Two expensive luxury vehicles with quiet energy, ample girth, and the newest in electronic aids offer buyers a radically different choice in sedans in the upper $70,000 range. For as much as the basics are the same, the manufacturers clearly have two different buyers in mind. The Lexus LS is lush with comfort and effortless performance in mind. The Audi A7 is ready to play and offers passengers a stunning interior and an exterior that are contemporary and eye-catching. The Audi is sleek with substance and style, the Lexus LS is conservative with comfort and solitude in mind. So we have two exceedingly contrasting tacts on luxury sedans that offer consumers a rich choice.
Audi has a knack for creating beautiful interiors and its infotainment system is easy to master with a dash-mounted pop-up screen as well as knob and buttons on the center console and a touch pad that enables you to use handwriting. Not the easiest system, but works quickly. Audi Connect offers mobile WiFi for several devices. The best feature is a navigation system that uses Google Earth data. The GPS is fairly easy to operate. The slope of the sedan’s roof does limit rear headroom some, but legroom is generous. The trunk is large and the rear seats fold down. There are lots of storage areas and the interior is understated and useful without being garish. The Lexus trunk space is a bit shy of the Audi’s, but quite ample. The Lexus rear seats do not fold down and that prevents longer packages. At my age it is easier to get in and out of the Lexus, but the sexy image of the Audi A7 may be worth the battle.
We tested the Audi A7’s 333 horsepower, supercharged, V6 engine and it was very responsive, nearly turbine like in feel. The Audi came with all-wheel drive and an eight-speed transmission. Acceleration to 60 mph came in under six seconds and delivered well over 25 mpg in mixed driving. Our rear-drive Lexus LS was powered by a 4.6-liter V8 engine that produced 386 horsepower, although all-wheel drive is an option. An eight-speed transmission is standard. The Lexus is a little slower and gets about 21 mpg in mixed driving. Both engines are serene and smooth. However, the Audi is very much a driver’s car with your choose of Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and Individual settings. The A7 has a great feel to it, handles well, and has enough grunt to make passing less stressful. Add to this its exceptional fuel mileage, ample trunk, and good looks make it a top luxury car sedan pick. The LS is quiet, reassuring, and has a huge centrally located monitor. It isn’t as quick as the Audi, but plenty fast overall. The build quality, exceptional customer reviews, and top ranking by Lexus owners make it a safe bet. If you want more “feel” just use the Drive Mode Select knob that can alter engine, suspension and steering settings to your mood or you can opt for the F model which offers a sportier feel. The Lexus does everything you could ask for, but the Audi does it with a bit more panache.
Young working woman’s view:
I recommend getting every safety feature you can afford. The Audi offers a plethora of items including adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, night vision camera, corner-view camera, forward collision warning with automatic braking, anti-lock disc brakes, stability control, a blind-spot warning system, front and rear parking sensors, Pre-Sense Plus system that can tighten the seatbelts and apply the brakes in an impending crash and airbags everywhere. Not to be outdone, the Lexus LS offers nearly identical safety features with rear cross-traffic alert and adaptive cruise control which can also prepare the vehicle for potential crashes. Good brakes, good crash scores and even top scores for rear passenger whiplash protection are Lexus attributes. In this case I would go with the Lexus as it had better visibility and made me feel more comfortable, but my heart belongs to the A7.
Young working male’s view:
Finishing up my degree in computer security I am really amazed at the amount of electronics vehicle manufacturers are putting into their products. For example, Audi has standard quad-zone automatic climate control, a sunroof, Bluetooth, a 10-speaker audio system, satellite radio, a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, an 8-inch display screen, navigation, and two USB ports. The Lexus is quietly elegant with exceptional materials and fit. A computer mouse-like devise controls a variety of functions displayed on the giant 12.3-inch monitor. It is a little complicated, but can be mastered easily with practice. Regardless of which vehicle you select, don’t leave the dealership without a thorough explanation of how these technologies operate as well as having them show you how the automatic braking system works. These cars are not on my wish list, but their brothers are in the form of the Audi S4 and the Lexus ES Hybrid. Now if I can just find a job.
Comparing the Lexus to the Audi put us in a quandary because they are so different and yet appeal to the same socioeconomic luxury sedan buyer. The Lexus is quiet, spacious, and gentle. If you want to sit back and relax during your travels, the LS can do that with ease. And with dealer service ratings at the top of the grid, it means ownership can be even more relaxing. If you want a bit more attention and a bit more sport in your daily drives, the Audi A7 can provide that dish and throw in some great gas mileage as well. Some notable differences are that the Lexus has a tidier turning radius making parking easier in tight situations. Audi has a shorter powertrain warranty, 50,000/4years to the Lexus’ 70,000/6years and the fuel tank is larger. The Audi’s hatchback design makes it easier to haul larger items and the variety of engines the A7 comes with can also alter its personality with your mood. There is the base 333 V6 to the optional Audi RS 7 that generates upwards of 560 horsepower, but that’s another story. Bottom line: The Audi A7 is trendy, exciting, and tempting. The Lexus LS 460 is old school, but not old. It does everything well and doesn’t make a fuss.
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