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.