Day Trip to Seattle in an Audi A7

For over a month, I was planning on going up to the Seattle/Tacoma area to visit several museums with my mum. This past weekend, I had the opportunity to get an Audi A7 loaner from Audi Wilsonville and decided to use that to do the drive. That Friday afternoon, I stopped by to sign the paperwork and get the keys to the A7 and noticed something familiar with the car. In fact, it was the same A7 that I had not too long ago.

With that said, the Audi A7 was what I needed to melt away the stress and frustration that had been festering away at me. With Audi Drive Select set to Comfort, a whole collection of Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! podcasts (by the way, I’m also run the Wait Wait Stats Page website) queued up on an SD card and seat heater enabled, the miles flew by. Well, until about 1.5 miles from the Seneca exit in downtown Seattle as traffic came to a complete standstill as road crews had cordoned off a couple of the left lanes. This is where the auto stop/start system kicked in and helped save a bit of petrol. More on that in a bit.

First stop on the itinerary was to visit the Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle Center. The glass work is masterful and how they are installed and illuminated is fantastic. I would love to come back some day and see them at night. After that, we stopped at Macrina Bakery in SODO to pick up some crack, I mean Rosemary Flatbread with Truffle Salt, a couple of scones, a bialy, and other treats. Getting there did include a couple of detours due to construction and the MMI navigation system getting confused a couple of times. By this time, it was getting a bit warm in the Audi A7 and I made use of the ventilated seats to help cool things down a bit. At least for me, it didn’t seem to be quite as effective as other seat coolers, but it helped.

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Next stop, The Museum of Flight at Boeing Field. My biggest interest with the Museum was to check out the airplanes from the WW1 and WW2 eras and the whole space flight genre. It was a treat to see one of the Concorde planes in person and squeezing through the aisle and seeing the cockpit. I took a fair amount of photos while I was there, but haven’t had the chance to process any of them yet. You may see a few pop up on my photography blog at QLP Photography in the coming week or so.

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Afterwards, we headed over to the Museum of Glass in Tacoma to check out their gallery, watch a team of glassblowers work on a couple of pieces and walk through Chihuly Bridge of Glass. We ended our tour of museums with a stop at the LeMay Museum for a member appreciation meetup. Not too long after that, we were back on the road and heading back home.

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The whole trip, plus the jaunt back home from Audi Wilsonville, racked up just under 390 miles on the trip computer. The digital fuel gauge showed a full tank Friday afternoon and only worked its way down to about a quarter tank. After filling the tank back up, which was just under 15 gallons, and doing some maths, I was able to net just about 26.5 MPG. Since most of the driving was on the highway with minor use of cruise control, that came close to the 28 MPG highway rating that the 2013 Audi A7 gets, according to the EPA. Keep in mind, I did have a bit of fun with Drive Select in Dynamic mode while shuttling between Wilsonville and home, as well as between Seattle and Tacoma. The auto stop/start system didn’t get too much of a work out, outside of the bit of the traffic mess that morning.

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The Audi A7 did its job as a cruiser and grand tourer quite well and definitely helped me unwind. My complaints noted in the previous blog post about the A7 still stands, though I would like to add few more:

  • Even though there is a fair amount of rear glass on the hatch, the aggressive rake negates any of its advantages when it comes to rearward visibility. The side mirrors taper a bit too much to compensate for the not-so-great rear view.
  • The seat belt tension in Dynamic is set way too taut when driving in city traffic and/or on bumpy roads. No amount of height adjustment made it feel any better. Thankfully, that can be modified by changing the setting for Drive Select: Individual.
  • Ventilated seats could do with a bit more cooling and seat heaters drop off of maximum after too short of a time.
  • Unlocking the door without using the key seemed to be more finicky than on my Audi S5. There were a couple of times where reaching in to unlock the door would unlock, then lock the door, or, just re-locks the door.

Personally, I still wouldn’t go out of my way to purchase an Audi A7, even with the diesel version coming to the US later this year. I would rather go with the equally well-designed and appointed Audi A6 3.0TDI or save up a bit more and get an S6. The lack of a proper A6 Avant still nags at me, but I suppose Americans just don’t do wagons anymore. Shame.

I would like to thank Audi Wilsonville for the opportunity to drive the Audi A7 for the weekend.

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