You may disagree, but I’d leave any crossover or large SUV behind and take the 2019 Audi A7 any day of the week. Thinking an oversized and overweight family hauler does better in foul weather? Think again. Audi’s quattro system and the right set of tires are more than capable of facing the elements unperturbed.
Athletic and refined
The redesigned A7 brings more aggressive styling than the somewhat pedestrian A6, yet it’s still elegantly understated. They both share the same underpinnings but styling differences stretch the sedan’s shape to leaner proportions. The side profile features a swooping roofline that tapers down to a fastback rear end. Accenting the tail is an adaptive spoiler, which extends at speeds above 75 mph.
Moreover, the A7’s svelte, sportier appearance is reinforced by the sharper creases in the hood and sightline along the door panels. Larger air vents and more sculpting below the headlamps lend a more aggressive look over the A6. The rear quarter panels have a strong, pronounced shoulder and harken back to the exalted Quattro era.
Power to the people
At its core is a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 that can summon 335 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. Power delivery is transferred through a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission before distributed by Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive system. Turbo lag isn’t an issue but you do have to get into the upper revs to get the best performance.
Seamlessly integrated into the powertrain is a 48-volt mild hybrid EV (MHEV) system that aids start and stop operation and minimizes turbo lag. Car and Driver track tests of the new Audi A7 recorded a zero to 60 sprint in 4.4 seconds and acceleration from 50 to 70 mph in 3.6 seconds. Braking was equally impressive with an emergency braking distance in a short as 157 feet.
Not a bad place to occupy
Slip inside the completely redesigned interior of the 2019 A7 and be prepared for a harmonious combination of generous passenger space and a wealth of high tech goodies to keep everyone happy and safe. Offering more premium features than the previous model, the gorgeous interior rivals Audi’s sumptuous flagship, the A8.
The A7’s level of performance and driver engagement is something that is quite enjoyable any day of the week. Its serene cabin provides a luxurious quality and the latest infotainment technologies split across a pair of large touchscreens. Every touch responds by a haptic reaction from the screen in the form of clicks and vibrations – giving you the feel of physical buttons, even though its through a touchscreen.
For added safety, the A7 is available with vehicle exit assist that warns you of oncoming traffic before opening the door, automatic high beams and night vision, adaptive cruise control with stop and go and traffic jam, and Audi’s pre-sense collision avoidance system.
Aiming for a quick load and go before tee time? The rear cargo area has more than enough space to accommodate a few bags of golf clubs and a cargo net to keep any smaller items from rolling around.
More fun to drive than an SUV
Getting up to speed is like drinking a glass of fine wine. The more you sip it, the more you appreciate its subtle flavors. Shifting between gears is incredibly smooth, although there is a brief pause before getting into reverse or drive mode. Thankfully, no awkward lurches or abrupt gear changes, which is sometimes characteristic with dual-clutch transmissions.
The all-wheel steering helps with maneuvering in tight spaces and rear wheels turn in the same direction at speeds from 37 mph. With up to five degrees of turn-in of the rear wheels, the A6/A7 has higher directional stability when changing lanes and smoother turn-in action when carving through those twisty roads. It also negotiates parking spaces better by tightening the turning radius.
The A7’s available adaptive suspension makes it one the most relaxing long-distance cruisers at speeds well beyond the legal limit. With this in mind, serving up raw thrills in the hills isn’t Audi’s claim to fame – a BMW 5 Series or Mercedes-Benz E-Class dances much better in the twisties. Where the A7 excels is delivering a predictable and secure ride with exceptional grip on the tarmac.
The A7 sets up the driver in a gratifying driving position that is augmented by excellent outward visibility. Steering is precise and gets progressively heavier in a nice way, but don’t expect a great amount of feedback through the wheel.
The drive management system actively monitors driving conditions and decides whether to activate coasting or recuperation mode. Coasting with combustion engine shut-off happens between 34 and 99 mph. Silently, the 48V mild-hybrid system helps the A6 and A7 get 2 mpg better than its predecessor.
How good is the 2019 Audi A7?
As a guess, enthusiasts and tech nerds who appreciate German design and engineering will likely gravitate to the new A7. Or anyone who puts a premium on refinement and driving dynamics, and wants nothing to do with an SUV.
This premium Autobahn athlete competes in a fierce segment, against the likes of the BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe, Mercedes-Benz CLS Class, Porsche Panamera, or Tesla Model S. Still, it’s an ultra-comfy sportback and the extra traction afforded by the quattro system makes it even more usable under tough weather conditions.
2019 Audi A7 specifications
|Price as tested||$85,240 (Prestige)|
|Engine||3.0L turbocharged V-6|
|Power||335 hp @ 5,000 – 6,400 rpm|
|Torque||369 lb-ft @ 1,370 – 4,500 rpm|
|Transmission||7-speed dual clutch (automatic)|
|0 – 60 mph||5.2 seconds|
|Top Speed||130 mph (limited)|
|Curb weight||4,332 lbs|
|Fuel Economy (EPA)||22 / 29 / 25 (city/hwy/combined)|
|Ground Clearance||8.7 inches|
|Length x Width x Height||195.61 x 56.0 x 75.1 inches|
|Cargo Volume||24.9 cubic feet|
Photo credit: Derek Mau (except where noted)