Used 2016 Audi A7 Review

Edmunds expert review

Beautiful design alone makes the 2016 Audi A7 a desirable luxury car. But if you're not easily swayed by looks, the A7's exceptional interior room and quality, handy hatchback trunk and refined performance should charm your pragmatic side. Although that sleek, sloping roof line eats up some rear headroom, the A7 is still one of the best picks in the class. Read on to see if the A7 could be your next car.




What's new for 2016

The 2016 Audi A7 receives revised front and rear styling, a standard power-adjustable steering wheel, standard LED headlights, a more capable infotainment system with 4G mobile WiFi and USB audio connectivity, expanded interior trim options and available massaging front seats. Also, the gas-powered 3.0T engine has been revised to produce 23 extra horsepower and improved fuel economy.

Vehicle overview

Our review of last year's Audi A7 was pretty glowing, so it's hard to see how the 2016 A7 needs any improvement. But Audi has updated its sleek hatchback luxury sedan anyway, no doubt seeking to keep the A7 as appealing as possible. We're quite OK with that.

Outside, the 2016 A7 gets a mild restyling with reshaped LED headlights, a sharper trapezoidal grille and a new rear fascia with tweaked taillights and trapezoidal exhaust outlets. Inside, the Multi Media Interface (MMI) infotainment system gains quicker processing power, and Audi's proprietary iPod cable has been replaced by USB audio connectivity, bringing the A7 into line with industry norms. Audi has even revised the A7's supercharged 3.0-liter V6 to produce 23 more hp than last year and 2-3 mpg higher fuel economy.

The 2016 Audi A7 can be identified by its newly shaped LED headlights.

Other A7 strengths remain intact. The TDI diesel V6 engine, for example, is outstanding, providing a possibly unprecedented blend of performance and efficiency. Don't believe us? Consider that it launches the A7 to 60 mph in less than 6 seconds and returns about the same fuel economy as the Dodge Dart economy sedan. Standard sure-footed traction from Audi's all-wheel drive makes the A7 a viable option in any climate, while the richly decorated interior is one of the nicest you'll find in this price range. The only real catch is that rear headroom suffers relative to the mechanically identical A6 sedan, and you can get a comparable A6 for thousands less.

Of course, the sedan's a wallflower by comparison, and it also can't compete with the A7's versatile hatchback trunk. In fact, apples to apples, the only true rival out there is the Porsche Panamera, which plays in a higher league pricewise. There are other so-called "four-door coupes," and that brings the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class and BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe into play. Both are clearly compelling in terms of style and speed, but their sedan-style trunks come up short for carrying cargo; moreover, the Benz's interior seems rather plain. Although no car is a no-brainer in this prestigious class, the even better 2016 A7 could prove mighty tough to resist.




Trim levels & features

The 2016 Audi A7 is available in two trim levels -- Premium Plus and Prestige -- for both the 3.0T and TDI engines. The higher-performance 2016 Audi S7 and 2016 Audi RS 7 are reviewed separately.

Standard equipment on the Premium Plus includes 19-inch wheels, Audi Drive Select (providing adjustable settings for steering, accelerator and transmission response), Audi Pre Sense Basic and Rear (see "Safety," below), a blind-spot warning system, automatic adaptive LED headlights, LED running lights and taillights, a power liftgate, automatic wipers, auto-dimming power-folding heated mirrors, a sunroof, front and rear parking sensors, an adaptive rear spoiler and keyless entry and ignition.

Inside you'll find four-zone automatic climate control, a power-adjustable steering wheel with shift paddles, leather upholstery, heated eight-way power seats (with four-way driver lumbar adjustment), driver memory settings, an 8-inch motorized pop-up display screen, a rearview camera, a navigation system with voice controls, Audi Connect (providing Google Earth-enhanced navigation, Google search functions, smartphone-app integration and 4G LTE with mobile WiFi hotspot capability), the MMI infotainment system with console-mounted controls, Bluetooth and a 10-speaker audio system with a CD player, satellite radio and USB audio connectivity.

As with many other Audi vehicles, the 2016 A7 boasts a handsome and high-quality interior.

The Prestige adds LED ambient interior lighting, ventilated front seats with passenger lumbar adjustments, a head-up display and a 14-speaker Bose audio system.

Most A7 options come bundled in various packages. The Cold Weather package includes heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel. The S Line Sport package adds special 19-inch wheels, sport-themed exterior styling flourishes, a firmer suspension and an available add-on Black Optic package that contributes 20-inch wheels and high-gloss black trim on the grille and window surrounds. The Driver Assistance package includes automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, Audi Pre Sense Plus (including a forward collision mitigation system with automatic braking), a corner-view camera system (front and rear) and lane-keeping assist.

Two bundles are available only on the Prestige. The Individual Contour Seating package throws in upgraded leather and 14-way power front seats with massage and memory functions, while the Audi Design Selection package adds distinctive walnut inlays and extended leather trim.

The Prestige's Bose audio system is a standalone option on the Premium Plus, while both are eligible for 20-inch wheels and rear side airbags. The Prestige enjoys exclusive access to an infrared night vision display, power-closing doors and a 15-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system.



