I’ve never been a big fan of Audi. Instead, I’ve leaned toward offerings from Munich and Stuttgart. But this … it’s not just a car. It’s an amazing piece of engineering with something to offer anyone who drives it.
Those looking for efficiency, class, diesel torque, and an unrivaled balance between ride and handling all wrapped up in stylish sheetmetal without looking ostentatious may want to read the following.
What is the Audi A7?
Our tester was the Audi A7 3.0 TDI Quattro Technik. Yes, the name is a bit of a mouthful. Though, when explaining what you drive to friends and coworkers, you could easily just say, “An A7… The diesel one.”
The A7 was born as a four-door coupe niche filler, based on the Audi A6, with a goal of replacing the A6 Avant (read: wagon). The A7 is able to pull off the four-door coupe look while adding the functionality of a hatchback.
Considering the competition (BMW 5-Series GT, Porsche Panamera, Mercedes-Benz CLS), the Audi is easily one of the most handsome of the bunch, all while having the chops to back it up.
2014 Audi A7 Price and Specs
Available with a pair of 3.0L engines -- one gas and the other diesel -- the A7 gives you a choice of horsepower or torque when flipping through the order sheet. The 3.0L V6 TFSI gasoline engine produces 310 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque. If you want to burn something a little darker, the 3.0L TDI V6 diesel offers up 240 hp and 428 lb-ft of torque. Both engine options are mated to an 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission with available power going to all four-wheels via quattro all-wheel drive.
The A7 is offered in two distinct trim lines -- Progressiv and Technik -- with many à la carte options. The A7 3.0 TFSI Progressiv starts at $70,400 with the 3.0 TDI Technik model stretching up to $78,300 before additional extras. Our tester, equipped with the Bang & Olufsen audio system ($6,500), Vision Package ($4,000), Driver Assistant Package ($2,300), S-Line Sport Package ($2,200), Black Optics Package ($2,200), LED Headlights with High Beam Assist ($1,700), Ventilated Seats ($900), and Audi Active Lane Assist ($600), nudged its way just past $100,000 with the $1,995 destination charge.
Driving the 2014 Audi A7
BMW and Mercedes have always captivated me. The roundel and tri-star, with their iconic designs and illustrious motorsports histories, have always beckoned me to become part of the club. Audi, for the most part, hasn’t.
Then I drove this.
The 3.0L TDI V6 in the Audi A7 isn’t just smooth for a diesel; it’s smooth for a gasoline engine. While horsepower might be on the low side for an executive-style sedan, the 428 lb-ft of torque more than makes up for it as the A7 gently but firmly pushes you into the seatback.
That torque is delivered via one of the best 8-speed automatic transmissions on the market. Crisp, svelte shifts are the norm, even when the car is put in Dynamic mode for a bit of fun. It’s a much more refined unit than the ZF-developed 8-speed used by Chrysler and Land Rover.
Unspring weight is attached to the A7 via 5-link front and trapezoidal-link rear suspensions, with the front wheels directed by an electromechanical steering setup with speed-sensitive power assist. Even with large wheels and slivers of rubber for tires, the A7 soaked up bumps with ease, all while retaining a spirited verve in handling dynamics.
Surprisingly, for such a large car, it also returned spot-on fuel economy, clocking in at an average of 8.5L/100km in mostly city driving. I’d say that figure was mostly thanks to standard auto-start/stop functionality with the diesel.
Inside and Out of the 2014 Audi A7
The Audi A7 may not command the same kind of presence as other vehicles, nor would many people call it beautiful or pretty; it doesn’t have the lines of a Jaguar E-Type nor one of the other classically gorgeous cars always gracing top 10 lists.
However, you could easily call it handsomely crafted.
Sharp lines, large wheels, a slickly sloping roofline, and those typical Audi headlights make the A7 a knockout. Even with all its technical bits and luxury wonderment, the A7 somehow still looks simple and humble in a crowd of brash, shout-y, ego-machines with their over-styled surfaces.
Inside, it’s more of the same, though not nearly as simple. Audi’s Vision Package, which includes an infrared camera and night vision display, is integrated well with the instrument panel. As is the trackpad for writing letters with your finger, placed to the left of the automatic shifter. Even the aluminum grilles for the Bang & Olufsen auto system on the front door skins are a nice touch without going overboard. This mountain of technology, along with Audi’s MMI system with navigation, is packaged well, easy to use, and switchgear is pleasant to the touch. However, there is a lot of technology, no matter how you package it.
Our tester was trimmed with black and pinstriped Alu/beaufort accents, giving the interior the look of a well-tailored suit.
That’s what it felt like, too. The interior was comfortably snug, especially with the 16-way adjustable seats, with a perfect mixture of sport and comfort.
Those looking for a primary vehicle that’ll do it all (minus some severe off-roading), the A7 really is the perfect blend of efficiency, performance, style, and class in an inoffensive niche-defining wrapper.
Comparing the 2014 Audi A7
The Audi A7 attempts to compete for executive shuttle service runs with the BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe, Porsche Panamera, and Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class.