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How much? £44,440
Engine: 2967cc V6 TD, 204bhp @ 3750rpm, 295lb ft @ 1250rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
Performance: 0-62mph 7.4sec, 146mph, 55.4mpg, 135g/km
How heavy / made of? 1695kg/steel
How big (length/width/height in mm)? 4969/1911/1420
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CAR's rating

Rated 4 out of 54


Rated 3 out of 53


Rated 4 out of 54


Rated 5 out of 55

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Rated 4 out of 54

Readers' rating

Rated 3 out of 53

Audi A7 3.0 TDI Quattro SE S tronic (2012) CAR review

By Anthony ffrench-Constant

First Drives

05 July 2012 15:43

Seven years in the making, the largely flawless Audi A6’s only failing is that it seeks to appeal to the broadest possible customer spectrum by being so utterly anonymous that it is, frankly, almost too anonymous. A perfectly decent drive albeit, it’s far more of a technological tour de force than anything of a thrill to helm, having rifled the A8’s on-board equipment parts bin so rigorously that the only reason to now buy the latter is a requirement for greater cabin space.

My only other criticism of the car is that the specimen I drove was presented with an interior finished in a deep chocolate brown, which made me feel as if I was spending time inside someone’s bottom every time I climbed aboard. Albeit a very well appointed bottom…

Audi A7: the best-looking Audi on sale?

Its looks marred only by the size of the front grille, the A7 is the best looking car Audi has produced since the entirely handsome A5 Coupe, and is notably gorgeous when viewed from anywhere astern. On board, all is exactly where you left it in your last Audi, which means it’s extremely well screwed together, good looking, ergonomically excellent and properly comfortable. The only glitch being the propensity for a pale beige coloured parcel shelf to reflect so strongly in the steeply raked rear screen that you absolutely cannot see out by day…

As with the more recent A6, technology is all important, and the A7 may be loaded to the gunwales with diverse multimedia interface systems which, with such goodies as the inclusion of web links to Google, will turn the car into little short of a fully-functioning mobile office. Personally, I can think of little worse than escaping the office to go for a drive in a car which doubles as an office, but many will surely find such a facility invaluable.

Audi does tend to overload its press cars with toys; in the case of the 3.0 TDI Quattro SE S tronic I drove, to the tune of some £25,775 over the basic asking price of £47,200. You pays yer money….

Driving the Audi A7

A head-up display which fills the base of the windscreen with information such as speed and navigation instructions annoyed me terribly until I discovered how to switch it off. At which point I missed it so much I promptly reinstated it. Suggesting that you can, however, have too much of a good thing, a fiddly seat massage control system proved even more annoying, relentlessly pummelling my already perfectly comfortable anatomy every time I tried to merely adjust the lumbar support.

Most expensive by far of the options fitted was a Bang & Olufsen sound system which demands a wallet-fleecing £6300 for the privilege of watching the tweeters ooze ICBM-like from the dash top every time you start the car. Granted, the sound is wonderful, but no more so than the far less pricey Mark Levinson systems of Lexus fame.

If, as is now often averred, we’re becoming increasingly more interested in on-board ‘infotainment’ than we are the actual driving experience, then it’s high time many of these expensive options were fitted as standard in premium models such as this. And, buying an A7, I’d be particularly miffed to discover that the £590 delivery and number plate charge includes only ‘half a tank of fuel’. Now that’s just petty.

The 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel A7

With 367 lb.ft of torque summoning 62mph in just 6.3 seconds, it goes without saying that Audi’s silky 3.0 V6 turbodiesel provides pretty much all the thrust you could ever wish for, and the 7-speed automatic transmission is slush personified. However, despite the fitted option of adaptive suspension, the straight line ride is too tough to be deemed appropriate to a cabin which aspires to these high levels of comfort.

Protestations of over tough ride quality remain the norm in the case of most Audi’s, and the company seems reluctant to pander to (presumably largely British) requests to soften their approach on this front. A pity, since it often mars the increasingly sublime Audi experience.


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Audi A7 3.0 TDI Quattro SE S tronic (2012) CAR review


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OldDog says

RE: Audi A7 3.0 TDI Quattro SE S tronic (2012) CAR review

That dash, with it's multitude of grey to gray and silver colours, reminds me of an old Nissan, were it not for the fact that I regularly drive an A5 3.0TDi with the aforementioned  deep chocolate colouring I would assume that would be the best  colour scheme, sadly the brown stops with the seats which is where I don't look while driving...

If Audi could make thier dashboards aesthetic, in the way that a well specified Merc or Porsche can be specified, then they might be able to get up there with best.

18 July 2012 13:17



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courtster says

RE: Audi A7 3.0 TDI Quattro SE S tronic (2012) CAR review

Oh, and the model you reference in the datasheet is the front wheel drive multitronic.  Not the quattro s-tronic as titled.

15 July 2012 09:50



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courtster says

RE: Audi A7 3.0 TDI Quattro SE S tronic (2012) CAR review

I've just spent a week with this exact car without the extras as a rental in Spain and did about 1000km in it.  I think it looks amazing, subtle but imposing.  The electric tailgate had kids in the street wanting to try it. The lack of rear wiper didnt bother me till it rained for 10 mins and left sandy blotches all over the windows.  The standard stereo had a subwoofer and of great quality.  I also managed to average 6.8l/100km (41mpg) over 1000km without really trying too hard.  The rear boot swallowed 2 full size and 3 hand luggage wheel cases without trouble. This car had the black leather without the massage option and I drove 400km without a pang of back pain.  I'm now trying to find a way I can run one of these as my car now I'm home!



15 July 2012 09:38



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Steill says

RE: Audi A7 3.0 TDI Quattro SE S tronic (2012) CAR review

 Nothing wrong with having a hatchback, I wouldn't consider a car without one. I do find it odd that this top of the range car has no rear wiper though. I guess that, on the move, airflow will keep the back clear, as it does with most cars, but sitting at lights, in the rain, the rear screen will become opaque without a wiper.  Also, snow will accumulate on the back in winter traffic which a wiper can keep on top of. Why do normally priced hatchbacks have a rear wiper and not expensive ones? In fact, why don't all cars have a rear wiper?

14 July 2012 17:43



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bertandnairobi says

RE: Audi A7 3.0 TDI Quattro SE S tronic (2012) CAR review

"...presented with an interior finished in a deep chocolate brown, which made me feel as if I was spending time inside someone’s bottom every time I climbed aboard."  I hadn´t spotted that. What a tiresome comparison. Clarkson loves that association as well. Is it an English toilet-humour thing or what? I think A ff-C was just hunting for an easy laugh. The determination of motoring writers to attack anythign that isn´t black or grey astounds me. It´s not as if you are required to spec a car in a colour you don´t like, is it? So why mention it? But they will always say something like "the Volvo S54 here is a super vehicle though I don´t like the dark green paint or the orange-threads in the grey cloth seating..." Who cares what motoring writers think about colour? To judge from the clothes most wear they have little dress sense and have no colour sensitivity at all. Count the grey anoraks next time Car has a group drive article. 

11 July 2012 13:41

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