Audi A7 Sportback 2018

Classier looking - technologically-advanced - great efficiency

Audi’s new A7 is powerful – and it’s a classy looker, but how easy is it to live with?

There’s no doubt the A7 is more desirable than the departing model. For a start, it’s more handsome on the outside and the inside; it’s also better to drive. Technology within the car has been ramped up too. Every powerplant now has a mild hybrid tech to boost efficiency. But what’s the purpose of the A7 in Audi’s range? Well, the four-door coupe plugs the gap between the A6 and A8 models, while saying “look at me, I’m more exciting than a saloon”.

Indeed, the car stands out when compared with its booted siblings. This is a good thing if you want to be noticeable in the company carpark. Well, assuming not everyone else at your office has an A7 Sportback.

Behind the wheel, the new A7 feels on-the-ball, thanks to sharper steering and very little body lean in corners. Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive system gives it phenomenal grip, inspiring confidence on different road surfaces and in all kinds of weather. What’s more, hardly a sound from the outside intrudes at motorway speeds. This makes it an excellent car to much hundreds of miles a day in. 

There are just a couple of powerplants on offer with the A7 initially. Both units are six cylinders; one being diesel and the other petrol. They employ the earlier mentioned mild hybrid system, which works via a belt-driven alternator starter. This recaptures energy during coasting or while braking. It then stockpiles it in lithium-ion batteries below the cargo floor. 

The 3.0 TDI is badged 50 TDI - and it’s the car we drove. Despite the demonisation of diesel, Audi claims this oil-burner is likely to account for 80 per cent of sales in the UK. It's evident that this will be the case because the car is a delight to drive. Thanks to V6 muscle and a slick eight-speed automatic transmission, the A7 pulls like a train. Zero to 62mph is achieved in just 5.7 seconds and the top speed is 155mph. Meanwhile, the mild hybrid system boosts the economy by up to 10 per cent, with the diesel returning 50.4mpg on standard 19-inch alloys.
Looks-wise, there are a few features that distinguish it from the withdrawing A7. These encompass sleeker headlights and a massive rear light bar that joins the tail-lights together. This makes the A7 look impressive at night – and impossible not to see. Also, there's a rear spoiler, which only opens if you drive over 75mph. A red rag to an angry bull if ever there was one - if the police happen to be watching.

Inside, the dashboard is angled towards the driver, and the driving position feels lower slung – sportier, in other words.  The multitude of buttons on the former model was overwhelming, so Audi has replaced them with an infotainment unit. The dual-screened system now controls most of the car’s comfort and media functions.
The new A7's cabin is, therefore, a lovely place to sit, with a near-flawless fit and finish. There's even enough room for four-up, although the sloping roofline means the long-of-leg will have to slump slightly in the rear seats. And when it comes to loading space, there are 535-litres of it. The hatchback tailgate makes accessing the boot easy, meaning you’ll get more luggage in the Audi than you will in Porsche’s challenger, the Panamera.
It's a car that you'll be proud to have sitting on your drive or outside your office. You'll also be grateful for the ease in which it transports you to your destination, and for the power on tap when you need it. Additionally, the space in the cabin and boot make this a coupe that's almost, but not quite, as practical as a saloon. What's more, this is a premium-badged car that says you're not too conservative. It declares you still have a bit of that rebel left in you. Just.

Pros ‘n’ Cons
  • Handsome √
  • Comfortable √
  • Powerful √
  • Efficient √
  • Rear headroom X

Fast Facts (A7 Sportback 50 TDI Quattro 286PS Sport Tiptronic- as tested)
  • Max speed: 155 mph
  • 0-62 mph: 5.7 secs
  • Combined mpg: 50.4
  • Engine layout: 2967cc six-cylinder diesel turbo
  • Max. power (PS): 286
  • CO2: 147 g/km          
  • Price: £55,255
By motoring journalist, Tim Barnes-Clay.
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