2013 Audi A7 Road Test & Review: Introduction
Those of us with, shall we say, longer memories readily recall a time when Audi was little more than a minor player with a half-formed model lineup in the luxury segment. At each Audi press event we attended, Len Hunt, then-president of Audi USA would pull out the same PowerPoint slide and tout a continual move upmarket for the brand from Ingolstadt.
Well, some 13 years later, here we are. Audi has a full range of luxury cars, an exotic mid-engine sports car with a V10 powerplant, a 12-cylinder engine for its highly luxurious and technologically advanced flagship sedan, and diesel powered models as well. In fact, Audi has grown so much it is now starting to field model lines within model lines in an effort to fill every potential niche in the luxury marketplace.
Which, of course brings us to subject of this road test and review—the 2013 Audi A7.
Essentially a “chopped and channeled” (ask one of your parents if you don’t know what that means) version of the Audi A6, the A7 infuses the Audi lineup with yet another heaping helping of style and sex appeal. Further, given its role as the sportier version of the A6, the A7 frees the A6 to move farther toward the luxury end of the spectrum, enabling it to concentrate on ride over handling, while the A7 caters to the more athletically oriented four door Audi intender.
2013 Audi A7 Road Test & Review: Models & Prices
For 2013, Audi offers the A7 in three trim levels: Premium, Premium plus, and Prestige.
Standard features for the $60,100 2013 Audi A7 Premium include:
- A set of 18-inch alloy wheels
- Adjustable drive settings
- Automatic bi-xenon headlights
- LED running lights
- A power actuated rear liftgate
- Automatic windshield wipers
- Heated windshield washers
- Heated exterior rearview mirrors
- A sunroof
- Cruise control
- Tri-zone automatic climate control
- An auto-dimming rearview mirror
- Heated eight-way power seats with four-way lumbar adjustment
- Driver memory functions
- Leather upholstery
- A tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel
- A basic version of the Audi Multimedia Interface system,
- Bluetooth telephony and audio streaming
- Bose sound system with a CD player, satellite radio and an iPod audio interface.
To all of the above, the $63,800 Premium plus package adds:
- A set of 19-inch alloy wheels
- Front and rear parking sensors
- A rearview camera
- Auto-dimming outside mirrors
- A Google Earth equipped navigation system
- An enhanced version of Audi’s Multimedia Interface
- Voice controlled actuation of navigation, telephone, audio, and climate systems
- Keyless ignition/entry
- A color driver information display
- HD radio
To all of the above, opting for the $66,150 Prestige package adds:
- Adaptive headlights
- Audi S line exterior trim,
- Four-zone automatic climate control system
- Ventilated front seats
- Power-adjustable tilt and telescoping steering wheel
- Upgraded 14-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system
Naturally, optional packages are also available to further enhance the 2013 Audi A7.
The $2500 Driver Assistance Package adds:
- Power–folding, power–adjustable, auto–dimming, heated side mirrors with memory
- Audi pre sense plus
- Audi adaptive cruise control with stop & go
- Audi side assist
- Corner view camera system
The $500 Audi Side Assist package adds:
- Power–folding, power–adjustable, auto–dimming, heated side mirrors with memory
- Audi side assist
- Audi pre sense rear
The $450 Cold Weather package adds:
- Heated rear seats
There are a number of standalone options as well, for the full list visit Audiusa.com.
2013 Audi A7 Road Test & Review: Design
One of the most expressive examples of Audi’s four-door sedan design philosophy, the 2013 A7 is a slightly different take on the four-door coupe profile, started by the Mercedes-Benz CLS back in 2004. Audi’s version of the genre adds a hatchback, though you’d be hard pressed to see it just looking at the styling of the car.
Three basic lines dominate the A7’s design, the shoulder line running from the front to the rear of the car just below the windows gives it a dynamically flowing appearance. The dynamic line running from the grille just above the front wheel arch along the side of the car to the tail further enhances this illusion. The inclusion of this line gives the 2013 A7 the appearance of continual motion.
Those details, when combined with the sloping roofline and the blacked out center pillar gives the Audi a low-slung, sporty appearance. Even while cleaving to the established four-door coupe profile design language, the Audi A7 manages to look both fresh and distinctive within the established parameters of this style of automobile.
2013 Audi A7 Road Test & Review: Comfort & Cargo
ne of the chief advantages of that hatchback is the enhanced cargo capability it affords the sleekly styled Audi. It’s power actuated and height adjustable so the hatch can be used in a variety of circumstances. Plus, the rear seats fold to expand the cargo carrying capability of the Audi even more. Even before the rear seats are folded, the A7 boasts an impressive 24.7 cubic feet of cargo space.
The twin bucket seats in the rear of the passenger compartment do more than make a styling statement; they also fold individually—giving the Audi more flexibility in terms of its ability to accommodate both passengers and cargo. By the way, the cargo floor is perfectly flat, even with the rear seatbacks folded.
All four seats are designed with the utmost comfort in mind. Remember, in Germany these cars often supplant aircraft for long distance travel because of the unlimited speed autobahn network of highways. Thus, German cars tend to place considerable emphasis on firm seating to reduce fatigue over long distances. The Audi’s front seats are also adjustable 12 ways and feature both heat and ventilation to ensure comfortable travel.
