Still fumbling with the DVD player? Do you growl while trying to download photos from iCloud, or even wonder what iCloud is? Does this high-tech world seem to be in high gear while you’re stuck in park?
Well, fasten your seat belt. The Audi A7 enters its second generation with more subtle design changes but not-so-subtle (OK, mind-blowing) advanced technology inside and out, from cockpit graphics to drive wheels and steering controls.
We’re talking about a new 12.3-inch virtual cockpit screen with a sharper, 3-D look; a new multimedia interface with haptic feedback – and it can receive text inputs drawn by a finger; a new all-wheel-drive system, called Quattro Ultra, that uses sensors and cameras to anticipate changing conditions and make adjustments before you get there. It even issues warnings of intersection hazards in advance.
The 2019 A7, with a lower starting price than 2018, retains its sleek fastback profile made possible by a sloping rear hatch. Design changes include thinner LED headlights and a broader trapezoidal grille. Rear LED lighting spans the width of the body, and Audi raised the rear deck by over an inch.
The midsize luxury car also gets a power boost this year, too. It has a 3.0-liter V-6 engine, like last year, but it’s been reengineered for more power. This time it is turbocharged, not supercharged, and it pumps out 335 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. That tops the supercharged version by 29 horses and 44 pound-feet. With a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission doling out the power, the A7 sprints to 60 mph – rather quietly – in 4.9 seconds.
For a more spirited drive, use the paddle shifters and switch to Dynamic mode to tighten steering and suspension. A rear wing rises at 60 mph but you can set it to be raised constantly.
The A7 is well poised on turns and S-curves and overall ride quality is superb. Credit these driving dynamics to a new available suspension that includes all-wheel-steering. The setup improves stability at higher speeds and maneuverability at lower speeds, plus it trims the car’s turning radius by 3.6 feet for easier U-turns.
Also new is Audi’s Quattro Ultra AWD system. It withholds power to the rear wheels until it anticipates – via sensors – a need for it. That contributes to improved fuel economy, too: A7 managed an impressive 30 mpg on the highway. 23 in town.
Aiding fuel efficiency is a new mild-hybrid system: It’s a 48-volt setup with a battery, fixed under the rear cargo floor, to power the start-stop system.
The beautifully crafted flagship, the A7 Premium Plus, gets new multi-adjustable seats with cooling, heating and massage functions. Comfort, fit and stitching are top-shelf. Seating is for four or five depending the rear configuration you choose. Headroom and legroom are plentiful in front, but the sloping roof is restricting for taller folks in the rear seat.
Behind the sporty flat-bottom wheel is a new-for-2019 virtual cockpit displaying configurable digital gauges across a 12.3-inch screen. It also can convert to a large Google map for navigation. A head-up display with key driver data is standard.
Saving the best for last, the new infotainment system is amazingly intuitive. Audi scrapped the dash-mounted screen from last year and now uses dual high-definition touchscreens, a 10-incher on top, 8.6 below, in the center stack and angled toward the driver. They offer haptic feedback which provides a pulsating feel when pushing buttons. Or use your finger on the lower screen to spell out a command.
Better yet, give it a voice command: Tell the system to reduce the interior temperature – done. Or tell it you’re hungry and it will offer restaurant suggestions. Or make a music selection to hear on the Bang & Olufsen 3-D sound system.
Advanced technology extends to safety, too, including a new steering intervention added to active cruise control. Turn Assist helps keep the A7 in the lane on left turns. Intersection Assist alerts the driver of hazards awaiting at an intersection. Vehicle Exit is another clever advancement: It prevents occupants from opening a car door for several moments if it senses traffic coming from behind.
A7’s cargo space is a highly usable 19 cubic feet thanks to the hatchback style. Fold the rear seats to open up 49 cubic feet.
It’s always risky to mess with a great formula but Audi couldn’t go wrong with more power, new strides with its AWD system, and dazzling new technology. For the technologically challenged, just take a deep breath. You can do it.
What's all the excitement about? The second-generation Audi A7 brings a new look, more power, and a slew of advanced technology inside and out
Powertrain | 3.0-liter turbocharged V-6 engine, mated to 7-speed dual-clutch automatic
How's the performance? The A7 gets to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds; driving dynamics improved with Audi's Quattro AWD system and suspension, and all-wheel steering
How's the fuel economy? Pretty impressive on the highway at 30 mpg; 23 around town