2015 A7 New Car Test Drive
The Audi A7 is an all-wheel-drive luxury sedan with the roofline of a coupe and a practical rear hatch. First introduced for 2012, the Audi A7 is based on the same platform as the Audi A6 and has nearly the same footprint, with the added roominess of a sport wagon.
For 2014, two new variants joined the lineup. At the head of the class is the uber-performance 2014 Audi RS 7, a step above the S7 which debuted for 2013. Power comes from a re-tuned version of the S7's twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 engine, churning out a whopping 560 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque (which kicks in as low as 1700 rpm), mated to an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission. It's enough for the RS 7 to skyrocket from 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds according to Audi, making it equally as quick as the V10-powered Audi A8 supercar with the manual transmission. At lower speeds, cylinder deactivation technology allows the RS 7 to run a four-cylinder, improving fuel economy, although, not surprisingly, it's the least fuel-efficient of the bunch, earning an EPA estimated 16/27 mpg City/Highway.
On the practical end of the spectrum is the 2014 Audi A7 TDI, which uses a diesel-powered, turbocharged 3.0-liter V6. Although it makes a modest 240 hp, it has plenty of low-end oomph thanks to its 428 lb.-ft. of torque. The A7 TDI achieves an EPA-estimated 24/38 mpg City/Highway.
Those who were dismayed by the A7's four-seat capacity may be glad to know that on 3.0 and TDI variants, a three-passenger bench seat now comes standard, as opposed to two rear buckets. The S7 and the RS 7, however, are still four-seaters. A few new standard features and package changes also make their way onto the A7 for 2014, and notably, the base Premium trim level on 3.0 models has been dropped.
Core Audi A7 models are powered by a supercharged 3.0-liter V6, good for 310 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. The only transmission offered is an 8-speed automatic. EPA fuel economy ratings for the 2014 Audi A7 are a respectable 18/28 mpg City/Highway.
The high-performance S7 is powered the same engine found in the Audi S6, a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 that cranks out 420 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. Audi claims the S7 has a 0-60 mph time of just 4.5 seconds. Also like the new RS 7, the S7 uses cylinder-deactivation technology to improve fuel economy, but manages to barely best the RS 7 with an EPA-estimated 17/27 mpg City/Highway.
As with all Audis, the interior of the A7 is a standout. The dashboard wraps around the driver and into the front doors, the beautiful instrument panel perfectly framed by the three-spoke sport steering wheel. Diamond-quilted leather in the S7 is gorgeous. Rear seats have adequate legroom, and the 60/40 rear seatback flips down to a flat floor.
Although Audi's MMI user interface may have its quirks, it continues to get better. We especially like the Google Earth view on the navigation screen, and the touchpad near the driver on the center console that allows the user to spell out letters with a finger, instead of punching them in.
In the drivetrain department, the V6 is fast and silky, and the 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission is seamless. We found the A7 ride was smooth and comfortable at all times, even with 20-inch wheels and a sport suspension.
The 2014 Audi A7 nestles into an ever-growing space emerging space between sporty and spacious. While the A7 silhouette remains unique, other luxury car makers offer hatch-like practicality in a coupe-like package. As such, other vehicles to consider include the BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe, Jaguar XF and Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class.
2014 Audi A7 models are powered by a 310-hp 3.0-liter supercharged V6 with EPA-estimated fuel economy of 18/28 mpg City/Highway. Diesel-powered A7 TDI models use a 240-hp 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 and earn an EPA-estimated 24/38 mpg City/Highway. Both variants use an 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission and are available in two trim levels: Premium Plus and Prestige.
A7 Premium Plus ($64,500) includes leather upholstery, three-zone automatic climate control, keyless ignition/entry, heated 12-way adjustable power seats with four-way lumbar support, driver memory functions, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, cruise control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a power sunroof, the Audi MMI infotainment interface with 7-inch color display, navigation and voice activation, the Audi Connect interface, which allows users to turn the car into a WiFi hotspot (includes six-month subscription), Bluetooth, a 10-speaker audio system with CD player, satellite radio capability, HD radio, and an iPod cable; front and rear parking sensors and a rearview camera. Exterior features include automatic bi-xenon headlights, LED running lights, a power liftgate, automatic wipers, heated and auto-dimming outside mirrors, heated windshield washers and 19-inch wheels.
A7 Prestige ($69,800) upgrades to four-zone automatic climate control and adds ventilated front seats, a power-adjustable steering wheel, power door closers, Audi side assist technology, heated/auto-dimming/power-folding exterior mirrors, adaptive headlights and special S line exterior trim.
The 2014 Audi S7 ($80,200) comes in a single trim level and is powered by a 420-hp twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 mated to an seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission. Audi S7 comes with everything found on the A7 Prestige trim plus diamond-stitched leather upholstery, park assist with rearview camera, garage door opener, power sunroof, Audi Drive Select with adaptive air suspension, a 14-speaker Bose premium audio system. Exterior features include heated auto-dimming sideview mirrors, adaptive xenon headlights, power hatchback and 19-inch wheels.
The Audi RS 7 is powered by a 560-hp twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 and is fully loaded with upgraded Valcona leather upholstery with honeycomb quilting, leather door armrests, illuminated door sills, ambient lighting, three-spoke perforated multifunction sport steering wheel with contrast stitching, unique shift knob and interior door handles, carbon fiber trim, black-faced instrument gauges with white scales and red needles, aluminum pedals and footrest, perforated and ventilated wave disc brakes with floating calipers, unique exterior trim including front bumper, rear center diffuser and exhaust tips.