Car tested: 2012 Audi A7 3.0 TDI Quattro
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 96,39,241/-
The Audi A7 combines style, performance, technology and luxury in one stunning package.
The Indian auto industry has seen it all this year. Despite the slowdown in the market, the luxury segment seems to be almost invincible to the downturn. Sales have been consistent and you have all the reason to smile if you work for Audi. The German luxury manufacturer is slowing inching away to the top and has clearly set sights on pole position. Luxury Coupe’s are not really known to bring in the volumes, due to their limited 2-door usability. However, things are different when it comes to 4-door coupes as they are more practical cars for daily use. The Audi A7 made its debut at the 2010 Paris Motor Show and went on sale subsequently. It is based on the Volkswagen Group MLB platform which is shared with the 2012 Audi A6. The Audi A7 competes with the Mercedes CLS-Class and the recently launched BMW 6-Series Gran Coupe, but does it have enough to take on the competition?
Exteriors – There is no doubt that the Audi A7 is quite a beauty, you will notice people stealing a few looks with many going for a second glance thanks to its sharp and dynamic design. The front end is strikingly similar to the Audi A6. The A7 get the family hexagonal grille with the four rings sitting in the center with supremacy. The bumper is devoid of fog lamps and instead gets a mesh work which helps in air intake. The bumper design is elaborate and looks rich. The headlamp assembly is detailed and has the typical Audi daytime running LED lights which we Indians simply love. Adaptive projector Xenon lights ensure you don’t need the fog lamps at all. Sharp creases on the hood make a sporty impression. The night vision camera sits just in front of the rear view mirror in the center.
The side profile is what makes the Audi A7 look different. The most noticeable part is the coupe styled roof line which slopes all the way to the boot rather gradually. The doors are frame less and the 7-spoke alloys give it a flamboyant stance. The A7 is long and measures 4.97 metres in length. The coupe styling makes it shed some height and the A7 is only 1.42-meters on the scale making it appear dynamic and sporty.
The rear glass is huge, thanks to the sloping roof line and the boot opens up nice and wide like a hatch. LED tail lamps extend into the boot and twin exhausts only give a hint of what the 3.0-litre TDI engine is capable off. The A7 badging is placed on the left side. The rear stance is quite low enhancing the sports car feel.
Rear spoiler can be deployed by flicking a button on the instrument panel. Rear spoilers are mainly used to create downforce which enables the car to be glued to the road at high speeds, in this scenario, its more of an aesthietic factor, since you will never really need that kind of downforce on the road, unless of course you are planning to drive flat out on the track.
Interiors – Audi’s has always been known for top notch quality and premium craftsmanship and the A7 is no different. The quality of materials used, fit and finish and the soft touch dash feel fantastic. The plastics, upholstery and use of wooden veeners has been done to ensure that the interiors not only look rich but even feel rich. Audi has loaded the A7 with plenty of gizmos. The front seats are comfortable and can be adjusted in various ways until you hit the sweet spot. There is no dearth of headroom, legroom and under thigh support and if that’s not enough, there are voluminous massage functions available to pamper yourself. The front seats also have ventilated function.
The rear seats offer a comfortable experience too and despite the sloping roof, headroom is adequate. Seating position is low and ingress and egress can be a problem if you are tall or have knee issues. The transmission hump makes it best suited for two adults at the rear. The dual-zone air-conditioner cools the cabin quickly even in the torrid heat with the rear bench getting its own temperature settings. Whether you are seated in the front or enjoying the rear seat, the A7 will wrap you around in comfort at all times. Bose Audio system and advance sound system from Bang and Olufsen gives out 1300 watts of power from 15 speakers. Sound quality is simply phenomenal and the there are numerous input options such as Bluetooth streaming, iPod, CD, DVD, SD card, etc. The audio system can be scrolled through via the steering mounted controls and you can see your playlist on the instrument cluster.
The 8-inch multimedia screen pops out at start-up and displays a variety of information such as audio, navigation, vehicle settings, etc. The MMI (Multi Media Interface) system is a user interface media system developed by Audi and our A7 S Line variant got a few optional goodies such as Heads Up Display (HUD), which could be adjusted to best suit the driver. The A7 also gets a touchpad input and the driver can conveniently use his finger to do various tasks such as write the digits of a phone number.
The A7 features a night vision camera which displays on the instrument cluster and functions pretty well too. You can actually see the objects via the camera before you see them on the road.
The instrument cluster is easy to read and the steering holds controls to most of the functions such as audio, phone and cruise control. The steering allows 4 way telescopic adjustment like most of the cars in the segment.
