Inside it’s a story of technology, luxury, and utility. Audi has offered exemplary interiors for years, and the A7’s cockpit trades on that reputation with high-quality materials, including open-pore wood, multiple choices of leather, Alcantara, and the cool look of metal trim. Fit and finish is pristine, and it’s all outlined at night in your choice of 60 colors of ambient lighting, much of which outlines the cockpit's contours.
It’s the tech, however, that dazzles most. I have three screens to gaze upon, plus an available head-up display. We've seen the programmable 12.3-inch Audi Virtual Cockpit before, but the MMI Touch Response system is new, and it trades buttons for touch controls and voice commands. It features a high-mounted 10.1-inch touchscreen to control your navigation, music, and phone needs, plus a lower 8.6-inch screen that shows climate functions and drive modes and accepts handwritten inputs.
MMI Touch Response is a new direction for Audi. It uses the latest graphic chip sets, reacts quickly, responds to common control gestures from smartphones, and provides haptic feedback. Its menus seem logically laid out, too. We’ve had only limited experience with it, so we’ll need to live with it to understand its daily appeal.
Interior space continues to be a strength of the A7. Front-row occupants have lots of space, and rear-seat passengers are made even more comfortable thanks to a longer wheelbase that improves rear legroom by 0.8 inch. The hatch area offers real utility, too. It has 18.9 cubic feet of cargo space--the size of a large trunk--and that expands to 49.1 cubic feet when you fold down the second-row seats. Who says you need a crossover?
A leap forward
When it debuted in 2010, the Audi A7 was a stunning car that was at the forefront of technology. Over the years that have passed since, it has aged well but fallen behind the technological curve. The 2019 redesign corrects that issue and then some.
In addition to all the technology already mentioned, the 2019 model will offer such features as laser high-beam headlights, two automatic parking systems (including one that lets you get out and park the car in a garage using your smartphone), night vision, every active safety feature you can think of, and a Level-3 Traffic Jam Pilot self-driving system that can follow traffic at 37 mph and below. As a Level-3 self-driving technology, it will be subject to federal regulations, so when it shows up in the U.S. is anyone's guess.
Late this year will be your first chance to get the beauty and performance of the A7 but now in a more evolved and more advanced form.
As for Africa, some good news has emerged. Thanks to a decline in agricultural water usage, Day Zero has been pushed back to May 11. Hopefully, the rains come to Africa before then. And let's also hope this beautiful country continues to evolve and advance to bring more prosperity to all.
Audi provided travel and lodging to Internet Brands Automotive to bring you this firsthand report.