It's only just arrived, and the new 2012 Audi A7 reminds us of a trusted old friend. That's quite a compliment.
The five-door is fresh on the scene, with gorgeously sleek sheetmetal hiding an advanced supercharged engine and all-wheel drive.Unlike most cars that cross our paths, this new luxury hatchback welcomes occupants into one of the warmest and most inviting passenger cabins we have encountered in years.
Inside, there is a four-place cabin loaded with luxury and some of the industry's most innovative technology.Even though it is thoroughly modern and sophisticated, all controls are intuitively placed and their operation is second nature. Everything, from throttle and steering response to passenger space and cargo utility, works exactly as one would expect it to.
Impressive, but that isn't what sets the Audi apart. Major options included the Prestige package ($6,330), which adds the S-line exterior, navigation, Audi Connect, four-zone climate control, Bose audio upgrade, adaptive headlights, smart key, parking sensors and more. While most original designs require time for familiarization, the A7 seems to be an exception.
The front fascia isn't as aggressive as the nose of the new A6, but the rear and tail treatment takes the booty prize thanks to its wide flanks, larger taillamps and well integrated dual exhaust pipes. Our test car arrived configured with Moonlight Blue Metallic paint ($475) over black leather upholstery.
The fastback is graceful from nearly every angle, even if the rear half seems to carry the bulk of the weight (park the A7 next to the BMW and Porsche, and you will quickly dismiss any reservations you have about styling).
The base price of the 2012 Audi A7 3.0 TFSI is $59,250. That's a nudge more than the base price of the BMW 535i xDrive Gran Turismo ($58,800) but significantly less than the entry-level all-wheel-drive Porsche Panamera 4 ($78,900), and it comes standard with all-wheel drive.
Audi Side Assist ($500) and destination ($875) brought our bottom line to $67,430. That price aligns well with a nicely equipped BMW 5 Series GT, but we all know that nobody is touching a Porsche Panamera for less than $85,000.As the automaker's first larger coupe since the departure of the Audi 100 Coupé S in the 1970s, the A7 is one svelte piece of machinery.