Audi has loads of pres­ence

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE - By STU­ART MARTIN Price: En­gine: Trans­mis­sion: Power: Torque: Per­for­mance: Fuel con­sump­tion (litres/ 100km): Sus­pen­sion:

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

180kW

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

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