ROAD TEST REPORT AND REVIEW: AUDI A7 SPORTBACK
Ideal for a cross-Europe holiday jaunt or business trip, DAVID HOOPER, editor of wheelworldreviews.co.uk, puts Audi’s sleek new A7 Sportback to the test.
THIS sleek new model from Audi is an impressive beast, both to look at and to drive, yet it managed to divide opinion among my friends and family.
Some said it looked like an old man’s car, while others ridiculed that suggestion, insisting it looked anything but.
Everybody’s tastes are different. If we were all the same, it would be a boring old world, and whatever your view on the new A7 Sportback, one thing is for certain, this is one luxury limo which makes a tremendous long-distance travelling companion. It simply eats up the miles and delivers you to your destination as fresh as you were when you started your journey.
If you were planning a cross-Europe trip, an A7 would be the perfect tool for the job and is capable of cruising at high speeds for hours on end without breaking into a sweat.
Inside there are only four seats, but the sort of people who will buy this car will probably only carry passengers occasionally. When they do, if those passengers come with luggage, the boot should be up to the job. At first glance it doesn’t look that big, but it is reasonably deep and quite long, so will swallow a couple of cases and plenty of other clobber without too much difficulty. The A7 should also remain something of a rarity on our roads, so if you like a touch of exclusivity, this would also be a good choice. It competes with the Mercedes CLS or BMW’s 5 GT, but Audi only expects to sell around 3,000 A7s a year, so yours is likely to be the only one in any car park.
All A7s feature a six-cylinder engine, either 2.8 or 3.0-litre petrol or 3.0-litre TDIs, with either 204 or 245PS, and boast the latest Quattro system first seen in the RS5. The performance is effortless and the car pulls like a train in the mid range, making overtaking slower A-road traffic the simplest and safest of operations. A quick press of the pedal and it’s job done with the minimum of fuss. The power just surges through the drivetrain, and cruising on the motorway is done in virtual silence with minimal wind noise.
The car’s body uses a a mix of aluminium and steel which is a first for Audi, and has helped achieve a C02 emissions figure of 139g/km and a combined fuel consumption figure of 53.3mpg, which is impressive for such a big car.
A Stop/Start system also helps to keep its fuel consumption down to a minimum, but the engine cutting out every time you stop at traffic lights, or in a traffic queue, takes a bit of getting used to. It’s not a problem though, and during my few days with the car, it restarted promptly every time my foot came off the brake pedal.
Other firsts for the A7 range include the options of Google Earth mapping in the sat nav, a head-up display and even night vision is an option. Parallel park assist, seen on other VW Group products also makes its debut for Audi on the A7. The parallel parking system wasn’t featured on the model I tested, but I have seen it working on other cars I’ve tested and it is brilliant, especially when the steering wheel rotates on its own as the car parks itself. The system could be a real boon on a car the size of the A7.
Big, powerful, fast, comfortable and capable – the A7 does the lot, and in my opinion does it with a degree of style that its rivals lack.
The bill for the extras totted up, however. It included £1,000 for the smart 19in alloys, £680 for the full leather interior, with ventilated seats which can blow warm or cold air through the cushions, and almost £1,200 for the excellent MMI interface, but I do think that charging £750 for metallic paint is a bit top end.
If you’re in the market for an executive car, and only need four seats, then I doubt you would be disappointed. The interior is user friendly and looks as classy as anything in this price bracket, but you will need deep pockets as they don’t come cheap. The model I’ve been driving costs £54,980, but what price do you put on individuality?
THE VITAL STATISTICS
MODEL: A7 Sportback 3.0 TDI quattro SE S tronic.
AUDI A7 RANGE: From 3.0 TDI SE 5dr (£43,755) to 3.0 TFSI quattro S line 5dr (£49,860).
ENGINE: 2967cc, 245PS V6 engine, driving four wheels through 7-speed S tronic gearbox.
CO2 EMISSIONS: 158g/km.
PERFORMANCE: Top speed 155mph. 0-62mph in 6.3 secs.
ECONOMY: City: 39.2mpg.
Fuel tank: 65 litres.
INSURANCE: Group 40.
WARRANTY: 3 years/60,000 miles.
• All data correct at time of publication.