The 2012 Audi A7 (Audi).

The sexiest car on the road?

Could anything in the auto industry be more subjective? More open to argument?

Today's economic and political atmosphere would seem to dictate more discussions about cars that are fuel efficient and aerodynamic, or perhaps run on batteries, rather than those that are stacked with horsepower and sex appeal.

But consider that auto designers must work as much as five and six years in advance of when a car actually hits showrooms. New cars that are arriving at dealerships and auto shows this year were mere sketches on paper in 2006, well before the economic meltdown changed priorities for many consumers.

German automaker Audi is in the midst launching a new model in the U.S., the A7, with a marketing campaign that pushes the idea that the car, part of a modern design phenomenon known as the "four-door coupe," is worthy of being considered art. "The all-new Audi A7 takes cues from high art, with dramatic stylings and bold features, says Audi of America chief marketing officer Scott Keogh. "The A7 will join the ranks of icons in design and technology," Keogh added.

A TV and Internet video campaign for the A7 plays with the idea that a waiting public is so admiring of the A7 that people are busying themselves meticulously, cleaning, tidying and otherwise preparing roadways for the sexiest design ever.

Clockwise from top left: Audi A7 competitors Ferrari FF, Porsche Panamera, Scion FR-S and Mercedes-Benz CLS (Ferrari, Porsche, Toyota, Mercedes).

The car does have its supporters for the title. "The A7 is like a sexy stiletto shoe that is also really comfortable," says Rebecaa Lindland, director of automotive research for North and South America as IHS Global Insight. "No question it is one of the most beautiful cars on the road." Lindland says she could argue the point for hours with people, and that her design standard until now has been the Porsche 911.

What is it about the car the elicits a comment like that, and makes Audi think it has the automotive equivalent of a "sexy beast" on its hands?

What is the sexiest car on the road?
Audi A7 5721 (20.2%)
Mercedes-Benz CLS 4158 (14.7%)
Porsche Panamera 3453 (12.2%)
Ferrari FF 5340 (18.9%)
Other 9631 (34.0%)

The A7 is, surprisingly, a hatchback. Long, and with a wide low stance, the lines are clan and classic. The hatch and cut-off rear end is reminiscent of an Italian super-car of the early 1970s. "This car is free of the gimmicks you'll find on many others in this class, and we haven't talked to anyone who doesn't admire its looks," wrote Car & Driver in its September 2010 issue.

"Sometimes you just know it when you see it," says design and marketing consultant Dennis Keene. "There is going to be a lot of argument in the coming years about this, but the A7 looks look a classic to me."

What are the others in its class? The first two that come to mind are the Mercedes-Benz CLS and the Porsche Panamera. The CLS was first launched in 2004 and ushered in a new segment in the luxury car market--the four-door coupe.

Traditionally, coupes are two door vehicles. But Mercedes saw a niche for people who wanted the personal space of a coupe with the practicality of a four door. The new car to enter to the fray was the Porsche Panamera, the first four door car the iconic German automaker had ever produced.

The starting price for the A7 is $59,250 and can climb to about $70,000 with all the features. The Mercedes CLS starts at $74,000. The Panamera starts at $74,400.

But while the A7 looks like a bit of a bargain compared with its German rivals, sometimes these arguments transcend money.

View Gallery: 2012 Audi A7

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      There will never be another AC Cobra! Period !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      • 3 Years Ago
      Agree completely. Just wish I could afford it.!
      • 3 Years Ago
      Maserati GranTurismo is the sexiest IMHO
      • 3 Years Ago
      cars are not sexy they can look nice but not sexy none of these cars look nice in my opinion give me a full size pick up anyway
      • 3 Years Ago
      The Panamera is the ugliest car Porsche ever made.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I kind of like the new Dodge Charger
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why don`t you go write for Europe? You do not seem to like anything but European cars. I am sure if you tried you might find something. I know it isn`t cool. Jim
        • 3 Years Ago
        Yup Jim you're right. The economy sucks and people buy foreign cars/stuff and then wonder why. It takes 18 hours to build a car. If you buy a foreign nameplated car even if it's made in the states the vast majority of the money you borrow goes out of our economy and into the economy of the foreign car maker. Why people dont understand this is beyond me. Buy foreign crap and weaken our economy even further. Thats just plain stupid....not to mention un-patriotic....and then wonder why you cant get a job.....stupid.....
      • 3 Years Ago
      My daughter turned 16 last month and there was just no way we could afford to add her to our existing car insurance policy. I started shopping around for new car insurance and found this site: ( ) I just put in my ZIP code and received four quotes instantly after filling out the form. By comparing rates we were actually able to include my daughter in our new policy and not pay anymore per month for car insurance than we were originally paying for just me and my wife!
      • 4 Years Ago
      This was not a real poll for the sexies car on the road but an advertisement for Audi.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The funniest part is that all of these cars are tremendously ugly.
      • 4 Years Ago
      None of these would be sexy to me. Sexy would be...the new BMW 6 coupe or convertible and the Z4, the MBZ SL class, or even the Infiniti G coupe. Audi makes a great car and their interiors are VERY well done but nothing they make is "sexy".
      • 4 Years Ago
      sexiest car? the new jaguar XJ
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