The world’s automakers are finally ready to make the diesel work in the U.S. Or maybe it’s more accurate to say that the world’s automakers need the diesel to work in America.The 2014 A7 risks being overshadowed by the high-powered S7, as well as the track-ready RS7 for the first time in the United States. Buyers may quickly discover that the relatively simple and affordable A7 is the pick of the range. With all the luxury and exterior drama, via a 2014 Black Optics package and S-line trim, the A7 is no wallflower.
Here are the answers: No, they don't hate us. You don't buy wagons, you idiots. Audi's hot rods are wagons. The USA is the A7's biggest market, and the RS7 is the RS6 clad in a deliciously sextastic body. It's basically a no-brainer. Think of the RS7 as the global market RS6, since the 6 is more niche.While U.S. diesel options are increasing, there’s still a long way to go before our market is as varied as Europe’s, where the A6 and A7 are available with a choice of four diesel engines. Here in the Sates, the TDI comes in one spec: a single-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 making 240 horsepower and 428 lb-ft of torque. Audi has fitted the U.S. car with a slightly smaller compressor than the comparable European model to tweak the power curve, sacrificing autobahn power on the top end for low-end responsiveness. It appears to have been a smart move, as the A6 TDI steps off the line smoothly and quickly, with noticeably quicker reactions than Mercedes-Benz’s six-cylinder diesel.The A7 does not have this fashion coupe space all to itself. It is nearly $20,000 cheaper than the Porsche Panamera that packs the same freaky hatchback luxury charm. The A7 also takes aim at the Mercedes-Benz CLS550 Shooting Brake and the BMW 650i Gran Coupe.
The grand-tourer outline gets played here for maximum practicality. Subtle details distinguish the base cars from the uber models: chrome grilles become black honeycombs, simple exhausts tap out for diffusers and oval tailpipes, and matte aluminum and carbon replace gloss black trim. The dash is a chorus of cutlines, but Audi's mastery of materials carries it off without a hint of chaos.The RS7 will start at $104,900 when it goes on sale in the USA this fall. Audi considers competition to be the M6 Gran Coupe and CLS63 AMG. I'd also throw the Panamera Turbo in there. That's a tough class, and the choice comes down to personal preference.
We like diesels. We like the big torque and the excellent real-world fuel economy. But the notion that anyone is buying a $60,000 sedan with a heavy environmental conscience or a pragmatic economic analysis is a stretch. Performance sells cars in this price range. Civilized and torquey as it is, the TDI engine doesn’t have the immediacy of the gas-fueled supercharged V-6, an engine that sets an industry standard for its instant throttle response, supreme linearity, and excellent power delivery.This year, the A7 adopts two new models into its breathtakingly pretty lineup, and one finishes that oxygen.