2012 Audi A7: Drive with Distinction

2012 Audi A7

It was a glorious seven days I recently spent with Audi’s four door sports car. We reported on the brilliance and grandeur of the 2012 A7 3.0 earlier in the year during a press drive in Italy, however there is something special about parading around in a foreign object in familiar territory. I entertained over five red light conversations from curious believers who wanted to know more about my Havanna Black Metallic coupe-like sedan from Ingolstadt. As I answered questioning before green struck I recalled my wife’s earlier comment, “there’s nothing like driving distinctively.” True indeed.

Think of the A7 as a novelty for Audi. From a business case, they really didn’t need to build this vehicle as they have an onslaught of impressive nameplates including the A8 and A6, which the A7 is positioned in between. But power in numbers has always been the chosen equation for domination. Mercedes-Benz is the only luxury brand on the planet that has a vehicle for every vehicle category including large SUVs, 4-door coupes and supercars. So I can see why Audi did build the A7, which most likely will be cross shopped with Mercedes’ CLS. Yet, 5-door/hatchback sports cars seem to be very popular with customers. Porsche is experiencing great success with its Panamera which is another trendy sports car the A7 will be compared with due to similar design direction. You can add the Aston Martin Rapide in this equation from a styling perspective, but a cramped cabin and high price will leave you wondering why such a customer would not simply opt for the $59,250 A7. My vehicle was delivered with additional amenities that brought the total price to $66,220. The Havanna Black Metallic paint job retails for $475; Audi Side Assist adds $500, while the $3,620 Premium Plus package enhances the A7 with Audi Navigation Plus with MMI touch, 19” wheels, Audi Connect and parking sensors with backup camera. My A7 was also equipped with the Sport Package with beautiful 20” wheels, a sport suspension and 3-spoke multifunction steering wheel with shift paddles that came in handy during my weekend runs.

During Automotive Rhythms’ time with the A7, it remained sedentary during the week due to travel and work overload. I wanted to complete as many tasks as possible so my busy weekend would free up. Not only was the Audi sponsored 86th Annual Virginia Gold Cup happening that Saturday, it was also Mother’s Day Weekend and the Paquiao vs Mosley fight, in which I was also hosting a fight party at the house. I had no worries whatsoever because every conceivable possibility was thought off when I decided that the A7 was the vehicle for the job.

The grandparents were watching the kids for the weekend so we packed their suitcases and gear in the rear. With car seats in place the two girls had a lot of rear legroom. This could have been a problem since both the 7-year old and 4-year old are very vocal if their comfort zone is negatively impacted. As usual the day was started late so my wife and I only had 30 minutes after dropping off the kids to get to Virginia before Audi’s race began. And we were 35 miles out in heavy Beltway traffic. We inputted the address in the Google Earth navigation system which displays from an 8” LCD screen that emerges from the dash when the ignition is engaged. Using superior visual computing, guidance is considerably enhanced by displaying satellite imagery along with 3D images of buildings and places of interest. I knew I didn’t have a V8 so quite naturally I began to worry. It didn’t matter. The 310 horsepower 3-liter supercharged V6 and its corresponding Tiptronic 8-speed automatic transmission with Dynamic Shift Program (DSP) gave me all the power and agility I needed. The A7 does feel and sound like a V6, which I suspect will turn off a few potential customers, but it drives like a V8. Potential candidates will also love its 18 city mpg and 28 hwy mpg! I paddled shifted the entire way while focusing on that race. Even at high speeds the vehicle lets you downshift in the most optimal gear for needed acceleration. Rain was intermittent and inconsequential as quattro permanent all-wheel drive with its rear bias easily outwitted the wet roads. We made it in time and enjoyed people watching at the steeplechase races. A collection of displayed Audi vehicles diverted many onlookers’ intended paths as cameras captured a cadre of eclectic individuals and their curious attire. It was a day to remember.

2012 Audi A7After the Gold Cup we headed back home to shop for the evening’s event. This time we cruised and paid more attention to the interior. Audi is consistent with their exemplary cockpits. Our black atmosphere was offset with gorgeous lacquer-less wood finishes. I told my wife about Audi Connect which creates T-Mobile hotspots for web linking to smart phones, iPads and computers. Sadly, we didn’t have the code to experience this feature. I did play with it on an A6 press launch and found it quite remarkable. We stopped in a few stores for supplies for the party. The rear seats are split-folding offering the A7 wagon-like storage capabilities since it has an automatic tailgate and not a traditional trunk deck.

The next day was Mother’s Day! Red Velvet cupcakes from Georgetown, spa treatment at Red Door Spa and brunch at J. Gilberts made many dreams come true. And since the Audi brand is my wife’s favorite — she has her eye on a 2011 Q7 — I guess adding the all-new A7 to the mix wasn’t such a bad idea. I wonder what’s in store for Father’s Day!

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