As with many things, when you don't have expectations they can't be crushed. Somehow I missed all the hoopla over the 2012 Audi A7 at this year's auto shows (apparently I was busy hunting down more stereotypically family-centric cars). Let me tell you, I was anything but crushed by the A7. I was pleasantly surprised by this large hatchback's combination of performance driving ability, smooth ride quality and family-friendly backseat space and functional trunk. However, be advised this car seats four, so it's only suited to small families.
The A7's drive quality was the perfect fit for me. Audi's Quattro full-time all-wheel-drive system in the A7 is an absolute must for the crazy weather patterns I experience south of Denver. The A7 somehow manages to be simultaneously powerful and well-connected to the road in corners while still featuring a suspension designed to keep my brain cells in tact rather than wiggled and jiggled free like other "sporty" cars. The one annoyance I noticed was a slight delayed jerk when the A7 shifted down at low speeds, for example when slowing down to creep through the carpool lane.
As the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. The A7 is worth every penny of the $68,630 price tag that my test car topped out at; the base price is $59,250. For a small family who doesn't need to fit more than one or two kids in the car but still has the cargo-carrying needs that every family has, the A7 caters to this crew with a luxurious, modern and distinctly stylized car. You'll be lucky to keep yours. I was extremely disappointed to have to return my test car.
The all-new Audi A7 is distinct-looking. It starts with those flirty, feminine eyelash LEDs in the front that I absolutely love. The feminine line of the car flows back and ends with a muscular-looking back end. The A7 is a car that both my husband and I would love to be in as a daily drive, but it's still sophisticated enough to take us from a grocery store run to a kid-free sushi date night.
While all that sounds like fun, the A7 is full of function, as well. When I opened the hatchback for the first time, an audible gasp escaped me and could be heard from many cars away. I have no idea how Audi managed to get such a large cargo space in this vehicle that drives so much smaller. On top of the impressive size, the hatch opens remotely via a button on the key fob, on the hatch itself or from the driver's side door. All parents deserve the helping hand of a power liftgate!
While the cargo space is huge and the second-row legroom is also greater than expected, the rear door openings feel a little narrow for an adult. I also wished it opened wider to help those of us having to worm child-safety seats into the back.
The A7 manages to look naturally strong without appearing to have been injected with synthetic steroids or "herbal" growth hormones, though the 310-horsepower, supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 engine might make you think that it has been. The A7 uses premium gas and gets an EPA-estimated 18/28 mpg city/highway.