For a car that could have been treated as a mere styling exercise, the 2014 Audi A7 is a remarkably well-integrated package. Based on the understated A6 sedan, the A7 is blessed with a gorgeous fastback roofline, but it's much more than just a pretty face.
Unlike the A6, which starts out with a demure 4-cylinder engine, the A7 comes stocked with Audi's stellar supercharged 3-liter V6. Plus, there's a new turbodiesel V6 for 2014 that delivers an incredible 38 miles per gallon highway, not to mention great acceleration. Moreover, the A7 can carry four adults and their luggage, which is highly unusual for a car with this kind of curb appeal.
The A7 still isn't the best choice from a practicality standpoint, as that rakish roofline limits rear headroom and leaves a relatively shallow cargo area beneath. But it's handy enough that folks considering luxury coupes or sedans could be swayed. Throw in the A7's gratifyingly Germanic road manners and you're looking at one of the most all-around appealing cars on the market.
Interested in the 2014 Audi A7? Here's what you need to know. ...
What's New for 2014?
The A7 TDI turbodiesel makes waves this year with its 38-mpg hwy fuel economy and grin-inducing 428 lb-ft of torque. Also, all A7 models have a middle rear seat for 2014, last year's base Premium trim has been discontinued, and Audi Connect with Wi-Fi is newly standard.
What We Like
Gorgeous looks; capable handling; optional diesel engine's amazing performance and fuel economy; finely crafted interior; pleasantly practical hatchback trunk
What We Don't
Limited rear headroom relative to A6 sedan
The Audi A7 comes standard with an 8-speed automatic transmission and Quattro all-wheel drive with a 40/60 front/rear torque split. The 3.0T models are powered by a supercharged 3-liter V6 rated at 310 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque, while the TDI models have a 3-liter turbodiesel V6 that generates 240 hp and 428 lb-ft of torque.
The Environmental Protection Agency rates the A7 3.0T at 18 mpg city/28 mpg hwy, which is pretty good for a 4,200-lb luxury car with this kind of power. But the real star here is the A7 TDI, which checks in at a just-plain-silly 24 mpg city/38 mpg hwy.
Standard Features & Options
The 2014 Audi A7 is offered in the Premium Plus or Prestige trim with either a supercharged gasoline engine (3.0T) or a turbocharged diesel engine (TDI).
The base 3.0T Premium Plus ($65,395) comes standard with 19-inch alloy wheels, automatic bi-xenon headlamps with LED running lights, LED taillights, auto stop/start, a sunroof, a power hatchback, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, keyless entry with push-button start, the Drive Select system (which gives the driver electronic adjustments for steering, transmission and throttle calibrations), leather upholstery, tri-zone automatic climate control (including separate rear controls), heated power front seats with adjustable lumbar and driver memory functions, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, Bluetooth and iPod integration and a 10-speaker audio system. The infotainment system is Audi's MMI Plus and includes a navigation system with Google Earth compatibility and voice recognition software, Audi Connect with online services and the MMI Touch handwriting recognition pad.
The TDI Premium Plus ($67,795) adds the turbodiesel engine.
The 3.0T Prestige ($68,295) tacks on Audi's S-line exterior treatment, adaptive xenon headlamps, blind spot monitoring, a collision mitigation system, LED cabin lighting, cooled front seats, a power tilt-telescopic steering wheel, quad-zone automatic climate control (including two sets of controls for rear passengers) and a Bose audio system.
The TDI Premium Plus ($70,695) adds -- you guessed it -- the turbodiesel engine.
A7 options include a Sport Package (19- or 20-in wheels, sport-tuned suspension, sporty steering wheel and shift paddles); a Cold Weather Package (heated steering wheel and rear seats); a Black Optic package (requires the Sport Package and adds glossy black trim and special 20-in wheels); a Driver Assistance Package (adaptive cruise control, upgraded collision mitigation system, corner-view camera system, lane-departure warning system); and an Innovation Package (with Prestige only; consists of Driver Assistance Package plus infrared night-vision assist and a head-up display).
The A7 comes with standard stability control and 4-wheel anti-lock ventilated disc brakes. Eight airbags are standard (front, front side, front knee, full-length side curtain), with rear side airbags optional.
Numerous safety technologies are offered in the A7, including active lane assist (provides automatic steering correction if the car wanders from its lane without an active turn signal), corner view (notifies the driver of oncoming vehicles and other obstacles that are hidden from view while turning) and two different collision mitigation systems.
Behind the Wheel
Very few automotive interiors are nicer than the A7 model's. We'll concede that Rolls-Royce and Bentley have the A7 beat, but after that, we're not sure. The materials used are absolutely topnotch, and practically every button, lever and knob oozes class. There are also some thoughtful touches here and there that set the A7 apart from its already classy A6 platform-mate inside, including a larger MMI display screen (8 inches versus 6.5) and a more elaborate driver information display.
Under the hood, the 3.0T gas engine is a gratifying choice, delivering smooth, strong acceleration from pretty much idle to redline. But now that the TDI turbodiesel is in town, we've got a new favorite. Audi quotes about the same 0-to-60 miles per hour sprint for both engines -- 5.5 seconds -- but the TDI's superior torque makes it more fun around town. Throw in its remarkable 38-mpg hwy fuel economy and you've got one of the best combinations of power and efficiency we've ever experienced.
In corners, despite sharing most of its mechanical bits with the A6, the Audi A7 seems even more athletic and composed. The low-slung, cockpitlike driving environment only adds to the effect. The A6 is already a great driver's car, but the A7 takes it up a notch, at least in terms of feel. The ride can be a little flinty on rough pavement, though, even with the standard 18-in wheels. Although the optional 20-in wheels may be tempting, they're probably a bad idea where comfort is concerned.
Other Cars to Consider
BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe -- The sleek Gran Coupe offers two excellent turbocharged gas engines (an inline-6 and a V8), though it lacks the A7's diesel option.
Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class -- The CLS isn't a handy hatchback like the A7, but it has standard V8 power for considerably more muscle.
Porsche Panamera -- The Panamera is more expensive than the A7, but it's similar in concept and certainly worth the stretch if you like the styling.
Although the TDI diesel engine will run you an extra $2,400 as of this writing, it's so worth it. Thirty-eight mpg has never looked or felt so good.