The interior layout, fit and finish
A supportive, electrically powered driver’s seat with four-way adjustable lumbar support is standard, as is plenty of steering wheel adjustment, so finding a decent driving position will be easy for most drivers.
The view straight ahead is good, too, thanks to slim 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 when looking back over your shoulder, it's easier to see what's behind you than it is in a CLS. In any case, all models come with front and rear parking sensors and 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 interior design, the A7’s plastics, chrome accents, slick switches and leather surfaces are more consistently of a higher grade. It really is every bit as nice as Audi’s flagship A8.
This 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 the stereo, sat-nav and smartphone mirroring functions; the 8.6in screen below is reserved for the climate controls, heated seats and a few other less frequently used features.
As touchscreens go both are good, with razor-sharp graphics and quick responses – but they are quite distracting to use on the move. That's because, despite haptic feedback that confirms your selections, you have to look away from the road, find the right icon and guide your finger to it.
Ultimately, the rotary-dial controlled iDrive system in the BMW 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, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone mirroring as standard.
We do like Audi’s Virtual Cockpit digital instruments behind the steering wheel. 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.
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