Fast facts

The Weekend Australian - Magazine - - Motoring -

mild hy­brid sys­tem) and ac­cel­er­ates three-tenths quicker to 100km/h (now 5.3s). It’s built us­ing the same com­po­nent set as Audi’s re­cently re­born A8 limo and the up­com­ing one-size-smaller A6.

It’s a promis­ing start, with a big dose of lightweight ma­te­ri­als and ex­tra rigid­ity. The cabin is roomier and un­der its lift­back, lug­gage space is cav­ernous. It has a neatly in­te­grated touch­screen con­trol sys­tem shared with other brands from the Volk­swa­gen group. The safety ros­ter in­cludes an exit warn­ing sys­tem that de­lays door open­ing if it de­tects pedes­tri­ans or cy­clists.

More­over, it comes with most of what you want al­ready fit­ted. “We’ve made a real point of mak­ing sure that ev­ery­thing the cus­tomer ex­pects in this car is stan­dard equip­ment,” says Tice­hurst.

So the op­tions cat­a­logue has AUDI A7 SPORT­BACK 55 TFSI

EN­GINE: 3.0-litre tur­bocharged V6 petrol (250kW/500Nm) Av­er­age fuel 7.3 litres per 100km

TRANS­MIS­SION: Seven-speed dual-clutch au­to­matic, all-wheel drive


$131,900 been stripped right down. There’s one pack­age for $8000, called Pre­mium Plus, which bun­dles a sun­roof, big wheels, adap­tive sus­pen­sion, am­bi­ent light­ing, con­trast stitch­ing and four-zone air­con. If you must spend more, there are laser head­lights, black ex­te­rior trim, all-wheel steer­ing and a bet­ter Bang & Olufsen sys­tem. But there’s a chance, at least, that the even­tual num­ber will be sim­i­lar to the one you first thought of.

Of course, when the 210kW diesel six (50 TDI) and 180kW petrol four (45 TFSI) ar­rive next year, that might change. But right now, Audi de­clares this as the way for­ward.

What you get is a long, crisply hand­some car that ce­ments the A7’s rep­u­ta­tion as the most de­sir­able of Audi’s sedans.

You sit im­mersed in a suit­ably quiet cabin lined with notch-above ma­te­ri­als. The seats are a lit­tle wide for non-lunch­ing ex­ecs but its re­drawn dash shows Audi still has a knack with in­te­ri­ors.

The touch­screen con­trols give feed­back when you hit the tar­get, but some­one needs to tell car com­pa­nies that knobs are eas­ier to lo­cate for the ba­sics, like tem­per­a­ture. Still, the over­all ef­fect is mod­ern and pre­mium.

Un­til the more fo­cused S7 and RS7 come along, this en­gine is likely to be the pick. It’s dis­creet but ef­fec­tive with ur­gency avail­able on de­mand, ac­com­pa­nied by a live­lier sound­track.

De­spite the fre­quent use of the word “sportscar” dur­ing the pre­sen­ta­tion, this is a grand tourer. The steer­ing is too light and in tight bends, the car re­veals its mass by pitch­ing in a lit­tle more than ideal. Its nat­u­ral ter­ri­tory re­veals its strengths: it laps up long, open cor­ners at speed with poise. Given the huge 21-inch wheels fit­ted to all the test cars, the ride was de­tailed but com­posed.

Audi says it’s de­ter­mined to leave a big­ger foot­print in the lux­ury mar­ket and it will be in­ter­est­ing to see whether the A7 can de­flect a few buy­ers from SUVs.

My guess: prob­a­bly not. But through no fault of the car. Be­cause for once, the price is (nearly) right.

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