The boot can be opened and closed electrically and has a low loading bay which makes is easy to load and unload luggage. Space measures an ample 535-liters and can be increased to 1390-liters by folding down the rear seats. Under the luggage compartment is a space saver tire which is rated to reach a top speed of not more than 80 km/hr.
Performance – Under the hood lies a 3.0-litre V6 diesel motor which produces 245 BHP of peak power between 4000 – 4500 RPM and 500 NM of torque between 1400 – 3250 RPM. Low end torque delivery ensures that there is no turbo lag and power is available throughout the rev range. The A7 accelerates from 0 – 100 km/hr in just 6.3 seconds with top speed being electronically limited to 250 km/hr. Inspite of the mammoth performance, the engine is extremely refined and quiet and you can barely hear it inside the cabin, however it makes itself heard as you get to the redline. Overall NVH levels are good but tyre noise creeps up at high speeds, there is no wind noise however.
Mated to this engine is a 7-speed S Tronic dual clutch gearbox. Gear ratios are suited to both city and highway style driving with a tall seventh gear to ensure the A7 can stretch its leg on the highways without much strain. Gear shifts are quick and efficient, you can also use the paddles to downshift in hurry, if required. The A7 returns about 8 km/l in city conditions and about 10.7 km/l on the highway. Drive with a light foot and you can get the gearbox to shift at a lower RPM, thereby increasing fuel efficiency marginally.
Driving Dynamics – The Audi A7 offers a very complaint ride in Comfort mode and eats up potholes for breakfast. In this mode the steering is light which makes maneuverability quite easy in day to day traffic. In dynamic mode, ride gets stiffer and the large undulations on the road can be felt inside the cabin. The all four disc brakes work well and the A7 stops from 100 km/hr without any drama. The 18 inch 255/45 Goodyear tyres offer enough grip for the job. Ground clearance was not an issue as the A7 stayed away from kissing the road on most speed breakers, the height can be increased to get over an oddly high speed breaker if the need be.
You can customize the parameters to your liking with the Audi Select Drive System. As you shift into Dynamic mode, the steering weighs up, the suspension stiffens and the engine is more eager to go. Step on the gas and the A7 tackles corners with some confidence, the Quattro all wheel drive system certifies that grip levels and control is great. Audi has used light weight high strength steel and aluminum in the construction of the A7, this means weight is less and so is the bodyroll. Power distribution between the rear and front wheels is about 60:40 respectively. As you get into racing mode the gears shift faster but the steering feedback is average and feels vague at high speeds thanks to the electric steering unit on the A7. The adaptive suspension with controlled damping lowers the ride height as you catch speed and by lowering the center of gravity, keeps the A7 grounded with more predictable driving dynamics. Despite the electric steering, you can still have oodles of fun with this car.
Verdict – Based on pricing, the A7 sits between the A6 and the A8 and fills up the gap quite beautifully. It makes a solid style statement and at the same time offers practicality in terms of daily usability. Not only does the 3.0-liter TDI perform well, it is extremely refined too and the Audi A7 along with the bells and whistles is offers, makes itself a strong contender in the Coupe segment. There is much more to the Audi A7 than what appears from outside, it is one hell of a machine.
Stunning design, high-tech features and sheer elegance makes the Audi A7 a very desirable vehicle. Splendid performance and brilliant dynamics further accentuate the overall package.
* Engine Refinement and Performance
* Gizmos like night vision camera, etc
Whats Not So Cool
2012 Audi A7 Specifications
* Engine: 3.0-liter, V6 TDI
* Power: 245 BHP @ 4000-4500 RPM
* Torque: 500 Nm @ 1400-3250 RPM
* Transmission: 7-speed S-Tronic Dual Clutch Automatic
* Top Speed: 250 km/hr
* 0-100 km/h: 6.3 seconds
* Fuel Consumption: 8 km/l (City), 10.7 km/l (highway)
* Fuel Type: Diesel
* Suspension: 5-link front suspension, double upper and lower wishbones, anti roll bar, continuous damping control (CDC) shock absorbers (Front), Self tracking trapezoidal link axle with wishbone, anti roll bar, continuous damping control (CDC) shock absorbers (Rear)
* Tyres: 245/45/18 Tubeless Radials
* Brakes: Front and Rear Ventilated Discs
* Safety: ABS, EBD, ESP, TCS, Quattro All Wheel Drive System, 8 Airbags, Reverse Parking Sensors with Camera
2012 Audi A7 Dimensions
* Overall length x width x height: 4969 mm X 1911 mm X 1420 mm
* Wheelbase: 2914 mm
* Front/Rear Track: 1644/1635 mm
* Turning Radius: 5.95-metres
* Boot Volume: 535-litres, 1390-litres (with rear seats folded)
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 65-litres
* Kerb Weight: 1770 kgs