2013 Audi A7 Road Test & Review: Features & Controls
It is a well-known fact—Audi’s interiors are the nicest of any mainstream luxury automobile. Their fit, their finish, the materials employed, and the way it all works together is simply unrivalled in the industry. The wraparound dash design employed in the 2013 Audi A7 is at once handsome and functional. All key elements are focused toward the driver. Further, everything is in reach without the driver having to lean forward. Everything needed to operate the vehicle is within easy reach.
One of the things we particularly like about the way Audis are laid out is the gathering of controls and switches around the transmission shift lever. This places the most often adjusted secondary controls where your hand naturally falls. One of those devices, the Audi MMI controller, is one of the easiest to use in the industry and features just the right amount of redundant controls so you can operate absolutely intuitively. The innovative MMI Touch system even responds to your handwriting, thanks to the pad located just behind the parking brake.
Another example of the brilliance represented here is the Audi A7’s capability of operating as a WiFi hotspot. And, while we’re on the subject of tech, the Google Earth integration into the Audi’s SatNav system gives it the most realistic view of streets and buildings ever seen in a production passenger automobile. Google Voice searches are also supported, as well as up to eight WiFi devices.
2013 Audi A7 Road Test & Review: Engine/Fuel Economy
The 2013 Audi A7 is fitted with a 310-horsepower supercharged 3.0-liter V6 engine capable of generating 325 ft-lbs of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission is employed to transfer power to all four of the A7’s wheels. Audi claims a zero to 60 time of 5.4 seconds for this powertrain. Top speed is limited to 130 miles per hour.
Start/stop technology is incorporated to help improve fuel economy. Essentially, whenever the car comes to a prolonged stop, the engine switches off automatically and remains so until the driver releases the brake. The system is driver controlled and can be disengaged at will.
When configured for duty in the 2013 Audi A7, the supercharged 3.0-liter V6 is rated at 18 miles per gallon in the city, 28 on the highway, and 21 miles per gallon combined.
2013 Audi A7 Road Test & Review: Driving Impressions
The tightness of the Audi A7’s composure suits it perfectly to high speed long distance cruising. The car is quiet, smooth and capable of absolutely devouring extremely long stretches of highway in one great big bite. This is a car hungry for the open road the way your average teenaged boy hungers for the contents of the family refrigerator.
Four passengers are seated within its confines in exceptional comfort, while enjoying a remarkably luxurious experience. That said, the A7 also does duty as a sport sedan quite well. It’s bit on the heavy side, but that weight can be managed to good effect in the corners.
Helping this along, Audi’s Drive Select system permits the tailoring of throttle response, transmission shift points and steering feel to accommodate a broad variety of situations.
Its four modes are Comfort, Auto, Dynamic, and Individual. The individual setting frees the driver to match individual shift characteristics, steering feel, and throttle response to their personal tastes. The other settings choose for the driver. The Auto setting responds to the way the car is being driven at the time. Push it hard, the system defaults to Dynamic, steady state cruising prompts the Drive Select system to employ Comfort settings, and so on.
Overall, the A7 strikes a nice balance between the athletic nature expected of a spendy European sport sedan and the quiet comfort expected of an expensive European luxury sedan. It’s not the absolute best of both worlds, but it tries hard to please—and is typically successful.
That said, if straight up handling is what you’re about, the 20-inch wheel option gives you sharper turn-in and better steering feel. However, if you’re more inclined toward comfort—with but occasional forays into the realm of high performance—the 18-inch wheel set will suit you just fine.
2013 Audi A7 Road Test & Review: Safety Equipment/Ratings
Standard safety kit for the 2013 Audi A7 includes:
• Driver and front passenger dual-stage airbags, knee airbags, thorax side airbags and head curtain airbags
• Front passenger occupant detection for airbags
• Power central locking system with safety unlock feature if airbags deploy
• ABS with Electronic brake-pressure distribution and brake assist
• Electronic stability control with traction control
• Tire pressure monitoring system
• Safety belt reminder for driver and front passenger
• Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren (LATCH) in the rear seats
2013 Audi A7 Road Test & Review: Final Thoughts
Striking a nice balance between style, luxury and performance, the 2013 Audi A7 is a remarkably versatile ride. Infused as it is with cutting edge technology, the A7 is also a thoroughly modern luxury/sports sedan.
That said, there are other considerations in the class.
The BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe, while not as tech-laden as the Audi is arguably more handsome in appearance, and a better performer too. Further, the Mercedes-Benz CLS, the one that started it all is still out there too, though the pontoon fendered styling treatment adopted by its second generation model does leave a bit to be desired on the aesthetics front. And then of course, there is the Porsche Panamera—capable of outperforming them all.
Which brings us full circle. Between the four cars above, in our opinion, the Audi does the best job of encompassing the majority of the qualities someone shopping in this category would consider. Plus, let’s not forget the positively cavernous cargo area the A7 brings with it.
Of course these decisions are heavily subjective. The choice, as “they” so often say, ultimately lies with you and depends upon the attributes you value the most.
2013 Audi A7 Road Test & Review: Pros & Cons
• Handsome exterior styling
• Exquisite interior treatment
• Powerful engine
• Exceptional array of technological features
• Good fuel economy
• Taller passengers may find rear headroom a bit lacking
• Tight ride may put strictly comfort oriented drivers off