The interior layout, fit and finish
A supportive, electrically powered driver’s seat with four-way lumbar adjustment is standard, as is plenty of steering wheel adjustment, so finding a decent driving position will be easy for most drivers.
The view forward is good thanks to thin windscreen pillars and bright LED headlights, which help you peer far into the dark at night. And while the A7’s sloping roofline is a limiting factor for seeing out the back, it's easier to see what's behind than it is in a CLS. Front and rear parking sensors are standard, as is a reversing camera.
Meanwhile, interior quality is top-notch and equal to the BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo. And while the Mercedes CLS has a more flamboyant design, the A7’s plastics, chrome accents, slick switches and leather surfaces are arguably just as swish but more consistently of a higher grade. It really is every bit as nice as Audi’s A8 flagship.
That also means you get the A8’s infotainment system, and this is both good news and bad. It’s made up of two touchscreens: the top one measuring 10.1in and looking after radio, sat-nav and smartphone mirroring functions; the 8.6in screen below is reserved for the climate controls, heated seats and a few other occasionally-used features.
As touchscreens go, both are good, with razor-sharp graphics and quick responses, but they're far too distracting to use on the move. That's because, despite haptic feedback that confirms your selections, you can't learn to use them more or less by feel, as you can with physical buttons. Instead, you have to look away from the road, find the right icon and guide your finger to it. The screens also get covered in greasy finger marks.
Ultimately, the rotary-dial controlled iDrive system in the 6 Series GT lets you keep your eyes on the road more often. On the plus side, all A7's come with in-built navigation, a DAB radio, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring as standard.
We do like Audi’s Virtual Cockpit digital dials, though. These are standard on every A7 and, again, the screen is super sharp. The system allows you to customise the information you’d like to see really easily, using the handy steering wheel buttons.