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Audi A7, 2012: Return to the future with style and speed

Launched at the 2010 Paris Auto Show and then to the United States market in April at the New York Auto Show, the 2012 Audi A7 marks 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.

The Weekly Driver Test Drive

A friend says the 2012 Audi A7 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 calls the new sedan a Luxury Utility Vehicle or a Sporty Utility Vehicle. After a week with the A7, I think my friend is right.

With its spacious cargo space via its automatic tailgate and it four doors, the Audi A7 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 such a vast and easily accessible cargo area.

 

Audi A7, 2012: Return to the future with style and speed 1

As a sports car, the Audi A7 maneuvered with ease on country roads, with its eight-speed automatic transmission performing seamlessly on tight steep inclines. The Audi's all-wheel drive system (quattro) wonderfully gripped the road.

As a luxury sedan, rgw Audi A7 is a 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 featured more than $9,000 of options, including $6,300 for the Prestige Package — a navigation system, front and rear parking sensors, four-zone automatic climate control, a Bose surround sound music system and eight other features.

During night-time use, the interior ambient lighting is a superior feature, providing added safety and a pleasing driving atmosphere.

Likes:

Spacious trunk via easy access hatchback and likely has a three golf-bag capacity.

Retractable radio/navigation system. Stylishly fits flush on the 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.

Dislikes:

Tight cup holders.

Blind spot between driver's side front and back seat windows.

Hard-to-see, thin white line gas gauge line.

Super-sensitive rear and side

Facts & Figures: 2012 Audi A7

Acceleration: 0-60 mph,
Airbags (6): Drive and front passenger front, side and side curtain.
First aid kit: Yes (in trunk).
Fuel economy: 18 mpg (city), 28 mpg (highway)
Government Safety Ratings: Not tested.
Horsepower: 310
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $59,250.00
Manufacturer's Web site:
Price As tested: $68,330.00
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 4 years/50,000 miles; Power train, 4 years/50,000 miles; Corrosion, 12 years/unlimited miles; Roadside Assistance, 4 years/50,000 miles.

What Others Say:

"While the 2012 Audi A7 may not be as uncompromising sporty as a BMW 550i or carry the deeply chiseled exterior of a Mercedes-Benz CLS, it should appeal to a broad spectrum of luxury car buyers on the basis of its overall pleasing performance, tastefully attractive styling and broad array of cutting-edge amenities." —- Forbes.

"Simply put, this is a car that makes you feel good when you're driving it. The Audi A7 is a car that gets noticed. Of all the four-door luxury coupes (A7, Mercedes-Benz CLS, and Porsche Panamera), this car is, in my eyes, the best looking." —- Automobile Magazine.

"But what about the A7? Would I buy it? Pretending for a moment that I'm in the market for an $80,000 hatchback of a design statement, oh, yes – absolutely." —- Motor Trend.

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."

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