SOUND ADDITION TO MARKET
AUDI IS FULL OF CREATURE COMFORTS
STYLE, performance, comfort, roadholding, luxury and economy are words seldom used in the same sentence, but they all apply to Audi’s A7.
The four-door saloon with its coupe-like lines is one of the best-looking cars on the road and our bi-turbo test model with its 8speed tiptronic transmission and quattro all-wheel drive made every trip a pleasure.
The latest and most noticeable design changes include a single-frame grille flanked by a pair of mean-looking headlights, which combine to give the car a wider stance.
Inside, a new high-resolution Driver Information System sits in between the speedo and tacho, and we were surprised to see twin mushroom-like doofies pop up on either side of the dash when the car was started up. Turned out they were part of the optional and eye-watering Bang &Olufsen sound system.
Beneath the sexy body, the A7 is a superbly-engineered car with excellent response and brilliant fuel economy.
We drove to Mandurah and back and used next to no fuel. When we left, the distance-to-empty gauge showed we had 550km left in the tank, but after about 250km of driving it indicated we still had about 490km left to go. That's a very pleasant rarity. The powerful 3.0litre V6 twin-turbo diesel cranks out 235kW and a monstrous 650Nm. It can rocket the 2000kg car to 100km/h in a back-shoving 5.5 seconds, and has a fuel consumption average of 6.1litres/100km.
The interior is as impressive. Well laid out, our car’s sports seats were finished in Valcona leather and the controls were all within reach and logically placed.
Driver and passenger comfort is in keeping with expectations, though very tall rear seat occupants might be a bit less than delighted with the limited headroom caused by the sloping roofline.
Standard equipment includes 20-inch wheels, Audi Drive Select, which provides selectable modes for steering, accelerator and transmission response, a blind-spot warning system, automatic bi-xenon headlights that give a great spread – and won't blind oncoming traffic – plus LED running lights and taillights, a sunroof, front and rear parking sensors, and keyless ignition and entry.
Inside there's four-zone automatic climate control, heated eight-way power seats with driver memory settings, a big display screen, a reversing camera, satnav, infotainment system, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and one heck of an audio system. Advanced safety gear abounds. The A7 is a genuine high-performance car that Audi sums up as ‘a progressive 5door executive sports coupe that blends the prestige of a sedan with the sportiness of a coupe and the functionality of an Avant’.
It’s priced at $144,900 plus on-roads, but the test car came with several options, including that B&O stereo with its pop-up tweeters, which is $10,500 more. There was also a sports differential, metallic paint and Audi Connect system, for an all-up price of $163,900.
Verdict: We can live without the B&O system.
Premium performer: Audi's A7.