Performance & mpg

The 2016 Audi A7 offers a choice of two engines: a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 (3.0T) and a turbocharged 3.0-liter diesel V6 (TDI). The supercharged, gasoline-fueled engine generates 333 hp and 325 pound-feet of torque, while the diesel TDI pumps out 240 hp and 428 lb-ft of torque. All A7s come with all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission.

In Edmunds performance testing, an A7 3.0T accelerated to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds, which is very quick for this class of car with a six-cylinder engine. It's also 0.6 second quicker than the pre-2016 version with its 310-hp rating. An A7 TDI hit 60 mph in 5.8 seconds at our test track, a few tenths slower than Audi's estimate but still remarkably swift by diesel standards.

EPA fuel economy estimates for the A7 3.0T stand at 24 mpg combined (20 city/30 highway), a startling 4-mpg increase from last year despite carryover mechanicals and an added 23 hp. The A7 TDI gains a single mpg, checking in at an exceptional 30 mpg combined (25 city/38 highway). We nearly matched that on the Edmunds evaluation route with 28.9 mpg.

Safety

Standard safety equipment on the 2016 Audi A7 includes antilock disc brakes, stability control, a blind-spot warning system, front and rear parking sensors, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and front knee airbags. Rear side airbags are a standalone option, while the Driver Assistance package adds adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability, a corner-view camera system and lane-keeping assist.

The standard Audi Pre-Sense Basic system warns the driver, tensions the seatbelts and closes the windows if a potential collision is detected, while the Pre-Sense Rear system (also standard) uses the brake light to warn traffic behind the vehicle in the event of a rear collision. The Audi Pre Sense Plus system (included in the Driver Assistance package) can do all that, plus fully tighten the seatbelts and automatically apply the brakes full-force to mitigate the severity of an imminent crash.

In Edmunds brake testing, we evaluated both an A7 3.0T and an A7 TDI with 20-inch wheels and summer tires came to a stop from 60 mph in 106 feet. That's impressive, no doubt, but expect a longer distance with the standard all-season tires and 19-inch wheels.

Driving

Regardless of which powertrain you choose, the 2016 Audi A7 can pass slow-moving traffic in what seems like a blink of an eye. The supercharged 3.0T is a stunning engine in its own right, providing nearly instantaneous throttle response that its turbocharged rivals can only dream of. But we find the A7 TDI particularly endearing, as it delivers one of the most thrilling diesel driving experiences in automotive history. With 103 more lb-ft of torque than the gas engine, most of it on tap as soon as you start rolling, the TDI V6 blasts away from stoplights and dispatches highway dawdlers with ease. This is a genuine high-performance car that just happens to use diesel fuel instead of gasoline. Furthermore, the loud, trucklike clatter indicative of diesel engines is absent in the ultra-quiet A7, and although you do hear a distinctive growl when you really lay into the throttle, that's a rare event given the diesel's massive well of torque.

Every A7 comes with Audi's Drive Select feature, which alters throttle response, transmission shift characteristics and steering effort via on four different modes: Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and Individual. We've found it a challenge to dial in exactly the right settings for our taste, and the steering feel doesn't impress us in any of the settings. Along with this dull steering, a hefty curb weight and sizable exterior prevent the A7 from feeling like a sport sedan. You can hustle it along, but it doesn't offer much enjoyment or engagement in return. We therefore suggest sticking with the smaller 19-inch wheels, as they provide a suppler ride and won't appreciably detract from the A7's real-world handling.

Interior

The A7's interior is thoughtfully designed and tightly constructed, with excellent materials quality. Subtle wood accents add to the premium feel, as does the comprehensive red backlighting at night. Audi's familiar Multi Media Interface (MMI) controls audio, communication and navigation functions via a dash-mounted pop-up screen and a knob and buttons on the center console. There's also a touchpad that includes radio preset numbers and allows you to enter letters and numbers into the navigation system using handwriting. In total, MMI boasts logical menus and crisp graphics, and after a short time it seems relatively intuitive.

The A7 is also equipped with Audi Connect, which includes 4G LTE data connectivity with mobile WiFi for up to eight devices, Google Earth data for the navigation system and simplified Google search for POIs. The Google Earth feature is a cool concept, but in practice it's an example of form over function, as the "enhanced" map can be more difficult to comprehend at a glance than a conventional navigation map. We have higher hopes for the new-for-2016 4G integration, as it's bound to be an improvement over the sluggish 3G service provided in previous years.

Fitting five passengers in the A7 is quite feasible, as long as the ones in back aren't very tall. Headroom up front is acceptable, but the sleek, sloping roof line limits rear headroom quite a bit, and it also makes ingress and egress more challenging. Happily, legroom is adequate all around.

The 2016 Audi A7 offers greater cargo-carrying versatility than a regular sedan thanks to its hatchback design.

The A7's hatchback design enables easy loading of luggage and larger items that might not fit in the trunk of a conventional sedan. Official cargo capacity is 24.5 cubic feet, but lowering the rear seatbacks increases that volume significantly.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.