The wood was just the start. The Prestige package ($2,650) included Bose surround sound, front seat ventilation and passenger lumbar adjustment, a head-up display, and LED interior lights. The S line sport package ($1,000) was less costly, including S line exterior styling enhancements, sport suspension, and 19-inch wheels — which were superseded by the optional 20-inch five-spoke wheel package on our tester, priced at $1,500 and making the S line package seem an even better value. The cold weather package ($500) was unnecessary for a fairly balmy March in Los Angeles, but we were especially keen to try out the driver assistance package, which, at $2,450, included a new active-lane-assist program. The package also offers “pre sense plus” (a frontal collision mitigation system), corner-view camera system, high-beam assist, and adaptive cruise control. All told, our tester was a $77,725 beauty — not cheap in general terms, but priced well for its segment and equipment level.
While the average Joe on the street probably won’t notice much change in the 2016’s styling, the more astute will immediately find the new LED head- and taillights and the subtle front-end changes, including a sharpened grille shape and chrome trim in the lower air inlets. Overall, it’s an effective reworking to modernize a design that has aged fairly well to begin with.
What you can’t tell from the fancy new design is that the supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 our tester arrived with has been massaged for an extra 23 horsepower over the current version. Now sitting at 333 hp and the same 325 lb-ft of torque as before, the A7 has a little extra giddyup. It’s certainly not lacking in grunt on the road. We’ve long been fans of the silky-smooth Audi 3.0T and combined with a slight recalibration of the car’s Quattro all-wheel drive system, it feels sharper than before. While some may wish to see Audi pair a dual-clutch gearbox with this engine, the eight-speed Tiptronic automatic is responsive enough and no doubt smoother in day-to-day driving. We tried the new active lane-keep system briefly and it worked as advertised, gently guiding the A7 back from well-marked traffic lanes. Using the system to avoid steering input for longer periods of time means the common ping-pong sensation is present, with the car slowly drifting from one side of the lane to the other and back again. That’s fine; the A7 isn’t autonomous. Yet.
Our major gripe with the 2016 Audi A7 is that, as with virtually all similar “four-door coupe” profiles, interior space — most notably, headroom — suffers. Though based on the A6, that conventional four-door sedan is more comfortable inside with a lower seating position relative to the dashboard and more headroom to boot than the A7. While you’ll be able to squeeze adults 5-feet-10 or taller in the rear seat of the A7 for short trips, it’s not an ideal arrangement. It must be mentioned, however, that this is par for the four-door coupe course.
We’d also probably skip the 20-inch optional wheels and stick with the 19s on the S line package for a little more road comfort. Those looking for an even plusher ride can forgo the S line package too and its firmer sport suspension. On a positive note, changes to the MMI media interface are positive and the system seems a little snappier in operation.
2016 Audi A7 3.0T Quattro Specifications
|Engine:||3.0L DOHC 24-valve V-6/333 hp @ 5,500 rpm, 325 lb-ft @ 2,900 rpm|
|Layout:||4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, 4WD sedan|
|EPA Mileage:||20/30 mpg (city/hwy)|
|L x W x H:||195.6 x 75.0 x 55.9 in|
|0-60 MPH:||5.6 sec|
|Top speed:||130 mph|