Launched at the 2010 Paris Auto Show and then to the United States market in April 2011 at New York Auto Show, the 2012 Audi 7 marked the manufacturer’s return to the luxury hatchback segment.
The three-door Audi 100 (1970) and the five-door Avant (1977) were Audi’s previous upscale hatchbacks — and a lot has changed in 37 years.
A friend said the 2012 Audi 7 is at the forefront of a new car segment — or at least a new segment en vogue for the first time in 40 years. He called the new sedan a Luxury Utility Vehicle or a Sporty Utility Vehicle.
After a week with the A7, I think my friend makes an astute point.
With its spacious cargo space via its automatic tailgate and four doors, the Audi can accommodate many different user groups’ transportation needs.
I didn’t take the Audi 7 off road (not recommended), but not too many luxury sedans are sports cars, too. And nor do many (if any) luxury sedans have a such a vast and easily accessible cargo area.
As a sports car, the Audi maneuvered with ease on country roads, with its eight-speed automatic transmission performing seamlessly on tight steep inclines, with the Audi’s all-wheel drive system (quattro) wonderfully gripping the road.
As a luxury sedan, Audi 7 is classic cruiser. It growls on acceleration to highway speeds and then provides with a smooth, comfortable ride with a supercharged 3.0-liter supercharge V6.
Like other top-end sedans, the Audi A7 is classified as a five-passenger vehicle. But the one downside of the vast cargo area is that the rear seats aren’t particularly spacious and the vehicle comfortably seats only two adults in the rear seats.
My Audi A7 weekly driver included more than $9,000 of options, including $6,300 for the Prestige Package featuring a navigation system, front and rear parking sensors, four-zone automatic climate control, a Bose surround sound music system and eight other features.
Spacious trunk via easy access hatchback. Likely has three golf-bag capacity.
Retractable radio/navigation system. Stylishly fits flush on console.
Retractable side mirrors. Shouldn’t every car have this feature?
Steady, strong acceleration.
Exterior design. The sloping roofline commands a nice presence cruising down the open road.
Exterior color: Midnight Blue Metallic.
Tight cup holders.
Blind spot between driver’s side front and back seat windows.
Hard-to-see, thin white line gas gauge line.
Facts & Figures: 2012 Audi A7
Fuel economy: 18 mpg (city), 28 mpg (highway)
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $59,250.00
Price As tested: $68,330.00
The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:
The Audi A7 joins the Porsche Panamera in a new sub category — four-door luxury sports car sedan. Purists may balk, but in three words: Get over it. This is the real deal.