Vital Stats

Engine:
Turbo-Diesel 3.0L V6
Power:
240 HP / 428 LB-FT
Transmission:
8-Speed Auto
0-60 Time:
5.5 Seconds
Top Speed:
130 MPH
Drivetrain:
All-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
4,266 LBS
Seating:
2+3
Cargo:
24.5 CU-FT
MPG:
24 City / 38 HWY
Base Price:
$66,900
If you're a frequent reader of car reviews (my money says you are), you've no doubt come across prose about how a car "checks all the right boxes." It's a common phrase – I'm guilty of using it myself. And I'm about to use it again.

You see, I've just spent a week with the 2014 Audi A7 TDI, shown here against the backdrop of sunny SoCal, even though my stint was spent slopping through this absolutely wonderful winter we've been having in Detroit. If you're one of our podcast listeners, you've already heard me wax poetic about the A7 TDI, and the more I reflect on this diesel darling, the more I firmly believe that this car absolutely, without a doubt, checks all the right boxes.

Well, almost all of them, anyway.

Driving Notes
  • I'll spare you the lovey-dovey paragraphs about the Audi A7's design. Long story short: it's gorgeous. There's nothing about the TDI model that alters the visually stunning A7. (Those decals are a press fleet special, don't worry.) I particularly love the look of this car with these larger, optional 20-inch wheels, and while white is hardly my first choice, the crisp Glacier paint is subdued enough to really let the A7's flowing lines do the talking. Beauty? Box checked, indeed.
  • Obviously, the big story here is the fitment of Audi's 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V6, tuned to 240 horsepower and 428 pound-feet of torque in this application, the latter of which comes on strong at just 1,750 rpm. Running through an eight-speed automatic, and hitting the ground via Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive system, this force is enough to power the 4,266-pound A7 TDI to 60 miles per hour in 5.5 seconds. That's actually quite quick, when you think about it. To wit: that's the same 0-60 time as a base Porsche Boxster.
  • The way the A7 TDI applies its power is what really makes this package special – there's just a mass of torque, way down low, and with the eight-speed automatic keeping things chugging below 2,500 rpm, that twist is always readily available. That transmission is a smooth operator, and I never felt a desire to use manual mode. I cannot recall a single time when the eight-speed misbehaved or wasn't keeping things moving along with speed and efficiency.
  • Which brings me to the huge box-checking point of this A7: fuel economy. Audi estimates this thing will muster up 24 miles per gallon in the city, 38 mpg highway and 29 mpg combined. Go easy on the highway, and you'll easily see numbers around 40 mpg. In fact, my average for the week bested the combined rating: I saw just over 34 mpg in a pretty even mix of driving.
  • The steering is good, but not spectacular. The chassis is well-tuned, but designed for comfort above all. And as I've said the more relaxed characteristics and shift patterns of the 3.0 TDI and eight-speed transmission are a nice fit for this setup. The car is still pretty involving to drive, yet as a daily driver, there's no situation in which the A7 TDI feels too harsh or firm.
  • That can also be said for the car's all-weather prowess – something I put to work during my loan of the car. Audi's Quattro all-wheel drive is just as stellar as ever, and when combined with relatively decent ground clearance and proper winter tires (Dunlop SP Winter Sport rubbers, here), the A7 proved to be unstoppable in the crummy stuff.
  • Comfortable, too – the A7 interior is unchanged for the TDI, and is just as lovely as it is across the board. Audi's onboard tech is top-notch (my friends still get a huge kick out of the Google Earth navigation integration), the seats are comfortable, natural wood inlays look (and feel) great, and the cabin easily seats four adults with plenty of breathing room.
  • So, where's the rub? Naturally, the bottom line. The whole A7 TDI package starts at $66,900, which isn't unreasonable, but then adding things like the Bang & Olufsen sound system, Prestige trim, Driver Assistance pack, 20-inch Sport pack (which requires adding the 19-inch Sport pack, for some reason), and more, you end up at $81,395, including $895 for destination. And that's without goodies like the ultra-cool full-LED headlamps. For comparison, the not-as-sexy BMW 535d xDrive I tested earlier this year came in at $68,725 with all the same, if not more, kit. Is that gorgeous design really worth $13,000?
  • The A7 TDI is absolutely the car I'd have in the segment. There is almost nothing it cannot do. But that ability comes at a price.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 49 Comments
      Ryan C. Lawson
      • 8 Months Ago
      Elegance and efficiency equal perfection.
