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Review (2/2)

2012 A7: Combining Coupe, Sedan and Wagon Into One Car

Source: Audi | Published: Fri Jun 17, 2011

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Wraparound Interior

The sweeping exterior of the A7 extends inside, where the defining element is the "wraparound" design - which incorporates a horizontal line encircling the driver and front passenger that starts above the instrument panel and ends in the passenger-side door. The center console is oriented toward the driver to further enhance the driver focus of the interior.

Front seats are 10-way adjustable and available with four-way lumbar support, three-stage ventilation and three-stage heating, the latter of which is available for the rear seats as well. Rear seat passengers enjoy two comfortable, contoured seats with ample head, arm, and legroom.

Chrome bezels frame the air vents, while aluminum-look trim accents the optional layered wood veneers and bezels. Two optional interior lighting packages are available: one composed of active door reflectors, lighted handles, and LED reading lights (Premium and Premium Plus) and another ambient lighting package (Prestige) that utilizes LED lamps to highlight door pockets, sills, and center console - all of which can be configured to suit the owner's taste.

The Audi A7 is available with two types of leather - Milano or Valcona - which color-coordinate with the four-spoke steering wheel and transmission selector lever. Fine grain ash wood veneers are standard while dark brown walnut and brushed aluminum trims are optional. The seat coverings are available in black, titanium gray, nougat brown and velvet beige, while the headlining is available in black, lunar silver and silk beige.

The rear hatch is equipped with a height adjustable power-lift system that opens with the touch of a button, revealing a large luggage compartment capable of holding 24.5 cu ft. in its base configuration. Fold the 60:40 split rear seats forward and the A7 reveals an expansive cargo area with a flat floor that provides excellent functionality surrounded by stunning design.

Supercharged Power

The Audi philosophy of intelligent downsizing is embodied in the A7 with the fitment of its 3.0 TFSI V6. Located in the 90-degree V of the cylinder banks is a belt-driven supercharger that compresses intake air to a maximum of 0.8 bar, resulting in seamless power delivery befitting a true sports sedan. A maximum of 310 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque allows the Audi A7 to sprint from 0-60 mph in 5.4 seconds and on to a limited top speed of 130 mph.

Eight-Speed Automatic Transmission

Audi's eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission blends efficiency with performance to maximize acceleration and reduce fuel consumption. The Tiptronic system allows the driver to select manually one of eight forward ratios to suit driving needs, while Audi drive select allows the driver to select from four modes that adjust the automatic transmission, power steering and engine to modify shift points, steering boost and throttle characteristics. Four modes are comfort, auto, dynamic and individual.

Aluminum Body

Audi continues to pioneer the use of aluminum, high-end steel and lightweight materials on the A7. Boasting a hybrid aluminum construction that melds the lightweight metal with high-end steels of various strengths, the Audi A7 weighs roughly 15 percent less than a comparable allsteel body.

Along with a variety of engine compartment and chassis components, the front fenders, hood, rear hatch and doors are made of aluminum, meaning that more than 20 percent of the Audi A7 body is made of the weight-saving material. But light weight doesn't come at the expense of rigidity, comfort, or safety. As a result, the body provides a firm platform for precise handling, low vibration and excellent crash protection.

Vibration levels at the contact points between the passengers and the body - the floor panel, seats and steering wheel - were painstakingly minimized. The interior is largely decoupled from the road and engine noises, thanks to hydraulic damping elements on the axles, subframes and bearings. All these elements were tuned using the Audi comfort test bench, a development tool found nowhere else in the world.

The Audi A7 0.30 coefficient of drag aids fuel economy and reduces wind noise. Microfiber fleeces, acoustically wheel housing liners and underbody panels partner with a special film on the windshield and complex sealing on the doors and frameless windows to provide a serene environment for occupants.

MMI System

The latest version of Audi MMI Plus features an eight-inch display that rises from the dashboard when the ignition is switched on. It consolidates audio, navigation and telephone functions into one simple interface, featuring MMI touch that enables the driver to enter navigation or telephone information with the stroke of a finger using handwriting recognition technology. This intuitive system reduces driver distraction and has been rigorously tested for usability and reliability.

Audi Connect

Audi connect, an exciting industry first, is being introduced on the all-new A7. Audi connect brings a whole new level of real-time driver-relevant information into the vehicle such as Google Earth navigation with voice recognition (first-to-market), Google Local search and Wi-Fi connectivity (first-to-market as factory-installed option with integrated mobile broadband connectivity) for up to eight devices enabling passengers to surf the internet, download videos or check email.

Next Generation Quattro

The Audi A7 features the latest generation quattro permanent all-wheel drive system, featuring enhanced torque vectoring. Depending on grip, speed and axial forces, the system will alter the standard 40:60 front-to-rear torque split. quattro all-wheel-drive works together with an intelligent brake management system to quell under steer by lightly applying the brakes to the inside  rear wheel, thereby contributing to seamless, neutral cornering.

Chassis and Suspension

The front suspension of the Audi A7 is a five-link arrangement with hollow stabilizer bars, along with a die cast strut brace to increase frontal rigidity. The rear axle follows the track-controlled trapezoidal link principle, with two hollow trapezoidal links and two longitudinal and lateral tubes each. The electromechanical steering varies boost depending on vehicle speed, combining highly precise tracking with low sensitivity to disruptive road surfaces. The overall ratio is a sporty and direct 15.9:1.

An optional sport suspension lowers the body by 0.39 inches. Standard wheels are 18- inches in a 7-spoke design with several optional 19- and 20-inch wheels available.

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