Beauty comes in the shape of many things. One such example is the Audi A7 Sportback. It’s the latest four-door “coupé” to hit local shores and helps to keep Audi at the vanguard of this current automotive trend.
Inside and out the A7 is all class. Audi has done well to keep the production car very close to the pathway set by the Sportback Concept presented at Detroit in early 2009. The look is refined elegance, as you would expect. It is clear, also, Audi’s biggest Sportback has a strong visual presence on the road and it certainly demanded attention from several onlookers during our test.
The swooping belt line inside the cabin that links the two front doors presents a slightly new approach for Audi, and it works, too. Although, we’d recommend aluminium trim, rather than the wood grain option. The large screen that pops out of the dash to display navigation and vehicle settings seems dominant at first, but it soon becomes apparent the screen is well suited to the task at hand.
Interior space is generally very good up front, although taller drivers may consider the low slung roofline a bit too low. In the back, there’s all the creature comforts you could need, including AC air vents in the B-pillar. Leg room is ample, however, rear seat headroom is even less generous than in the front and may prove problematic if you need to use the back seats more often than not. Luggage space is quite reasonable, although not spectacular. However, the rear hatch-style opening makes the space available very easy to access.
One minor gripe, though, comes in the form of poor water drainage from the roof. If you have your window down while driving, expect water to come gushing in, down the inside of the door trim. Something you don’t really want from your six-figure luxury purchase.
Out on the road, Audi has taken a more considered approach. The A7 Sportback is a big car and, at times, there’s no hiding that fact. The A7 can feel a bit blunt. However, with that in mind, the A7 is smooth and will definitely surprise with its agility if you demand more from your driving experience. Poor seat support will actually be the biggest hindrance in such circumstances. We suggest ticking the sport seat option.
Based on our experience with the car we’re not too sure how realistic Audi’s fuel consumption claims are for the V6 diesel (6.0l/100km combined). But, overall the A7 Sportback is a very pleasant machine to drive. The 180kW offered by the entry-level 3.0 TDI makes for rather rapid progress should your right foot demand (0-100km/h takes 6.5 seconds). It’s quite impressive really. The 500Nm of torque also ensures access to that power is a breeze and in-gear acceleration is effortless thanks, also, to the slick shifting 7-speed S tronic transmission.
We reckon Audi has achieved a better than average result with the A7 Sportback. It can be driven sedately with subdued elegance or more rapidly with surprising grace. It looks absolutely fantastic, too. However, we question its suitability as a long-term four seater and wonder if it holds enough pure driving capabilities to be considered as an alternative to a sporty coupé. In short, with a list price starting at $142,750 for the 3.0 TDI, will the A7 Sportback find a secure market in Australia’s small pond?
Thanks to Audi Centre Canberra for their assistance.