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2012 Audi A7 (photos)

Audi's new A7 model blurs the line between sedan and coupe, and boasts a hatchback, similar to the Porsche Panamera. Its boundary-pushing cabin tech features a new Google Earth-based navigation system with satellite imagery.

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Wayne Cunningham
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Audi's new A7 model uses both hatchback and sedan features. This model slots in between the A6 and A8 in Audi's lineup.

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The A7 sports new design features first seen on the A8, such as the more-prominent bars across the grille.

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Audi settled for a smaller engine in the A7, a 3-liter V-6. But direct injection and supercharging ensure that it has enough power to move the A7.

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Unlike the Porsche Panamera, which has a similar body style, the A7's look is less controversial.

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Quattro comes standard with the A7, but Audi does not offer its adaptive suspension technology.

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Although the A7 is a hatchback, rear deck panels hide the cargo area, making for a conventional-looking trunk.

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With the rear deck panels removed, the A7 offers typical hatchback room in back.

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The cabin of the A7 uses quality materials, in keeping with Audi's luxury mission.

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The steering feel also tends toward luxury, overly powered even in fast cornering.

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Buttons on the wheel's left spoke control the instrument cluster display.

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With Audi's voice command system you can not only dial by name, but even request music by artist or album name, although only for tracks stored on the car's hard drive.

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The display in the center of the instrument cluster shows all major vehicle infotainment functions.

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The A7 has an eight-speed automatic transmission with sport and manual modes.

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The center LCD hides away in the dashboard when the car powers down.

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Audi's MMI works very well, coupled with the new touch pad.

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Audi's new elliptical menu system is attractive and easy to navigate.

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Audi uses Google Earth maps in its navigation system, a first.

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When the car cannot get an Internet connection, the Google Earth maps revert to this greenish blur.

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Audi's standard maps are still available on the car's hard drive.

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The car offers quite a few data sources through its Internet connection, making it one of the most connected cars available.

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One of the most intriguing features is this listing of entries from Wikipedia based on the car's location.

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Traffic data is used by the navigation system to plan routes.

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The A7's phone system is as full-featured as ever.

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Audi offers every modern audio source except for Bluetooth audio streaming.

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The A7 offers HD Radio.

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The standard Bose audio system is good, but not up to the level of the optional Bang & Olufsen audio system.

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Audi's backup camera is excellent, showing trajectory and distance lines.

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A button on the A pillar activates the blind-spot detection system.

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Audi pioneered LED parking strips below the headlights.

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The A7 also uses LED turn signals.

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