Audi is in style
The five-door A7 will earn the brand more fans, writes Paul Pottinger
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.
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.
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-