For 2018, the Audi A7 features a direct-injected, supercharged V6 that makes 340 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque; Power is put to the ground through an 8-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic manual controls, for those who'd rather shift gears themselves. It responds well, giving decisive downshifts in fast driving, or smooth upshifts in gentle driving. Fuel economy ratings for the A7 3.0T are estimated at 21 mpg city, 29 highway,
Both A7 models include the latest, performance-oriented version of Audi's quattro all-wheel-drive system, which during normal driving sends about 60 percent of engine torque to the rear wheels but can send more to whichever wheels can best use the traction. The system even maintains stable handling by employing the stability control system and judiciously applying the brakes to one or more wheels. A 5-link front suspension and trapezoidal-link rear suspension that rides firmly but is just compliant enough for comfort on choppy urban streets.
Audi drive select comes standard, and includes four driving modes: comfort, auto, dynamic and individual. Each setting modifies the feel of the steering, transmission shift points and the way the throttle responds, all to meet certain driving styles.
The beautiful cabin is one of the most stylish on the market. Occupants get firm, supportive seats and a 3-position rear seat that's suitable for even taller adults, thanks to a carved out area of the headliner allowing just a couple inches of extra head space. The rear hatch also allows more space than a trunk would -- 24.5 cubic feet -- even with the rear seats up in place. Those back seats do fold down when needed, and there's a large trunk pass-through for skis and other longer items.
Inside, the A7 is a luxury car in every detail. Two different leather upholsteries are offered, as are several interior accent trims, including ash wood, dark brown walnut and brushed aluminum trims.
Navigation is powered by 3D Google Earth, which allows drivers to see topography and terrain in addition to the tops of trees and rooftops of buildings. The system also features Google Voice Local Search that will listen to keywords and return potential local destinations. Audi Connect allows the A7 to become a wireless hot spot, which is capable of connecting up to eight WiFi-enabled devices to the Internet.
Wrapping it all together is Audi's touch-screen-based MMI (Multi-Media Interface), which includes a rotary button/knob as well as hot buttons for some commonly accessed functions. There's also one Audi exclusive: a scratch pad (called MMI touch) that allows the user to draw out letters to quickly enter navigation destinations or other inputs.
Among the top options offered on the A7 are a 14-speaker Bose sound system or, for audiophiles who want the best, a Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound system with 15 speakers and 1,300 watts of amplifier power.
A high-performance version -- the S7 -- includes the same level of luxury and refinement present in the A7 but with a 4.0L twin-turbo V8 producing 450 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. It comes connected to a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Adaptive air suspension, 19-inch wheels, and a 630-watt Bose surround stereo are all included as well, and the S7 offers seating for four.
Rounding out the family is the RS7. It goes several steps further than the S7 by offering 560 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque from the 4.0L V8, with 0 to 60 mph coming in just 3.7 seconds on the way to a top speed of 174 mph. The RS7 utilizes an 8-speed Tiptronic transmission and is equipped with specially tuned adaptive air suspension and dynamic electromechanical power steering. The over-the-top ultimate performance RS7 Performance trim offers the same 4.0L twin-turbo V8 as the S7, but tuned to make an incredible 605 hp and 553 pound-feet of torque. Audi claims the RS7 Performance's top speed is a supercar-worthy 190 mph.
The first-generation Audi A7 is an incredibly tough act to follow. With its svelte style, wealth of luxury and great on-road manners, the original A7 was hugely impressive.
This 2019 A7, then, has a lot riding on its shoulders. Audi put a lot of work into making its new rakish hatchback not just a better A7, but one of the best luxury cars available today, full stop. Has Audi succeeded? Oh my, yes.
There's no denying the fact that the first-generation Audi A7 is an absolutely beautiful car; I particularly like the face-lifted 2016-2018 models. With its long, low stance and rakish roofline, the older A7 strikes an elegant pose that I even prefer to many newer models.
The Good The 2019 Audi A7 combines great style with sophisticated luxury and best-in-class infotainment technology.
The Bad It's not quite as pretty as its predecessor, and the dual-clutch transmission lacks urgency.
The Bottom Line One of the most well-rounded luxury vehicles you can buy today, the Audi A7 hatchback is as compelling as ever.
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