A flagship of style, the A7 speaks to a new breed of luxury buyer
By Colum Wood
There hasn’t been a shake up in the flagship luxury sedan segment in decades. But the times, they are a changin’.
Big German six-figure saloons may still sit at the head of the table when it comes to price, but increasingly they’re being challenged by equally luxurious and almost as large cars. And there’s no arguing that this new breed of vehicle is at the top of the heap when it comes to design.
A7 is just such a car. In fact, considering Audi’s targeted approach as a new-money luxury brand, it’s surprising that the A7 wasn’t the jumping off point for the segment. Instead, it was the CLS, a surprise considering Mercedes is perhaps the most traditional of luxury brands.
A FLAGSHIP FOR DESIGN
As is obvious from the A7, this new challenge to the old luxury stalwarts is a result of design. Head-on it’s nearly identical to the A8 with the imposing front grille and LED daytime running lights. Noticeably large, its dimensions are slightly smaller being 1.5-inches thinner and lower to the ground. Its profile is dramatically different, however, with a sloped coupe-styled roof, while its rear end mimics that of the A5. With standard 18-inch wheels, added road presence comes with optional 19s or 20s. There’s even a rear spoiler hidden into the back that pops up automatically at speeds of over 80 mph, and retracts back at 50 mph.
Six inches shorter in length overall, it feels massive on the road, though not in the way you might think. Yes, the volume of air it takes up is significant, but thanks to a light chassis shared with the A8, it feels quite nimble to drive.
Assisting in that feeling is the Audi Drive Select system, which allows a choice of drive modes. With comfort, auto and dynamic settings you can even customize your own, adjusting everything from the steering weight to throttle sensitivity and gearchange points.
Around town the A7’s steering does tend to pinch the car tight in corners, a rather unnatural feeling we’ve experienced on a few Audis. We have no complaints at higher speeds and the A7 shrinks around you.
PLENTY OF POWER
Helping to engage your fun side is a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 engine with 310 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque. In this modern era where 300 hp cars are practically common, those digits may not seem overly impressive but the results are with a 0-60 sprint of just 5.4 seconds, aided by standard quattro all-wheel drive. Genuine performance junkies can also opt for the S7, powered by a turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 with 420 hp and a sub 5.0 second 0-60 time.