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If one were to describe an ideal powertrain for a car like this, it might be the A7's 3.0-liter supercharged V6, making 310 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque, and getting an EPA-estimated 18/28 mpg City/Highway miles per gallon.
It's fast and silky. Now attach the seamless 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission with paddle shifters, that you can either play with or forget about. Combine them with the superb Audi quattro all-wheel drive system for all-season traction, and you can't be beat. However, premium fuel is required for the high-compression engine with spark ignition and direct injection.
Acceleration from 0 to 60 is 5.4 seconds, quick as you'd ever need to slip safely onto the freeway. You can't even feel the transmission shifting on the climb up to 60 and beyond, and it will maintain 80 mph uphill without kicking down. The Mercedes CLS offers a big V8 with big horsepower, but that means significantly more money and less fuel mileage.
Then there's Audi Drive Select, a program that allows the driver to choose one of four modes: Comfort, Auto, Dynamic, Individual. These modes adjust the transmission, power steering and engine to modify shift points, steering boost and throttle characteristics. With so many options, you can find what makes you happy.
The brakes are powerful with an easy feel requiring no concentration. They'll never be an issue, with gigantic 14-inch front and 13-inch rear rotors.
Our A7 Prestige was equipped with a sport package that included 20-inch wheels, a firmer suspension and low profile, 265/35 summer tires. With this setup, the ride was smooth and comfortable at all times, but lane changing on the freeway kept us on our toes. Since our Prestige had the big wheels and tweaked suspension, we wonder how a simple Premium would move on the freeway. Maybe with less efficiency and directness, which might be a good thing.
The Servotronic speed-sensitive electromechanical power steering system that Audi calls highly efficient. Mechanically, it's most likely true; but when they use adjectives like that, as with the Multi Media Interface, we get leery. It has a quick 15.9:1 ratio, that Audi calls sporty and direct.