It’s early yet, but the new 2012 Audi A7 is on my short list for “Car of the Year.” This automobile is really special.
From a purely technical standpoint, the A7 is a marvel of automotive engineering. It’s manufactured with aluminum, high-end steel and other lightweight materials using a hybrid aluminum construction that melds the lightweight metal with steel of various strengths. The A7 weighs about 15 percent less than a comparable all-steel body.
The A7 sits on a sporty, lightweight chassis and is powered by a highly efficient supercharged 310 hp V-6 (18/28 mpg) that is incredibly responsive and fast. It also comes standard with the latest generation of Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive and the latest advanced driver assistance and multimedia systems. The A7 clocks 0-60 mph in 5.4 seconds and has an electronically limited top speed of 130 mph. All A7 models come with a state-of-the-art, eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission.
As for design, the A7 is a piece of automotive art on wheels. The five-door design combines the appeal of a coupe with the prestige of a sedan and the functionality of a station wagon. It is the next step in the Audi design scheme, with short overhangs, a long wheelbase, an expansive hood and low-slung, sporty proportions.
With a low roofline and integrated rear doors, the A7 has a coupe-like silhouette, with frameless door windows and side mirrors mounted on the doors. The C-pillar stretches to the rear and flows into the shoulder, while the sharp tornado line begins at the headlights, extends across the fenders, over the doors and ends in a slope toward the taillights.
An integrated spoiler automatically extends at 80 mph and then retracts at 50 mph. It also can be deployed and retracted manually via the push of a button. The two large, round tailpipes of the dual-branch exhaust system are incorporated seamlessly into the bumper and benefit from an attractive chrome application.
The A7 comes standard with Audi’s xenon plus technology, complete with new all-weather lighting integrated into the headlamp housings, including two radar sensors in the air intakes for optional adaptive cruise control. The signature LED daytime running lights are standard.
Optional full LED lighting blends visibility and style with low energy consumption and an extended service life. In addition to the 18 LEDs used for the daytime running lamps and 11 LEDs employed for the turn signals, two powerful LED units comprise the low- and high-beam headlamps on each side. Taillights are fitted with LED bulbs, too.
Base price on our 2012 Audi A7 test car was $59,250.
Ron Beasley is the automotive editor for Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277, ext. 261, or by addressing email correspondence to LetsTalkCars@aol.com.