A four door luxury "coupe." The A7 is Audi's response to Mercedes Benz's CLS and BMW's 5 Series GT. While it has four doors and a hatch-back, it is a sexy expression of German know-how. It's the kind of car that someone with $60K to $70K would buy as a "personal ride," but with the practicality of a real backseat and surprising amount of utility when the rear seats are folded down.

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$59,250. The A7 gets a bit above $60K with a few added options and destination charges.

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- 3.0 liter V6. Direct injected and super-charged
- 310 horsepower, 325 pound-ffet of torque
- 8-speed Tiptronic, wet-clutch automatic transmission
- 18-inch wheels
- 0-60 mph in 5.4 seconds
- Fuel Economy: 18 mpg city/28 mpg highway
- Built in Neckarsulm, Germany

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David Kiley: The car is just plain gorgeous. From every angle and every view, the A7 begs to be driven, and driven fast. Sound deadening materials not only keep the cabin quiet from road noise, but made the sound system ring like a bell made at a Bavarian foundry. Fast and responsive, yet refined the way you would expect a sleek four-door to behave. Love the usefulness of the trunk area under the hatchback. Yes, I said hatchback! Interior appointments were spot on lovely. Given the awkward look of the 5 Series GT, and the much higher price of the Panamera, the A7 looks and feels like an incredibly smart choice, as well as being the sexiest. That's a helluva combination. The telematics system that controls audio, phone, climate control, etc. is intuitive and easy to use.

Autoblog: The cargo area. It's colossal, and it looks like it could swallow a few Paris Hilton shopping sprees without even putting the 60/40-split seats down. The space is admittedly a bit shallow, but there's no denying the Sportback offers unexpected wagon-like utility. All in all, the A7's blend of beauty and poise checks a lot of the right boxes both emotionally and practically, and we couldn't blame Audi for engaging in a bit of good ol' fashioned flag-waving parteizeit in celebration.

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David Kiley: Practically nothing. This car is so sweet that I find myself groping to criticize. Seriously. I thought the graining on some of the dash surfaces could have been a bit more premium looking. That's all I got on the downside.

Autoblog: Audi has elected to bury the engine behind a wall of sound deadening and double-glazed windows. Those looking for a sexy exhaust note or intake bellow will want to look elsewhere by either seeking solace in the aftermarket or waiting until the S7 arrives.

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This is a sweet ride that has a great shot at North American Car of the Year for 2011, a prize awarded each year by a jury of 50 journalists. In an economy that has stung just about everybody, the A7 is a car worth blowing the bonus money on. And you can justify it in part by telling whoever needs to know that you actually saved money by not buying the Porsche Panamera. It's so pretty inside and out, we suspect that it will be a collectible, albeit one that has a lot of miles on it 20 and 30 years from now because of how much it wants to be driven.

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