2012 Audi A7 first drive review

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The 2012 Audi A7 has been a long time coming to the U.S. We first learned about the car from the official release nearly a year ago, in July 2010. It wasn't until last month's New York Auto Show that the car was revealed for America. Shortly after the show, I spent a week in the car.

So how was it? In short, there are only three things I don't like about it, and they're not deal-breakers. For some, they won't even be issues. But I'll get to those in a minute.

The car is, on the whole, quite good: it drives like a much smaller, lighter car, it's eminently comfortable, and, perhaps most importantly, it looks incredible.

The Web often does injustice to a car, making it looks worse than it does in person. While the A7 carries itself well in pixels, it's all the more impressive in person. Unlike the vast majority of the long-back semi-hatch sedans on the market, there's nothing awkward, lumpy, or fat-bottomed about the A7. The proportions just work.

Behind the wheel, you get a sense that the 310-horsepower supercharged V-6 is almost a perfect analogue for the V-8s of just a few years ago. It pulls like a superlux bullet train, willingly ripping through the gears on its way to a 5.4-second 0-60 mph time. Unfortunately, the fuel economy is also roughly analogous to the V-8s of a few years ago: I observed an average in the mid-16 mpg range over the course of a week, and frequently dipped into the 12-14 mpg range on spirited trips. That's the first of the things I don't particularly like about the A7, but it's one I could live with considering the car's positive traits from a driver's perspective.

There's a lot to like about the A7 from a passenger's perspective, too, including a roomier-than-expected rear seat. It's not a long-wheelbase executive limo sort of roominess, but even those a few inches over six feet have space to relax. Up front, the comfort is almost limitless thanks to the highly adjustable seats, except for one small detail, likely an artifact of side-impact crash requirements: the driver's seat isn't centered on the steering wheel.

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