BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi are the German automotive trio whose insightful, forward-thinking designers have set themselves apart from the rest of the pack by creating some of the past century’s most iconic prestige driving machines. The enviable niche these OEMs have built has consistently relied on a blend of three important qualities: luxury, reliability and performance. And now, with a growing concern for preventing climate change, they’ve added a fourth quality to their product lines: electrification.
The Audi A7 lives up to all the expectations of a luxury sedan in every way possible. When you’re thinking of elegantly-designed, aggressive-looking sportbacks, few come to mind as quickly as the A7. It’s strongly-creased side doors, sharply-sculpted shoulder line, sloping roofline and four frameless doors have taken Streamline Ethos to the max.
For 2021, Audi is offering a plug-in hybrid version of this handsome car, called the A7 55 TFSI e. With a total range of 464 miles; 24 of them pure electric, the A7 PHEV provides emotional design, excellent functionality and a touch of green, making it a compelling choice for the eco-minded. The A7’s sleek, aerodynamic exterior and comfortable interior create a perfect blend of sedan and hatchback, completely smudging the line between the two categories.
The A7 55 TFSI e comes in 2 trims: Premium Plus (MSRP: $74,900) and Prestige (MSRP: $80,250).
The stylish, electrified sportback is equipped with a 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, a 14.1kWh Lithium-Ion battery and an electric motor which combined, provide 362hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. The PHEV's powertrain is paired with Quattro all-wheel drive and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Predictive Efficiency Assist auto-adjusts driving parameters to help maximize the car’s EV range. The accelerator pedal’s haptic feedback and visual cues in the head-up display help the driver make efficient use of the car’s regenerative braking, which feeds power back to the e-battery. Charging time is 7 hours with 220/240V.
Because it’s a premium luxury car, you’d assume the A7 PHEV was built to favor ride quality over handling. But with highly-precise steering and a finely-tuned suspension that deftly absorbs road shock, it’s a cinch to maneuver. Test drivers say it has excellent “driveability.”
Beyond being beautiful to look at, reviewers say the 5-door liftback’s hybrid power and handling give it an incredibly smooth ride as well. U.S. News & World Report says, “The Audi A7 has exceptional driving dynamics. It feels agile and composed, even on tight switchback roads. The steering is crisp and responsive, and the large brakes slow down the A7 assertively. The suspension does a nice job of soaking up bumps and dips in the road, especially in models with the standard 20-inch wheels. The optional air suspension improves ride comfort further, and it even takes the sting out of rough pavement in models with the 21- and 22-inch wheels. Overall, the A7 is entertaining to drive when you want to hustle, and it’s still comfy and relaxing when you don’t.”
Car and Driver reviewers summarize their A7 experience as an “ethereal ride.” You can’t get much better than that.
The car’s advanced All-Wheel-Drive system provides superb traction in wet and dry conditions. Braking performance is top-notch; large disc brakes slow the PHEV assertively. For a luxury car, fuel economy is decent at 22/30/26MPG for City/Highway/Combined. Its MPGe (EPA-estimated fuel economy for hybrids and EVs) is 68.
A set of 20-inch wheels with all-season tires are now standard on the base model. 21-inch wheels are optional.
24.9 cubic feet of cargo space lie beneath the car’s rear liftgate. With the rear seats folded flat, you can accommodate bulkier items, like bicycles. One test driving team got two bicycles inside! The A7 offers more cargo space than any other large luxury car, and its cargo-storing abilities are on a par with more expensive vehicles such as the Porsche Panamera.
The A7 PHEV is equipped with a futuristic dual touchscreen infotainment system; an 8.8-inch touchscreen which controls navigation, the radio and smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; and an 8.6-inch touchscreen which adjusts climate controls and vehicle settings. No more nob-based controls! Nowadays, operational menus are switching to screen controls that use haptic feedback – the subtle vibration caused by your fingertips making taps or swipes.
The cabin looks elegant and high-tech without going overboard. High-end materials such as brushed metal, wood, leather and soft plastic compliment the interior. Reviewers say the car has some of the nicest cabin materials in its class.
The PHEV’s 2 front seats are supportive and offer ample leg and headroom. The rear seats are ultra-comfortable and provide plenty of legroom, though headroom can be snug for taller passengers because of the sloping roofline. Noise caused by wind and the road are negligible at high speeds in the A7’s interior. When the Plug-In is driving in Electric Mode, it’s close to silent.
• Standard infotainment features include: the 2 touchscreens, navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, a USB port, HD Radio, and satellite radio.
• Available infotainment features include: a 10.1-inch upper touchscreen, a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster (Audi Virtual Cockpit), 16- and 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen stereo systems, and wireless device charging.
• Additional standard features include: keyless entry, push-button start, a power liftgate, tri-zone automatic climate control, ambient interior lighting, and a sunroof
• Other available features include: power soft-closing doors, quad-zone automatic climate control, and rear sunshades
The Driver Assistance features in the A7 PHEV use front and rear cameras and an array of sensors to keep you aware of your surroundings. The available systems can inform the driver of potential incidents with audio and visual alerts and intervene with steering and braking input.
The A7 PHEV starts out in Electric Mode and drives that way up to certain speeds and driving conditions until it determines which mode is optimal for getting the best mileage. It makes decisions based on info from the navigation system, such as local speed limits, the type of road being driven and digital traffic info.
U.S. News & World Report says: “Yes, the 2021 Audi A7 is a great car. The A7 has a dazzling interior with top-notch materials, comfy seats, and a large hatchback cargo area. It rides smoothly over rough pavement yet still feels spry and agile around turns. Audi offers the A7 with a range of powerful yet fuel-efficient engines. Better still, the A7 rates well for predicted reliability, and it’s packed with advanced safety features.”
The A7 PHEV qualifies for a Federal Tax Credit of up to $6,712.
If you want a luxury car that’s beautiful to look at and environmentally conscious, and you’re primarily intending to transport a small family (3-4 passengers), this is an ideal choice.
There are currently 4 primary incentives available to the California consumer that substantially lower the cost of buying or leasing an EV. CURRENT provides all the guidance or assistance you may need to apply for these incentives.