2012 Audi A7

Recently, I went into detail about the Audi A7’s strengths as a Car of Summer. I was impressed by the A7’s tech features, comfortable interior and class-leading cargo space. But since summer generally means road trips, I think it’s important to mention fuel economy.

My trip in the A7 was 499 miles long. On the way, the A7 saw congested city streets and highways that were crowded with weekend drivers. Still, the Audi managed 24 mpg in these mixed conditions, which is two mpg above its combined fuel economy estimate of 22 mpg.

2012 Audi A7 Interior

Luxury large cars seldom get great gas mileage, and according to the EPA, the A7 gets 18 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. Additionally, the A7 comes with standard all-wheel drive. Its supercharged, 3.0-liter V6 generates 310 horsepower, which I thought was plenty of power for highway merging and passing duties. Other automakers frequently offer all-wheel drive versions of cars in this class, but if you’re looking for four-wheel grip and good fuel economy, the A7 is high on the list.

Only the BMW 535i xDrive beats the A7’s estimates with slightly better 19/29 mpg city/highway figures, while rivals like the Cadillac STS AWD and Volvo S80 AWD trail the A7 closely with 18/27 and 18/26 mpg city/highway, respectively.

2012 Audi A7

Granted, taking a large car and adding all-wheel drive generally means you’ll pay a bit more at the pump, and shoppers with a keen eye toward efficiency rather than power and all-wheel drive might prefer rear-wheel drive cars like the BMW 528i, which gets 22 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway.

When you buy a car, where do your priorities lie? Are you willing to sacrifice some performance to get more miles per gallon? Or do options like all-wheel drive and more powerful engines take precedence?