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A-OK Times Seven

The 2012 Audi A7

Although Audi’s naming system may not be very colorful, it’s to the point. The A3 is their smallest car line available in America, and the A8 the largest. That being said, I have to say that the A7, subject of this week’s review, is by far the best-looking Audi you can buy.

I’ll even go so far to say that it was one of (if not the) best-looking cars at this year’s Buffalo Auto Show. Especially in black—no, wait, not just black, but Phantom Black Pearl Effect, which also happened to be the color not only of my test car but of every A7 on the lot at Schmitt’s Audi on the day I visited. And why not? Give the people what they want. Needless to say, there are other colors available, including the interestingly named Oolong Gray Metallic and a stunning Garnet Red Pearl Effect. The test car also had a black interior, with a light-colored Layered Oak wood trim that resembled something you might find on a boat. I imagine the also wonderfully named Velvet Beige Dark Carpet interior would have been a great choice, too.

The A7 is of the rather newly formed “four-door coupe” styling school. Although it’s an oxymoron—a coupe by definition has two doors—one must admit, standing back, that it certainly has the lines of a sleek two-door. But that doesn’t inhibit the interior space at all. The A7 is a large car—not huge, but large, and getting in and out of it is no problem. And once you’re in there, you’ll be glad you came. The interior is very inviting to the senses—sight, sound, and touch. Although I’m not a fan of bolt-upright navigation screens popping up out of the middle of the dash, it is easy to read. The wood, as I mentioned, is very attractive, and a small band of it even runs across the top of the dash above all the instrumentation. The A7 is one of the quietest cars I’ve driven in a while. Sales guy Alex Michaelidis took me on some of Lancaster’s bumpiest back roads, where the A7 masked out not only most of the noise but the jarring I would have felt in my own car. The leather seats were very accommodating, and I could well imagine myself driving one of these on a long trip without ever tiring of it.

While on those back roads, we switched the driving mode from comfort to a more sporting setting, with immediate results in both the steering and handling of the car. Power came from Audi’s 3.0-liter supercharged V-6, which boasts an advertised time of zero-to-60 in 5.4 seconds with a top speed of 130 miles per hour. Connected to the V-6 is an eight-speed Tiptronic, one of the smoothest shifting automatic transmissions I’ve experienced. This powerplant will yield an EPA-estimated 18/28 miles per gallon city/highway, not bad at all for this type of a car. All of this turns the wheels of the famous Audi Quattro permanent all-wheel drive system, which not only aids traction during inclement weather, but also gives the A7 a surefootedness on dry pavement.

As you can imagine, with a starting price of $59,250, the A7 comes with an arm’s-length of features, which we’ll just try and highlight here: 18-inch wheels; xenon plus headlights with LED Daytime Running Lights; three-zone automatic climate control; power sunroof; power, heated front seats with driver lumbar support; and an automatic power tailgate. The Prestige package on the test car also added 19-inch, 10-spoke wheels; four-zone climate control; ventilated front seats; adaptive headlights and cornering lights; and a BOSE surround sound system. The test car stickered out at $68,180. You could probably pay more for something else and not enjoy it as much.

No wonder Esquire magazine named the A7 its Car of the Year last year. I might just name it mine this year.

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Read more of Jim Corbran's You Auto Know every other week in Artvoice, and more frequently on Artvoice Daily.

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