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Audi 2012 A7: All-Purpose Elegance Breaks New Ground

By Arv Voss, March 10th, 2012

The 2012 Audi A7 blends the emotional appeal of a coupe with the prestige of a luxury sedan, with the added functionality and versatility normally only found in a wagon.

Audi presents the A7 as a sleekly profiled four-door sedan. Well, make that a five-door sedan, as the rear is actually in the form of a hatch that is positioned atop a sporty, lightweight chassis. The A7's wheelbase measures 114.7 inches, and the overall length stretches to 195.6 inches. Add the 84.2-inch width and 55.9-inch height and Audi has come up with an elegant and spacious package.

The roofline is low with a gracefully arched greenhouse and integrated rear doors, projecting a coupe-like silhouette. The frameless door windows and side mirrors further enhance the coupe form. An integrated rear spoiler deploys at 80 mph and retracts at 50 mph. Dual chrome exhaust outlets blend into the rear fascia and hint at the car's performance capability.

Inside, the A7 displays a wraparound design that encircles the driver and front passenger, while the center console is canted toward the driver. Front seats feature 10-way adjustability, with available four-way lumbar support, three-stage ventilation and heating.

The rear hatch provides a height-adjustable lift system that opens and closes at the touch of a button. The cargo area is 24.5 cubic feet in its base form, but by folding the 60/40-split rear seatbacks flat, an even greater expanse is realized.

My test Audi A7 was finished in a rich Dakota Gray metallic exterior, complemented by a Velvet Beige interior. The base sticker read $59,250 while extras, such as the metallic paint, Prestige S-line exterior, 20-inch wheels with summer performance tires, Audi Side Assist and destination charge rang up a final price of $68,630.

The 3.0-liter, 24-valve supercharged, intercooled V-6 with variable valve timing and spark ignition direct injection develops 310 horsepower in a range from 5,500 to 6,500 rpm, while generating 325 lb.-ft. of torque in from 2,900 to 4,500 rpm. The engine mates to an eight-speed automatic with Tiptronic and Dynamic Shift Program, and is placed longitudinally up front, driving all four wheels through Audi's Quattro all-wheel drive system.

The transmission features Audi Drive select, which incorporates the automatic gearbox, power steering and engine to modify shift points, steering boost, and throttle characteristics via four modes: comfort, auto, dynamic and individual.

In terms of acceleration, the A7 rips as if it were powered by a V-8, with smooth gear changes from the silky eight-speed transmission, either up or down. Handling is crisp and sporty, and the ride is firm and not harsh at all. An optional sport suspension lowers the body of the A7 by 0.39-inches for the optimum in aerodynamic advantage.

The A7 is a technological marvel with Audi's industry first Audi Connect, which delivers real-time driver relevant information into the vehicle, such as the Google Earth navigation with voice recognition, Google Local Search and in vehicle WiFi connectivity for up to eight devices. A redundant display appears in the form of a 5-inch wide display positioned between the speedometer and tachometer.

Audi vehicles have long been underrated and overlooked in terms of being performance-oriented; trust me, that's no longer the case. If you're in the luxury market and have not tested an Audi, you owe it to yourself to give it a go. The 2012 A7, in particular, is a delight with its unique and attractive coupe-like look.

Specifications

Base price $59,250 (as tested: $68,630)
Curb weight 4,210 lbs.
Displacement 3.0-liter
Engine type 24-valve supercharged V-6 w/DI
Epa mileage rating 18 mpg city, 28 mpg highway
Fuel capacity 19.8 gal.
Horsepower (net) 310 at 5500-6500 rpm
Overall length 195.6 in.
Torque (lb.-ft.) 325 at 2900-4500 rpm
Transmission 8-speed automatic
Vehicle type 5-passenger AWD compact sedan
Wheelbase 114.7 in.
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