This is the car that Audi hopes will take sales from the segment-blurring Mercedes-Benz CLS and BMW 5-Series Gran Turismo and will continue the Ingolstadt firm’s evolution of its ‘big car’ design: the new A7 Sportback.
The A7 Sportback is designed to fill a niche between the A6 and A8. It offers big-car interior packaging for four people, the practicality of a rear hatch, a sizeable boot and what Audi calls a ‘four-door coupé’ shape.
Based on extended A6 underpinnings the A7 measures 4.97m long, 1.91-metres wide and 1.42m high, which is 17cm shorter and 4cm narrower than the A8. At 2.91 metres, the wheelbase is around 8cm shorter than the regular A8’s, but longer than the current A6’s by a similar amount.
The A7 was previewed by a concept at the Detroit show last year, and the production car sticks closely to the show model’s appearance. It’s likely that the next generation of A6 will sit on the same platform.
Its looks are dominated by a deep front grille, a low nose, narrow headlights, a sharp crease that runs along its flanks from nose to tail, and a bootline that tails off quickly, minimising the rear overhang. That last element, and a distinctive lip on the third side window, reference Audi’s 100 Coupé from the 1970s.
Underneath the bonnet Audi will offer a range of V6s – two petrol and two turbo diesel, with the opening range focusing on efficiency. All four V6 engines have direct injection, Audi’s thermal management system, stop-start and brake energy recuperation.
The petrol units are a 2.8-litre V6 with 201bhp and 207lb ft, and a supercharged 3.0-litre V6 producing 295bhp and 325lb ft. They are available with a seven-speed S-tronic transmission and quattro four-wheel drive only. In 3.0 TFSI form the A7 can reach 62mph in 5.6sec and go on to a limited top speed of 155mph. The 2.8 emits 187g/km of CO2 and the 3.0 190g/km.
The line-up will include, as we already said, two V6 diesels. The more potent of the pair comes with four-wheel drive and S-tronic only, and it has 241bhp and 369lb ft of torque. That’s enough for the A7 to crack 0-62mph in 6.5sec and reach a maximum of 155mph.
The lower-powered oil-burner, which will arrive soon after the A7 Sportback’s launch, is being positioned as the eco model in the range. The 201bhp powerplant is available with the same S-tronic/quattro set-up as the other variants, or with the combination of front-wheel drive and Audi’s multitronic CVT transmission.
In this form it emits 139g/km of CO2, returns 53mpg on the combined cycle, hits 62mph in 8.1sec and reaches a top speed of 145mph. It comes with two different torque levels; the front-drive version has 295lb ft, but in quattro trim it produces 332lb ft.
To complete the sporty look Audi will offer the A7 with wheels sized between 18 and 20 inches. A high-performance S7 variant is expected to appear shortly after the initial launch; possibly at the Paris motor show in September. It is tipped to be powered by the company’s 4.2-litre V8 petrol engine from the R8 supercar.
Inside the four occupants will be able to enjoy A8 levels of comfort. The A7 will feature the same advanced MMI (multi media interface) entertainment system, which will include the touchpad that debuted on the A8. The A7 will also utilise the Google Maps integrated satellite navigation system that features in the A8.
The new Audi A7 will be available to order in the UK from 16 August and the first deliveries are expected late in the year. It will be priced from £42,925. [via Telegraph (UK) and Sydney Morning Herald]