Audi A7 Review
The new A7 Sportback from Audi marks the German premium brand's 42nd model after relentlessly expanding its portfolio from 17 variants just ten years ago. It dovetails snugly but conspicuously below the A8 luxury cruiser and above the A6.
This substantial five-door hatchback, with swooping coupe profile, harnesses the upcoming new A6's platform and technology but is elevated above its mainstream stablemate in terms of image, running gear and equipment choice.
From its launch the A7 will be offered only with V6 engines (201bhp and 296bhp 2.8-litre and 3.0-litre petrol units plus 201bhp or 242bhp output 3.0-litre diesel counterparts).
All bar the least powerful front-wheel-drive diesel car apply traction to the road via the quattro all-wheel-drive system and seven speed, twin-clutch, multi-tronic transmissions.
The A7's opulent but restrained interior is a combination of A8 and next generation A6 fixtures and fittings. The word cabin is appropriate with a luxury yacht feel to it although one model featured quaint grey and black walnut trim, with a distressed driftwood look.
There's a decent amount of standard equipment in the SE version of the more powerful 3.0-litre V6 diesel including electric adjustable heated leather seats, sat nav and 18-inch alloys, but our car also came with nearly £26,000 worth of extra kit. The most innovative of which was the pioneering Google map guidance system, adaptive headlights and a head up display incorporating night vision. Plus air suspension costing £2,000.
Weight and complexity ruled out applying the twindoor hatch/saloon format used on corporate cousin the Skoda Superb so the A7's occupants do face exposure to the elements via the open tailgate. The Audi's arcing roofline restricts rear headroom and anyone over six feet tall will develop a stoop after much distance.
By virtue of a weight-saving 20 percent aluminium element in the A7, the 3.0-litre diesel is theoretically capable of 47mpg and a respectable sub 160g/km CO2 rating.
Its non-politically correct appeal lies in how the seamless seven-speed sequential transmission exploits the pleasantly gruff V6's pulling power. A cross-country dash over quiet, variable surface switchback roads belies the car's bulk. Its wheelbase contributes to that poise. Select sports gearing and sling-shotting between corners becomes the norm.
The supercharged petrol is naturally faster off its mark but its protected environment is perhaps on de-restricted German autobahns where 100mph cruising is the norm. Both cars stop as well as they accelerate.
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