      Adrian Elliot
      • 8 Months Ago
      Stunning. I'll take two.
      Alex Pritsert
      • 8 Months Ago
      Don't compare it with BMW 5. Compare it with Grand Coupe and you will get the same price range.
      danfred311
      • 8 Months Ago
      The green version of this coal black junk is Tesla Model S
        May
        • 8 Months Ago
        @danfred311
        Don't forget that Tesla also has 1000lb od toxic and environmentally devastating metals inside. You can refual A7 in 5 minutes - there's no range anxiety issue at all. More - it has the longest (or one of the longest) range in its class. Classic interior means that A7 is less distracting to operate while driving (you don't have to look on one big screen and concentrate to touch the right touch button).
      ravenosa
      • 8 Months Ago
      What an ugly, ugly commuter car. These things look really sad in person. Looks like a Lexus and VW had a baby that melted in the sun. Audi is so in need of an identity other than making these glorified space Jettas...
        Lachmund
        • 8 Months Ago
        @ravenosa
        Everyone is entitled to his own opinion. Luckily there are enough who think this car looks better and more special than most if not all other cars in this class, me included.
        Lachmund
        • 8 Months Ago
        @ravenosa
        Everyone is entitled to his own opinion. Luckily there are enough who think this car looks better and more special than most if not all other cars in this class, me included.
      jonnybimmer
      • 8 Months Ago
      "For comparison, the not-as-sexy BMW 535d xDrive I tested earlier this year came in at $68,725 with all the same, if not more, kit. Is that gorgeous design really worth $13,000?" Isn't the BMW rival for the A7 be the 6 series Gran Coupe and not the lower 5 series which goes head to head against the A6? I understand the 6er isn't available with a diesel here stateside, but it doesn't mean one should compare the A7 to a BMW in a lower pricing tier and imply it's the better deal. Otherwise, if you start eliminating the class structure, you could just keep going on and on with the comparisons (the 5 is a better deal, but the 3 gets even BETTER mileage for the same goodies and much cheaper price, but then there's the Jetta TDI..... etc.) Maybe instead of reaching for rivals based on drivetrain alone, compare it with the most obviously similar competitor, the Porsche Panamera (which has a diesel we don't get but there's a hybrid version you could relate to). Both are full-size, four-door coupe/shooting brake designs from Germany luxury brands featuring AWD, a variety of powertrains that include "green" options and IMO are closer rivals than any other car in the US market (in Europe you could throw in the CLS shooting brake). Once you look at the A7 among its true rivals, then it the pricing seems a lot more reasonable.
        Lachmund
        • 8 Months Ago
        @jonnybimmer
        You're right. The 6 series Gran Coupé would be the right competitor...also getting rid of the B&O sound package leaves a difference of only 7.000 $
        Rob
        • 8 Months Ago
        @jonnybimmer
        This car does not compete with a 5 series The A6 does
      SloopJohnB
      • 8 Months Ago
      I. Don't. Care. It's still underpowered for the money. Great gas mileage and good legs…but it just doesn't feel right. Torque isn't the answer when the final drive ratio is so diluted.
        hboi18
        • 8 Months Ago
        @SloopJohnB
        How the is it underpowered....it gets to 60 in the same exact time as the gas model?
        Matt
        • 8 Months Ago
        @SloopJohnB
        Have you driven a V6 TDI vehicle? Even in the much heavier Touareg, the thrust is just so immediate compared to the n/a gas engine. No waiting for the engine to rev; max torque is available at cruising RPMs if you need it.
        txdesign
        • 8 Months Ago
        @SloopJohnB
        If you lived in a country where gas is $8 or 9/gallon you would appreciate a car like this.
      Matt
      • 8 Months Ago
      Every time I think I would get an A7 TDI, I'm remind of two facts: -This kind of $ gets you in a Model S -$30k less gets you the exact same powertrain in a Touareg TDI, and more practicality to boot
        Matt
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Matt
        I'd totally rock a 3yr-old CPO A7 TDI for $40k though. This thing will depreciate like a rock, Model S won't.
          jonnybimmer
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Matt
          "This thing will depreciate like a rock" That's because it'll likely be out of warranty. Hopefully VAG has stepped up their reliability because as much as I'd want one of their newer cars (lookin' at you RS4 Avant), the maintenance costs of the older ones can get pretty scary even when compared to other luxury brands.
