2011 Audi A7 Road Test Review

Brian Armstead - CAP staff
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Dear Audi, I'm pretty ticked off with you right now. You know I have been a devotee of the brand, having owned a couple of 1986 Audi 5000 Turbos, a 1989 200 Quattro, and a mint 1993 S4. Through the hydraulic system leaks and sometimes-weird electrical problems, I stayed loyal to the brand.

So why am I mad? Well, the fluid leaking Audis of the past are just that, and the reliability and prestige of the brand has skyrocketed. And the model choices over the past several years have me salivating over Audi ownership again. A4, S4, Q7, A6, A8 and the spectacular R8 supercar (among others) are proof the German brand based in Ingolstadt is serious about knocking Mercedes-Benz and BMW out of the top ranks for German iron.  

Just two years ago, I checked in with Audi about the purchase of a 2008 S5 Coupe. Tornado Red it was, with a smokin' 4.2-litre V8 that made incredible noises. The kind of noises that mean you just dusted whatever it was around you. So I was set, until I realized that my daughter was about to go off to college, and $52,000 per year for tuition was not on the money tree in my backyard.

But if you are not a poor college dad like myself, and you are looking for a premium European automobile with great styling and fit and finish among the best in the industry, then look no further than the entire lineup from Audi.

Recently, I spent a week testing the 2011 A7, Audi's four-door "Coupe." Now I don't know where this four-door coupe foolishness started, but no matter the name, it drives and performs like any two-door performance coupe on the market.

A7 styling is swoopy and sensuous, with Audi's signature wide mouth grille up front, flanked by another Audi signature, LED Daytime Running Lights. You can tell from a distance that it's a real Audi, not some pretender with stick on LED lights from Canadian Tire. The beltline is high, and it makes a dramatic style statement. At the rear, an active aero spoiler deploys at 130 km/h to help keep the A7 planted at high speeds. Dual chromed exhaust pipes reside below equally impressive LED tail/brakelights. There's no trunk as this is a hatchback. Raise the power hatch, and there's plenty of room for gear, and thoughtful tie downs to keep in all in place for safety reasons.

My test vehicle was dark blue with cream-coloured leather. This is one good looking vehicle. How well received was the A7 you ask? I got scores of positive comments on it. And it appears that Audi marketing is now up to snuff too, as many who spoke about the car, including several women, knew the features and price of the A7.

The A7's cabin features world-class finish. If you can find a better constructed, more thoughtfully laid out interior than that in any modern Audi, hit me up because A) I don't believe it exists, and B) I want to see it! Everything you see and touch melds in perfect harmony. Think of the interior wood as a cat and the metals and plastics as a dog. There's no fighting going on here! They just blend. Now for sure, at the upper end of the spectrum, and we are talking Maybach, Bentley and Rolls, you will find some really impressive interiors. But for $200-500 grand, they should be impressive! At about $70,000 including destination charges for the base A7, my money is on Audi.

As the various governments that effect Canadian vehicles are mandating higher fuel economy standards from manufacturer fleets, you'll see fewer V8 models and more smaller displacement engines with turbos or superchargers. In the A7, the 310 horsepower, 3.0-litre V6 gets a supercharger, and it rolls out like the 4.2-litre V8 I used to lust over. This car really flies when you spool up the supercharger, yet returns the U.S. EPA equivalent of 13 L/100km city and a very impressive 8.4 highway. Canadian estimates are 11.4 and 7.4 respectively.

The ride quality of the A7 is "A8 like," which means it's superb. It can coddle you in comfort, yet run with the big boys without breaking a sweat.

And because it's an Audi, you get the full tilt safety treatment. All of the safety acronyms come standard:  ABS, DSC, EBD – they're all there. I especially like the lane departure warning system that senses another vehicle in your blind spot and flashes amber lights on the A-pillar should you try to change lanes.

So now you see why Audi has me so upset. Good work Audi.  If there are no Master's Degrees in my future, I'll see you in four years!
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Four-Door Coupe, Audi, 2011, A7, $50,000 - $74,999, $75,000 - $99,999,

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