- Beautifully crafted interiors
- Advanced infotainment technology
- Just about everything about the RS 7
- No longer having a diesel option; it was quite good.
- Tight backseat thanks to low roofline
Audi A7 Expert Review
New for 2017
The Audi A7 lineup retains the sporty S7 and high-power RS 7 for 2017, but adds a new, even more potent RS 7 Performance trim with 605 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque. All A7s now get a Bose audio system and 19-inch five-spoke V-design wheels standard. The A7 3.0T Competition is also new this year, bridging the gap between the A7 and S7 models. S7 Models get a new Premium Plus trim level, and now have an optional Black Optic package for a more aggressive look.
The A7 is Audi's big luxurious sporty hatchback. Almost identical to the A6 sedan, save for the fastback roofline, the A7 slots just below the A8 in the lineup and functions as a halo vehicle of sorts.
With the 2017 Audi A7 focusing more on performance and luxury than the equivalent A6, the A7's engine lineup is much less diverse, and generally much more powerful. Currently there are two different engine options on the A7 lineup in varying states of tune. Each engine is backed up with a standard eight-speed automatic transmission and standard all-wheel drive.
The A7's base engine is a 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 that makes 333 hp in standard form, or 340 hp with the new-for-2017 A7 Competition Package. Torque stays at 325 lb-ft regardless of the horsepower output. The V-6-powered A7 is EPA-rated at 21/29/24 mpg city/highway/combined.
The S7's engine is more powerful still; it's a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 that produces 450 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. The RS 7 shares that 4.0-liter V-8 with the S7, but gets 560 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque in standard trim, or a whopping 605 hp and 553 lb-ft in top-of-the-line RS 7 Performance trim. Fuel economy isn't the point of the high-performance variants of the A7, but the EPA rates them nonetheless. The S7 nets an EPA-rated 17/27/21 mpg, while the RS 7 achieves 15/25/18 mpg.
Aside from the variety of power outputs, the entire A7 line is notable for its sleek, edgy sheetmetal, gorgeously crafted interior, and technology, including Google Maps.
Given its rather niche status, the Audi A7 has never been crash tested by either the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
That being said, the related Audi A6 has been tested by both agencies. With little major structural differences between the A6 and A7, we expect the A7 lineup to closely mirror the A6's crash scores.
On NHTSA tests, the A6 scores a five-star overall rating, the highest score possible. On the more comprehensive IIHS test, the A6 is considered a Top Safety Pick+ when it is equipped with the optional Driver Assistance Package. This package is also optional on the entire 2017 A7 lineup. When equipped with this package, the A6's autobrake system reduced the vehicle's speed from 12 mph to 2 mph in low-speed impact testing, and reduced the car's speed from 25 mph to 24 mph in high-speed autobrake testing.
What We Think
It's been some time since we put the Audi A7 in a comparison test, but we've generally been big fans of the big sleek Audi. In our First Drive of the base 2016 A7 3.0T, we liked the A7's light, but accurate steering feel and its acceleration performance. When compared to the A6 which we also had on hand, we noted, "One misconception when comparing the A6 with the sexier A7 is that the former is not as practical as the latter. Not true. Both cars seat five, and the A7 loses just about an inch of rear headroom from the A6. And thanks to the open cargo area, the liftback A7 boasts a fairly spacious 24.5 cubic feet of luggage space, compared with 14.1 cubic feet for the A6."
The S7 impressed us even more. With its powerful V-8, it rocketed to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds, a time that embarrasses muscle cars like the Ford Mustang GT and Chevrolet Camaro SS. "As befitting its sport sedan intentions, the ride is firm and can be choppy at times, but it's generally smooth enough for the segment. The acceleration, even without putting the computers in any Sport or Dynamic mode, is stunning. All of the available power seems to be on hand as low as 2000 rpm, and it just flings you down the road. Matched with Audi's impressive Quattro all-wheel drive, the S7 hurtles out of a corner as you step deep into the throttle pedal."
The next-generation Audi A7, which will likely debut in Europe in time for the 2018 model year, may come with a performance hybrid variant.