          SloopJohnB
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Matt
          Please, everyone buy one so they can depreciate even more.
          Matt
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Matt
          Jonny, that's why I said CPO. You can get a CPO Audi with a longer warranty than a new Audi.
          Krazeecain
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Matt
          I have a feeling many others have the same thought, so it'll likely depreciate slower than gas A7's.
        Rob J
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Matt
        "-$30k less gets you the exact same powertrain in a Touareg TDI, and more practicality to boot" But you are in a Touareg. I am not one to consider luxury brands or understand the people who buy them, but if you are shopping for an Audi, I doubt you would be thinking of a "lower class" like a VW.
          Rob J
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Rob J
          Except that you are comparing an A7 to a Touareg. The difference between them is absolutely night and day when you are sitting in any of the seats. Maybe you haven't had the chance to, but the VW and Audi sections is always high on my "to sit in" list every year at the autoshow and the A7 is pretty spectacular. Does that justify $30k? Not to me, but I am not the target buyer of this car. Not to mention, if you are buying the TDI you care about fuel economy at least a bit, and the Touareg is a full 25% worse than the A7 on the highway. Anyway, you clearly have the mindset of "I would not buy this car because I don't want it" when clearly other people with difference tastes/priorities do want it.
      JeepinBen
      • 8 Months Ago
      The BMW 535d you checked is $68K and change, but the Audi A6 with this engine starts at $57,500. The A7 is already $11,000 more than an A6. If you want a cheaper version of this car, get the less sexy/practical sedan.
        UconnHuskies22
        • 8 Months Ago
        @JeepinBen
        You beat me too it. The comparison to the 5 series doesn't make much sense. This car should be compared to the 6 series gran coupe or Mercedes CLS diesels if they make those.
        MattVolk
        • 8 Months Ago
        @JeepinBen
        It's crazy, an A6 with the same options is $72k. A friend of mine has an A7 & loves it but I don't get paying so much more for a hatchback. The B&O sound system option is $5900. Who in the real world would order that?
          May
          • 8 Months Ago
          @MattVolk
          You would be suprised - B&O audio is very popular option.
        SloopJohnB
        • 8 Months Ago
        @JeepinBen
        But the BMW diesel has an extensive history of carbon buildup such that the head(s) need to be replaced. That's fine under warranty…but diesels are supposed to be million mile cars/engines…..not good.
      SethG
      • 8 Months Ago
      So the consensus among auto journalists is to praise the looks of the A7. I happen to have loved it when it cam out but I don't think it's aging well. Not that it looks bad. It's still a clean and faultless shape. But to me, it's no longer fresh or exciting. I know longer turn my head to look when I see them on the road. With the Model S and the Panamera sporting similar bodystyles (the former more effectively than the latter) I don't find the A7 as striking as I did a few years ago.
        Matt
        • 8 Months Ago
        @SethG
        I love the slantback shape; it looks awesome on the A7 and Model S, the Panamera is the only ugly one. You know it will age well, because the slantback coupes of ~25 years ago (300ZX, Porsche 944, etc) still look fresh now.
          Rob J
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Matt
          You lost me at the 944. But I do love slantbacks/fastbacks.
      Lucky Stars
      • 8 Months Ago
      I am not fond of the look. I want to like it but just looks odd. A6 is probably with the right wheels the best looking vehicle in the lineup with the A3 and A4 right there... still I will probably end up with a 3 series as much as I hate to say it, is the best looking in its segment and most all around with the 328d having space and economy, why a 5 series when the back seat is comfortable now. Reminds me of my old 1990 528i
      bluedoggiant
      • 8 Months Ago
      Big fan of autoblog but huge mess up. Is $13000 worth the price for the looks? Uh? Hello? Obviously the writer isn't very knowledgeable about the market. Every person knows that the 5 series competes with the A6, so compare the 5 series d with the A6 TDI? Novel idea? Also, everybody knows that the A7 is basically an A6 with a $10K body kit. No one complains about that, why don't you go on about how the A7 is a stupid car because you can get an A6 identically equipped for $10K less? I thought that was a stupid remark about the price. If the Gran Coupe and CLS were offered with diesels they would be equal or beyond that price tag for the A7 TDI. Full disclosure I am the owner of 2012 Audi A7 Prestige.
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