There are few silhouettes as alluring to me as that of the Audi A7. The proportions of the rear deck lid and the long hood balance out the “four-door coupe” perfectly. To my mind, this is the most original and best execution of this design fad. It’s stunning. Truly stunning.
This A7, as with most of them, has Audi’s 3.0L TDI engine inside. The diesel’s 428 lb-ft of torque and 240-hp output is managed via an eight-speed automatic and the Quattro all-wheel drive. It’s powerful in an understated way. Accelerate and you surge forward with a fuss-free, powerful and purposeful stride – thankfully you can program a speed warning to keep you from inadvertently straying into impound territory.
By now, you’ve seen the words “Audi”, “AWD” and “Quattro”, so anything I say about traction is superfluous. What you might not know immediately is that the Audi A7 rides beautifully. Really beautifully. If you’ve ever let a wave swell under you and lift you gently off the ocean floor at the beach, you’ll understand how this A7 massages large bumps into gentle, even enjoyable little “plomps”. That’s despite the massive 20-inch rims with painted-on tires.
Turn in is not rapid, rather the A7 glides into a corner with utter grace, holding its line with composure even on the ricketiest of roads. The front end scrubs a little if you push too hard, but you can rotate the 1,935-kg chassis with a little footwork. Take off the traction control and you can even elicit a mild power slide on corner exit. It’s a driver’s car, but not a sports car. The electric steering feeds in more resistance as the corner speeds and g-forces rise, which is good, but its execution still feels overwrought to me. Your results may vary.
There is a little more suspension and wind noise in the A7 then other large sedans, and that’s because of the cavernous opening behind the rear seats. A hatchback is not as well-braced as a conventional sedan, and there’s plenty of surface area to reflect and transmit road noise through the cabin. We’re not talking compact econobox decibel levels, not at all, but there is a tad more noise inside the A7 than an A8. The BMW 428i Gran Coupe had the same issue versus a conventional BMW sedan. To put this into perspective though, I only noticed it when I told a passenger how much I enjoy the quietness of luxury cars. For the next five minutes my ears were hypersensitive to any noise that might disprove my theory, and that’s how I began to notice it.
2015 Audi A7 TDI Technik, dashboard. Click image to enlarge
The fastback style has advantages to counter that minor issue anyway. Not only do they look sensational – seriously, the fastback style is so good some people buy German SUVs with it applied – but also it makes loading and unloading an absolute dream. The large hatch opens up an almost truck-like tray ideal for putting lots of smaller items in an organized way, or even larger flatter items. If I was a TV salesman, this would be my flat-screen delivery vehicle.
The interior is equally as stylish as the exterior, though this edition missed the Black Optics upgrade. That appearance package includes black, porous wood interlaid with aluminum pin striping. At $2,200 it’s not cheap, but it transforms the interior into a modern masterpiece. We had it in a 2013 Audi A7 tester but not in this one. The difference is striking. Still, you do get the amazing head-up display, and our tester had the $2,500 Night Vision, the coolest thing ever put in the dashboard of a car. It successfully identified pedestrians from hundreds of metres away, saving me skittling two lovers as they darted quickly across the road in the midnight rain. How do I know they were lovers? Their heat signature registered one person at first.
2015 Audi A7 TDI Technik headlight, steering wheel, infrared pedestrian view, shifter. Click image to enlarge