AUDI A7 55 TFSI
More involving, more aggressive, less expensive
AUDI’S FIRST A7 couldn’t topple the well-established Mercedes-Benz CLS. But now its second-generation rings the bell on round two and comes armed with tech from the new A8. It’s derived from the same MLB Evo platform to slash weight, stiffen its bones and extend its wheelbase 12mm. Meanwhile, it has also shrunk in length. Its sleeves now bulge, too. Its tracks are wider and a new ‘power dome’ bonnet looms above an S-line specific front bumper. Behind its new grille lurks one of three engines, and we’re in the 55 TFSI that swaps the old supercharged 3.0-litre V6 for a turbocharged unit much like the S4’s. Its cylinder heads are flipped, so exhaust gases flow inwards to the twin-scroll turbo in its vee. It produces 500Nm between 1370rpm to 4500rpm. Acceleration is brisk rather than rapid, and its 255mm-wide Pirellis dig in via part-time all-wheel drive. With a seven-speed dual-clutch, it dispatches 100km/h from rest in 5.3sec. Full throttle is quiet, though occasionally interrupted by a highpitched whir from the new 48-volt alternator. The electric motor offers no extra power, just quicker engine restarts to allow eco-coasting or earlier startstop engagement. Even though it is more grand tourer than apex-carver, the rigidly mounted front subframe enlivens the front-end. It’s more direct, and there’s more grip than you expect when leaning into a corner as well. The upgraded rear five-link set-up keeps it on your intended line, and 1815kg in check. Optional all-wheel steering promises to hone its agility, for $4200, but we’re yet to drive it. Aussie cars switch the base 18s in Europe for 20-inch wheels as standard. And as part of an $8000 Premium Plus package you can then upgrade them to 21-inchers, but the included air suspension cushions and controls the car’s mass well. It almost has more safety lasers, lidar and infrared cameras than a jet fighter, while inside a heads-up display above Audi’s familiar 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit is joined by 10.1-inch and 8.6-inch displays in the centre stack. They click satisfyingly with haptic feedback, but the real draw is the new space found by deleting a multimedia controller wheel. The slick driver-focused interior is let down only by seats that lack useful bolster. It won’t be this year’s most memorable car, even with the pokey V6, but that’s not what we expect from it. Bring its competition into focus and the A7’s charms are clearer. Even with the expensive Premium Plus package, its $131,900 base undercuts rivals from Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Porsche. The chassis also promises delicious S and RS versions. Add alluring looks and we’re happy to bump its rating to four stars. It’s relative, and might change after a more thorough drive, but for now it looks like the A7 has made the entrance it wanted all along.
A fleet of new engines debut with a 180kW four-pot, a 210kW V6 diesel and a 250kW V6 petrol. They also come with new names, being the 45 TFSI, 50 TDI and 55 TFSI respectively BELOW