By Frank S. Washington
NNPA Columnist

DETROIT – It is still hard to believe looking at the 2014 Audi A7 that it is a hatchback with its fastback roof. Audi does not use the term when talking about the A7 but technically the four-door coupe qualifies. The car had 24.7 cu. ft. of cargo space and that was with the rear seats up. Audi says the A7 is a five-passenger sedan. But that fifth person will have to sit on an extraordinarily uncomfortable hump. The reality is that the car can tote four people in extreme comfort.

What’s new for this model year is that Audi has equipped the A7 with its 3.0-liter turbocharged diesel engine. This variant made 240 horsepower at 3,500 rpms and 428 pound-feet of torque at 1,750 rpms. Mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, the 2014 Audi TDI could get from a standstill to 60 mph in a brisk 5.5 seconds.
We didn’t try to do that, nor did we try to see if the car could get to its electronically limited top speed of 130 mph. Still, this cast iron engine block with aluminum alloy cylinder heads moved the 4,266-pound Audi A7 TDI with ease.

The car got 24 mpg in the city, 38 mpg on the highway and 29 mpg combine. It is hard to imagine anyone who could afford the $66,900 base price of the 2014 Audi A7 TDI caring much about fuel efficiency. But there are some conscientious types who have a couple of bucks.

No matter the income bracket, just about anybody would love driving the A7 TDI. It had a five-link front suspension and a trapezoidal set up in the rear that had a sport calibration. The car handled the ruts of the urban streets here well. Its electric rack and pinion power steering responded to driver input quickly. It cornered without any body sway, acceleration was assertive without being brutish and the A7 TDI’s ventilated 13.6 inch front brakes and the 13-inch rear brakes brought it to a stop quickly.

Audi’s standout single frame grille dominates the face of the A7 TDI. The company was one of the first and remains one of the best at using LEDs as decorative daytime running lights. The car also had adaptive Xenon headlights.
The A7 prestige package included a four zone climate control system, heated and cooled front seats, cornering lights and blind side assist. Audi’s driver assistance featured adaptive cruise control, lane assist and corner view camera.

As well as providing outside corner views fore and aft, the system had a rearview camera and it provided a view in front of the car. It would also use sensors and cameras to provide an overhead image of the car. The sport package featured 20-inch 10 parallel spoke wheels.

The car was equipped with Audi MMI® touch and its handwriting recognition features, hard and soft keys, dedicated buttons for commonly-used controls and a touchpad that interprets hand-written inputs. We have yet to figure out how to use this intuitively, but we’ll keep trying.

It can take some time to customize all of the Audi A7 TDI’s equipment for your use. We particularly liked the Google Map feature that let us see the area the car was in with a three dimension map that showed roof tops including ours and foliage.

Of course, the car had a smart key with push button start and stop. But the gem of its equipment was a 15-speaker, 1,300 watt Bang & Olufsen® Sound system that had aluminum speaker covers in the doors and tweeters that extended from the corners of the dash board with the startup of the car or when the audio system was turned on. In a word, it was bangin.’

Add all of the optional equipment and our 2014 Audi A7 TDI sticker, with freight charges, climbed to $81,395. And the car seemed worth every cent.

Frank S. Washington is editor of AboutThatCar.com

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