characteristics based on driving style. The comfort setting makes for nice and lazy steering and shifting, while the sport setting offers the most responsive feel.
Out on the road the A7 makes for an excellent freeway cruiser and is equally easy to drive around town. A detour up a very narrow, windy road revealed that the A7 is more than willing to play sports coupe, although the suspension could be a touch firmer. The same Sport Package that gets you the paddle shifters also provides a more firm, sport tuned suspension, which would be well worth the $ if you plan on taking the long way home frequently.
Our test car did come with a set of optional summer tires (Yokohama Advan 265/35-20) mounted on huge 20-inch rims. This gargantuan rubber provides an insane amount of grip, which is the main reason we would have liked some firmer shocks and springs, as the available traction allows cornering speeds faster than the suspension can comfortably handle. The brake pedal also feels a bit soft at first, but push down a bit harder and there is plenty of stopping power available.
While the A7 might not offer the highest level of performance, it excels at everything you might do short of turning laps at the racetrack. And knowing Audi, there is already an S7 in the works for those who do like to take their luxury cars to the track on the weekend.
At this point, you might be wondering why we haven’t mentioned more about the A7’s exterior design. Don’t worry, we did notice, although once you get behind the wheel you’ll want to be on the inside of the car as much as possible.
This might just be the most gorgeous and distinctive design Audi has produced to date. The A7 features Audi’s signature large front grill, but the nose is more sporty looking than the A6 or A8 sedans, and borrows more from the A5 coupe. Like most other Audi models, eye-catching LED daytime running lights and taillights are standard equipment.
The rear of the A7 features something you won’t find on any other luxury car: a true fastback design that will instantly bring you back to the 1970’s. Yet, the integration of the rear hatch with the sleek, sculpted profile of the rest of the car creates a truly modern design that doesn’t look dated at all.