The 2013 Audi A7 is a luxurious four-passenger sedan that looks like a coupe and offers the functionality of a wagon, thanks to its fastback rear hatch. First introduced for 2012, the Audi A7 is based on the same platform as the Audi A6 and has nearly the same footprint, save for the A7's distinctive sloping roofline.
New for 2013 is the line-topping S7, which features a unique front grille and exterior trim, along with unique 19-inch wheels. Inside, the S7 has beautiful diamond-stitched leather interior. The 2013 Audi S7 is powered the same engine found in the Audi S6, a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 that cranks out 420 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. Quattro all-wheel drive comes standard. Audi claims the S7 has a 0-60 mph time of just 4.5 seconds. Also like the S6, the S7 uses cylinder-deactivation technology to improve fuel economy. But performance doesn't come cheap, as the S7 starts at more than $18,000 more than the base A7.
Audi A7 models are powered by a supercharged 3.0-liter V6, good for 310 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. The only transmission offered is an 8-speed automatic. Quattro all-wheel drive is standard. EPA fuel economy ratings for the 2013 Audi A7 are a respectable 18/28 mpg City/Highway.
Audi isn't the first to make a luxury sedan that nestles into the emerging space between sporty and spacious. Others include the BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe, Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class, Jaguar XF, and Porsche Panamera. Most of these are about the same size, with the exception of the Mercedes, which is a couple of inches smaller. Acura dipped its toe in the water with its coupe-like ZDX, but the company announced the ZDX would be discontinued after the 2013 model year.
The silhouette of the Audi A7 is sleek. It's more like the Jaguar XF than any of the other four-door coupes. From the rear, the stretching roofline and glass of the A7 give it a retro look, like some of the fastback sports cars of the 1950s.
The A7 interior is lovely, the dashboard wrapping around the driver and into the front doors, the beautiful instrument panel perfectly framed by the three-spoke sport steering wheel. Legroom is acceptable in the rear seats. The 60/40 rear seatback flips down to a flat floor, and opens up the rear for cargo carrying that rivals a station wagon, accessible under the fifth door, the liftback.
We love the Google Earth navigation screen in the A7, which makes a fantastic map to follow, on a big pop-up screen. As for the navigation system itself, the good news is it will allow you to set a destination while the car is moving, but we found its accuracy lacking.
In the drivetrain department, the V6 is fast and silky, and the 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission is seamless. Audi Drive Select allows the driver to choose one of four modes: Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and Individual. These modes adjust the transmission, power steering and engine to modify shift points, steering boost and throttle characteristics.
We found the A7 ride was smooth and comfortable at all times, even with 20-inch wheels and a sport suspension. The more we challenged the A7 in corners, the better it felt. However, we found the 20-inch tires sensitive to road surfaces, the car tending to move around at 70 mph. This may have been due to the optional low-profile 20-inch tires or the new electromechanical power steering system. The A7 Premium model may be more stable in this regard with its 18-inch wheels and tires.
The 2013 Audi A7 comes in three trim levels: Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige. All A7 models are powered by a 310-hp 3.0-liter supercharged V6 mated to an 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission and using Audi's quattro all-wheel drive. EPA fuel economy ratings for th3 2013 Audi A7 are 18/28 mpg city/highway.
The high-performance 2013 Audi S7 comes in a single trim level and is powered by a 420-hp twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8. An eight-speed dual clutch transmission and all-wheel-drive are standard.
A7 Premium ($60,100) includes leather upholstery, three-zone automatic climate control, heated eight-way power seats with four-way lumbar adjustment, driver memory functions, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, cruise control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a power sunroof, the Audi MMI infotainment interface, Bluetooth and a Bose audio system with a CD player, satellite radio capability and an iPod cable. Exterior features include automatic bi-xenon headlights, LED running lights, a power liftgate, automatic wipers, heated windshield washers, heated mirrors and 18-inch wheels.
A7 Premium Plus ($63,800) adds keyless ignition/entry, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, auto-dimming outside mirrors, navigation with voice activation and an upgraded version of Audi's MMI system, HD radio and 19-inch wheels.
A7 Prestige ($66,150) upgrades to four-zone automatic climate control, ventilated front seats, a power-adjustable steering wheel, an upgraded 14-speaker Bose audio system, adaptive headlights and special S line exterior trim.
Options include a Cold Weather package with heated steering wheel and rear seats ($450), sport suspension and three-spoke steering wheel with 19-inch wheels (price varies by trim level), full LED headlamps ($1400) and an upgraded 1300-watt Bang & Olufsen sound system with 15 speakers ($5,900). One notable option is a rear bench ($350) that replaces the two bucket seats in back, which enables the A7 to seat five.
Safety options include rear thorax side airbags ($350), a package that bundles power folding mirrors, side blind zone monitoring and a pre-collision safety system ($500), as well as a Driver Assistance Package ($2,500), which includes the power-folding mirrors, side monitoring system and pre-collision system, plus full-range adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability.
Audi S7 ($78,800) comes fully loaded with diamond-stitched leather upholstery, four-zone automatic climate control, 12-way power heated front sport seats with driver memory settings, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, keyless ignition/entry, park assist with rearview camera, garage door opener, power sunroof, Audi Drive Select with adaptive air suspension, real ash wood accents, navigation, Bluetooth, a Bose audio system with CD/DVD player, HD radio and iPod cable, and the Audi Connect interface, which allows users to turn the car into a WiFi hotspot (includes six-month subscription). Exterior features include heated auto-dimming sideview mirrors, adaptive xenon headlights, power hatchback and 19-inch wheels.