Credit Audi for knowing when to leave well enough alone. The 2017 Audi A7 carries over from last year with only minor changes and that's plenty OK with us. Possibly to ease the sting of its beloved, discontinued diesel-engine model, Audi introduced a new Competition trim level that pumps out a little more horsepower and style.
Although it's not billed as the high-performance model in the lineup (the S7 and RS 7 fill that role), the A7 is an impressive performer . The supercharged V6 is a stunning engine that provides nearly instantaneous throttle response and the kind of acceleration you would typically associate with a V8-powered sedan.The A7 comes with Audi's Drive Select feature, which alters throttle response, transmission shift characteristics and steering effort via four different modes: Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and Individual. We've found it a challenge to dial in exactly the right settings for our taste, and the steering feel doesn't impress us in any of the settings.
Along with this dull steering, a hefty curb weight and sizable exterior prevent the A7 from feeling like a sport sedan. You can hustle it along, but it doesn't offer much enjoyment or engagement in return. We suggest sticking with the smaller 19-inch wheels, as they provide a more supple ride and won't appreciably detract from the A7's real-world handling.
The A7's interior is thoughtfully designed and tightly constructed, with excellent materials quality. Subtle wood accents add to the premium feel along with subtle ambient lighting. Audi's Multi Media Interface (MMI) controls audio, communication and navigation functions with a knob on the console and a pop-up dashboard screen. MMI boasts logical menus and crisp graphics, and after a short time it becomes very intuitive.
The A7 is also equipped with Audi Connect, which includes 4G LTE data connectivity with mobile Wi-Fi for up to eight devices, Google Earth data for the navigation system and simplified Google search for POIs. The Google Earth feature is a cool concept, but in practice it's an example of form over function, as the "enhanced" map can be more difficult to read at a glance compared to a conventional navigation map.
Fitting five passengers in the A7 is quite feasible, as long as the passengers in back aren't very tall. Headroom up front is acceptable, but the sleek, sloping roofline limits rear headroom. It also makes getting in and out of the rear seats more difficult. There's plenty of legroom in both the front and back seats although it's worth noting that the A7 Competition seats only two passengers in the backseat.
The A7's hatchback design enables easy loading of luggage and larger items that might not fit in the trunk of a conventional sedan. Official cargo capacity is 24.5 cubic feet, but lowering the rear seatbacks increases that volume significantly.