Audi has loads of presence
NEW models in new niches have done Audi’s bottom line no harm but its latest addition to a fastgrowing Australian line-up is an image maker.
Four-door prestige coupes are all the rage in the top-echelon of the car market and Audi’s addition to the fray, the A7 Sportback, is a brutally svelte four-door with presence aplenty.
The A7 Sportback is on sale in Australia in diesel and petrol V6 guises (Audi expects to sell as many as 200 before the end of the year), the former being turbocharged and the latter getting the supercharger.
It is to be sold under the Imagination Meets Engineering banner, and the German brand says that there’s no confirmation on an S7— but spy snaps and the rumour mill say otherwise.
VALUE: The A7 range kicks off with the three-litre turbodiesel V6 wearing a starting price of $142,750 and $147,800 buys the three-litre supercharged V6 petrol model, so ‘‘cheap and cheerful’’ isn’t the first phrase that springs to mind, particularly when the options list can be ticked to push the on-road price tag close to $200,000.
Standard fare does offset the large ask to some extent — the adaptive adjustable suspension, the basic pre-sense accident avoidance system, sat-nav and 18in wheels on the diesel (19in on the supercharged model) and automatic adaptive xenon headlights are included.
The options are plentiful, including $2700 for full LED headlights, a Bang & Olufsen sound system upgrade for $12,350, adaptive cruise control for $3570 and night vision for $4890.
TECHNOLOGY: Built on the new A6 platform, the A7 Sportback boasts hybrid aluminium construction to keep weight under 1800kg, with a long wheelbase and short overhangs. The seven-speed double-clutch automatic is teamed with a Stop-Start fuel saver function and the big four-seater gets the clever quattro all-wheel-drive system that apportions drive 40 front/ 60 rear (with the ability to split 70/30 or 15/85).
DESIGN: It’s certainly a niche product but Audi says it’s aiming for the class of the sedan, with the sporty athletic lines of the coupe and the cargo capacity and interior flexibility of a wagon.
SAFETY: The list of technology is extensive, starting with the basic pre-safe system and the night vision with pedestrian recognition.
DRIVING: First up was the 220kW/440Nm three-litre supercharged V6, which does an admirable job of pushing the 1770kg vehicle up winding mountain roads.
Firing out of corners can some-
3.0 TDI from $142,750; 3.0 TFSI from $147,800
Three-litre supercharged DOHC direct-injection petrol V6 or three-litre direct-injection turbodiesel V6
Seven-speed auto Petrol 220kW; diesel 440Nm; diesel 500Nm
Petrol 0-100km/h in 5.6sec, top speed 250km/h; diesel 0-100km/h in 6.5sec, top speed 250km/h
Petrol 8.2; diesel 6; tank 75 litres; CO2 emissions (g/km): Petrol 190; diesel 15
Five-link suspension, double upper and lower wishbones, anti-roll bar, steel springs (front); self-tracking trapezoidal-link axle times see the electronic stability systems flash briefly, but the clever quattro system switches drive fore and aft, as well as side to side at the rear, to good effect.
The V6 feels most at home in the mid-range of the tacho, when there’s plenty of grunt on offer.
Switch to the diesel and immediately the refinement of the turbodiesel package is apparent, as is the strong in-gear surge from the V6, which would be the best pick.
The brutally svelte Audi A7 Sportback has extensive options