Audi is in style

The five-door A7 will earn the brand more fans, writes Paul Pot­tinger

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige -

AN­OTHER week, an­other Audi— though the lat­est ver­sion to emerge in the Ger­man car­maker’s al­most manic quest to have 42 dis­tinct vari­ants on sale by 2015 is among its most vis­ually strik­ing to date.

The A7 Sport­back is a phys­i­cal and log­i­cal ex­ten­sion of the equiv­a­lent A5, with which it shares two driv­e­trains and takes the lux­ury ‘‘ five-door coupe’’ the­ory to its fullest ex­tent.

Cru­cially, the A7 shares its un­der­pin­nings with the com­ing new­gen­er­a­tion A6 sedan and wagon that, though suc­cess­ful else­where, is a fee­ble seller in Aus­tralia.

Aside from be­ing a de­signer’s de­light and an al­ter­na­tive to cars as di­verse as the Mercedes-Benz CLS and the Porsche Panam­era, the A7s that cars­Guide drove in Sar­dinia last week bode well for the A6 and sug­gest Audi Aus­tralia might at last have a se­ri­ous chal­lenger to the dom­i­nant E-Class and 5 Se­ries.

De­sign

IN A word, stun­ning. If the A7 pho­to­graphs cap­ti­vat­ingly, its phys­i­cal pres­ence is over­pow­er­ing.

Peo­ple stop and stare. This is un­apolo­get­i­cally an ex­er­cise in form over func­tion.

And for all its im­pos­ing di­men­sions (4.9m long by 1.9m wide) the A7 is only 1.4m high and houses four seats, though with 535 litres of boot space ( 1360 litres with the seats down) its load space is ca­pa­cious.

The cut­ting-edge shape is en- hanced by a body-length tor­nado line al­most sharp enough to draw blood, a re­shaped sin­gle-frame grille and a new line of day­time run­ning lights.

From the pert slop­ing rear hatch, a wing au­to­mat­i­cally raises at 130km/h — you’ll never legally see it here.

As bold as it looks out­side, the in­te­rior state­ment is even more suc­cess­ful, with its wrap­around cock­pit feel.

Audi’s in­side story is as se­duc­tively class-lead­ing as ever, the op­tion of a high-qual­ity wood fin­ish a wel­come and warm de­par­ture from the usual. And un­like the smaller A5 Sport­back, taller adults can sit in the A7’s rear seats with­out re­mov­ing their heads or legs, the driver can barely see out the back of the thing and the rear win­dows do not wind down.

Value

IF YOUR idea of bliss is a mar­riage of lux­ury feel and drop-dead gor­geous looks, then this is money well spent.

With lo­cal re­lease not due for six months, Audi Aus­tralia is ne­go­ti­at­ing with head­quar­ters over spec­i­fi­ca­tion and price. Com­mon sense points to it sit­ting above the rest of the A6 range and be­neath A8, or a $150,000 to $160,000 start­ing point .

Aus­tralia is get­ting quat­tro all­wheel drive and seven-speed S tronic dual clutch au­to­mated trans­mis­sion as stan­dard, along with a start-stop sys­tem and en­ergy re­cov­ery.

Op­tions in­clude quat­tro sport dif-

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