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Audi bets you’ll pay extra for the A7's design and tech upgrades

Is a beautiful design worth an extra $9,000?

Logically, you should buy the lower-cost Audi A6. I made an argument that when it comes to the A6 and A7. They share the same powertrain. They handle nearly identically. The problem is, we don't buy cars based on logic. Which is good news for the wonderful looking A7.

The Audi A7 (starting at $68,000) looks spectacular. When you look at the A6 and A7 together, the A7 is just a cooler car. The low-slung Sportback design looks like it slices through the wind with ease. The four-door sedan resembles a coupe. Sort of like Mercedes CLA but without the "coupe" moniker. But it's also a hatchback -- it actually has a hatchback for the trunk. The entire rear window and rear of the vehicle swing up. It's huge and it's also part of the A7's charm.

It needs those bits of luxury and wonderment to stand out from the A6 since it shares quite a lot of performance specifications with the less expensive vehicle. The A7 has the same turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine found in the A6. Like its more cost efficient sibling, it outputs 335 horsepower and 369 foot-pounds of torque. But that extra styling (and giant hatch) adds weight. The A6 will go from zero to 60 in 5.1 seconds. The A7 does the same in 5.2 seconds. In other words, you won't notice.

You also probably won't notice the hidden adaptive wing that appears at speeds above 75 miles per hour. If you're not breaking the speed laws of most states, you wouldn't even know that it was there. Sure you want to look like you're ready to go fast at a moments notice, but it's also important to play it James Bond cool.

The interior also conveys a bit of tech chic. Audi says it removed 43 buttons that were found on the previous generation A7. The result is a cleaner cabin that's comfortable while leaning towards a minimalist aesthetic that tilts the controls and displays towards the driver. My only real issue with the physical interior is Audi's continued use of an almost hidden stalk for adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist.

The screens are just as well thought out, like the A6 it has Audi's latest MMI infotainment system. I'd already written about the impressive system in the A6 but as a reminder here goes (again). The system uses two displays. The top touchscreen serves up all the usual infotainment system information: Navigation, media, vehicle settings. The bottom screen houses the climate controls and favorites. It also now has better voice control so you can say things like "I'm cold" and it'll turn up the temperature. Or you can tap yourself warm.

Typically I'd want physical buttons to adjust the temperature in a car, but Audi does a commendable job placing the touchscreen ahead of the gear shift so you can rest your wrist while navigating climate controls.

When I wasn't trying to find the right temperature I was whipping the A7 around Napa's backroads. I drove the European spec version earlier in the year and it felt like the steering was tighter in the US-ready vehicle I drove. I also spent a lot of time on the Autobahn with the European A7 so that might have had something to do with it. Regardless, the steel suspension lends itself to not-quite-as-aggressive-as-BMW handling coupled with an understanding that most folks that buy this car want to feel pampered while cruising through town.

Overall the A7 luxury sportsback sedan hits all the right marks. It handles well at speed without sacrificing the polished luxury ride buyers expect from a car in this segment. Audi's latest MMI pairs nicely with the exterior design that again, looks outstanding. And yes, the A6 is about $9,000 cheaper for the same engine, MMI, interior and handling. That's the logical choice. But have you seen the A7? Because it'll quickly make you throw logic out the window.

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