I’d like to think the bit of extra work I’ve put in over the last few weeks is partially the reason why editor Bidrawn tossed me the key fob to the 2012 Audi A7 and said I could use it for a few days.

He was right; sitting in the driver’s seat feels like sitting in something out of Star Wars. There’s a whole lot happening in the interior. The entry and startup procedures get a whole host of bits and pieces moving automatically: windows, steering column, speakers, MMI display. With the Havanna Black metallic paint, black leather interior and 20-inch wheels and tires; yeah, Darth Vader would drive this car. Not that I’m comparing the A7 to a TIE fighter. It’s more like a Republic Assault Ship.

The Space Travel Premium package is not an Audi option—maybe with the next generation—so I have to stick to what it was like on terra firma. I’m more apt to take a longer but less-congested route or freeways very early or very late in the day instead of sitting in traffic. And boy did that work out well with the Audi. Though the A7 is not the quickest car out of the hole, it will cruise along at freeway speeds—or greater—all day and night without complaint. Not to get all green and hippie-like, but for one stretch of freeway driving the A7 returned an indicated 30+ mpg while cruising along at a steady 70 mph.

That’s not to say the Audi A7 doesn’t shine in the city. It does. Since I only had it for a few days I tried to run as many little exercises and errands as I could. Normally right after work I grab a bite for dinner. So I called up some friends and we all piled into the A7 and headed to Shoreline Village in Long Beach for some seafood. Anyone who’s driven in Long Beach knows that parking and navigating the car-lined streets can be frustrating. Not so bad this time. The speed-sensitive steering and Quattro all-wheel-drive system belie the A7’s 16-foot overall length and 4,200-pound weight. Agile and nimble best describe its behavior as we navigated the downtown streets.

I’m not sure I have a minor shellfish allergy or if Vader wanted his ride back, but a sudden, irritating tickle in my throat got me thinking that it was time to call it an evening. So I dropped my friends off at their home, turned up the bangin’ Bang & Olufsen stereo and hit PCH for a late-night cruise back home.

2012 Audi A7 3.0 TFSI Quattro

Layout
Longitudinal front engine, all-wheel drive

Engine
3.0-liter V6, dohc, 24-valve, supercharged

Transmission
Eight-speed Tiptronic automatic

MSRP: $59,250

Price as Tested: $80,130

Performance
Peak Power: 310 hp @ 5500 rpm
Peak Torque: 325 lb-ft @ 2900 rpm
0-60 mph: 5.4 sec.
Top Speed: 130 mph (limited)
Fuel Economy: 18 city/28 hwy

By Bill Klein
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