The 2019 Audi A7 (starting at $68,000) delivers everything you'd expect from a German luxury car. It has a striking design, powerful engine, handles better than average around tight corners, exudes luxury inside and out and it's also very cozy. Throw in the latest tech from Audi and the A7 is punching above its weight compared to more expensive vehicles.
As I've noted before, its engine and handling are nearly identical to the A6 (which is $9,000 cheaper). You're paying a premium within the Audi family for all the extra niceties of increased comfort, more storage space and just overall luxury. But, if you want to impress your friends and your backside while basking in a swanky interior, it's money well spent.
Audi made sure to impress potential buyers not only with a swanky interior but also the MMI infotainment system. The automaker took an in-dash UI and made it easier to navigate with larger icons and fewer submenus. It also added haptic feedback to the touchscreen. When you tap on a selection, you get physical feedback. I found that I was tapping harder than anticipated initially, but knowing (via a vibration) that I've actually selected an option is satisfying.
MMI also extends beyond a single screen. A lower touchscreen is for climate control, favorites and input. With it, if you're looking for, let's say an address, you can draw out the numbers and letters with your finger. It's far easier than tapping on an on-screen keyboard. I found it to be accurate about 90% of the time and resting my wrist on the shift knob while using the bottom display, meant it wasn't difficult to use. The system also brings up something that other German luxury automakers have already put in their vehicles: a voice-activated assistant.
There's no "Hey, Audi" type wake word for MMI. Instead, you click on a steering wheel-mounted button. To be honest, it's not that big of a deal. But in a world where we've become accustomed to smart speakers and phones that are at our beck and call, it seems like an oversight.
The dash cluster, on the other hand, doesn't seem to be missing anything. Audi's "virtual cockpit" is probably the best in the business. It's a wealth of information for the driver in a package that can be navigated easily with just a few buttons. It's so intuitive that I thought I wasn't using it correctly. But nope, it's the simplest to use dash cluster on the market.
What's less simple is using the vehicle's adaptive cruise control. Audi uses a stalk that protrudes from the lower left-hand corner of the steering column. It's hard to see and I always find it difficult to use. Maybe after a few weeks with the car you get used to it, but I'm not a fan of its placement. Fortunately, once you get it activated, the automaker's lane keep assist seems to be more polished than the last time I used it. It might be the roads I'm on or small tweaks to the system but whatever the reason, it does a solid job centering the car in a lane in all but the sharpest of highway curves.
The adaptive cruise control can handle long stretches and tight gridlock with ease. Merges were tackled with grace and even though you have to use that weird stalk to adjust the follow distance, I had zero issues with the system.
When you're not letting the car help you drive, the A7 is a quick and stylish cruiser. It's powered by a 3.0-liter turbocharged V-6 with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system. That engine pushes out 335 horsepower and 369 foot-pounds of torque -- expect a zero to 60 time of 5.2 seconds. Not incredibly fast, but enough to remind you that you're driving an Audi.
The suspension did an excellent job sucking up all the potholes, cracks and general road messiness. While the tires were taking a beating, the passengers enjoyed a calming drive through the country. Even when you put the A7 in Sport mode, it still errs on the side of comfort. Maybe a bit too much. Still, I was able to toss its big frame around mountain roads with relative ease. The issue is that when you're behind the wheel of this car, you really don't feel like pushing it to the limit. It doesn't exude the aggressiveness of a BMW sedan, it's more refined than that.
The interior meanwhile is well appointed without going overkill. It can seat four adults comfortably and under that hatchback is an impressive amount of space (24.9 cubic feet) -- enough for four large suitcases. Audi set out to remake the A7 inside and out and the result is an impressive vehicle that's luxurious, techy and fun to drive as long as you're not trying to win a rally stage.