Friday, July 22, 2011


Posted by Vishnureddy at 6:39 PM

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The 2012 Audi A7 has exceptional looks, sporty lines and it's a heckuva fun ride, too. A supercharged ride. One that will spring from 0 to 60 in 5.6 seconds and up to 100 mph in just over 13 seconds.
  • A7 is a different sort of animal. With its sloping roofline, it could fool you into thinking it's a sport coupe. But it is a four-door luxury sedan with the practicality of a large, rear hatchback for easy access to the golf clubs.
The next-generation A6 shares much of the underpinnings here, but the A7 is longer and wider.
Flying up the ramp and onto the interstate is a brisk run with its 3.0-liter V-6 fitted with a belt-driven supercharger and direct fuel injection. It's the same engine as the current A6 and it's good for 295 horses and 325 pound-feet of torque. Top speed is factory-limited at 130 mph.
Regulating the speed is a smooth-shifting eight-speed transmission that gets some credit for the estimated 28 mpg on the highway - if you behave. The Tiptronic tranny also lets you select any of those eight gears manually.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of its acceleration is in the midrange torque. Fifty-to-70 mph can be had in 3.4 seconds.
Riding the uneven roads is better than in most Audi models, in spite of its rather stiff suspension. Handling is clean and predictable, and it can be pushed on the corners in spite of its size.
You can choose from four driving modes that make adjustments to the steering, tranny and engine. They're all good, and you just might find the "auto" mode quite satisfactory and not need to mess with the rest.
Steering is a little lightweight at slower speeds but responsive, too, making the twisty roads much fun. Braking is confident and even, and bringing this two-ton beauty to a halt is not a problem. Regulating the speed is a smooth-shifting eight-speed tranny.
Quattro all-wheel-drive is standard and offers superb grip. When conditions call for it, the system sends as much as 75 percent of the torque to the front and 85 percent to the rear.
While it's easy to bury yourself in the A7's performance, the inside is rather remarkable, too. Materials are superb in their look, feel and touch. Of course, interior materials have become a hallmark for Audi. They are excellent in every Audi I've driven.
Instruments with red needles and white digits are sharp looking and easy to read. The combination of layered oak, leather and aluminum trim is a sophisticated look. The perforated-leather seats are comfortable up front and have the gadgets to adjust them anywhere you wish. Rear seats are comfortable, too, and have plenty of legroom. The sloping roof, however, might confine the headroom of taller folks.
But no need to worry about visibility with that hatch - it's fine in every direction.
In the rear, there is ample cargo space at 24.5 cubic feet, and that expands to 49 cubic feet when you put down the split rear seats. And, with a hatchback, the cargo area is much easier to get into than a trunk.
On the other hand, the slanted roofline means you can't even stand a suitcase up. Well, just lay the back seats down and you're in business.
And what a great deal: The navigation, audio and phone systems are integrated as one and displayed on a pop-up screen. They can be controlled with a turn of the thumb wheel control and touchpad.
On the road, it's really hard to get into trouble with the A7's host of safety features. Adaptive cruise control slows you down if you get to close to the car in front. Night vision helps identify pedestrians or bicyclists ahead.
Plus, the blind-spot monitor stops you from making a bad lane switch, and a lane-keeper stops you from drifting. These features represent some of the most advanced safety innovations that exist right now.
The A7 is a beautiful car with an impressive ride. And a Sportback version emerges this summer so check that out, too.
Sure, the competition is rough in this segment, what with the newly redesigned BMW 5-Series, Mercedes' CLS and Porsche Panamera. Yikes. But this A7 is a great stride forward for Audi, one which deserves serious consideration.
Keep an eye on Audi. It's doing something right, breaking its own sales records in the U.S. last year. And, with announced plans to spend nearly $16 billion on new technology and models over the next few years, this is a carmaker to which you might want to stay "linked in."
2012 AUDI A7:
-Base price: $60,125 (including destination charge)
-As tested: $81,530

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