REVIEW | The new Audi A7 Sportback: Sportiness in its most beautiful form

Audi A7 Sportback

 

The second-generation A7 Sportback is the essence of Audi’s new design language and brings the show car design of the prologue studies to production. The four-door coupé is full of innovations – in terms of networking and digitalization, the sporty-confident driving experience, as well as its versatile space concept.  We test-drive the Audi A7 Sportback recently and here is the review:

 

FIRST LET’S TALK ABOUT THE DESIGN

The proportions of the new Audi A7 Sportback are an optimal basis for the new Audi design language in the luxury class. The interior also takes up the design language of the prologue studies, which relies on reduction as a stylistic device. The design conveys both sportiness and progressiveness. Here, sportiness is the keyword.

It is 4,969 millimeters long, has a wheelbase of 2,926 millimeters and is 1,908 millimeters wide, but just 1,422 millimeters high. In all dimensions, the differences to the previous model are just a few millimeters.

The Singleframe grille of the new Audi A7 Sportback is wide and low-mounted. All adjacent surfaces and lines emanate from it. The side air inlets in the front skirt emphasize the Gran Turismo’s sporty character. Contours reminiscent of the front splitters on a racing touring car form the bottom edges of the two large inlets.

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Similar to the predecessor model, the rear of the new Audi A7 Sportback is tapered like a yacht. The rear end is about three centimeters higher, further improving the aerodynamics. At a speed of 120 km/h, a spoiler extends from the rear hatch. The sweeping contour of the spoiler lip gives the rear end the look of a three-dimensional sculpture – starting with the Audi rings, the rear lights and the connecting light strip.

SPECIAL LIGHTING DESIGN

The A7 Sportback is a testament to Audi’s leading role in lighting technology and lighting design. The Gran Turismo’s headlights are available in three versions: in LED technology, as HD Matrix LED and as HD Matrix LED with Audi laser light. In continuation of the top slat of the Singleframe, the two Matrix variants are divided horizontally to make the headlights appear slim and sporty. The dominant upper area houses the daytime running lights and creates a look with plenty of character. The low beam module is in the “pupil.” With the two HD Matrix variants, the daytime running lights signature is digital in character: Twelve light segments are positioned vertically next to each other here, separated by narrow spaces – conjuring up an association with the 0 and 1 of the digital world.

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In the lower zone are the turning light and the two-line Matrix high beam, which is made up of 32 individually controllable LEDs. They illuminate the road dynamically and precisely while hiding other road users from the cone of light. The LEDs also act as cornering lights. With the top-of-the-line headlights, the lower segment also includes the laser spot with is X-shaped metal aperture and the blue light guide. The laser spot is activated at a speed of 70 km/h and doubles the range of the high beam.

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The tail light of the big coupé also seems to be digital. Each unit comprises 13 vertical segments that alternate with the brake light, which is also segmented. The LED light strip –  a typical feature of an Audi top-of-the-line model and at the same time an homage to the Ur quattro – interconnects them. As on a racing car, the rear fog light is positioned in the center.

 

The Audi A7 Sportback stands for a new era in Audi lighting design – for aesthetics through movement. The HD Matrix LED headlights (standard for Singapore) and above feature the coming home/leaving home function is used. When the car is locked and unlocked, the headlights and rear lights present dynamic lighting displays.

 

NOW LET’S TALK ABOUT INTERIOR DESIGN

The interior of the new Audi A7 Sportback boasts a fascinating, futuristic lounge atmosphere – reduction is a key stylistic device. The design language combines lean, taut surfaces with clean contours. All the design motifs are logically connected. The driver and front passenger experience a generous space in which the architecture fuses seamlessly with the user interface. With its orientation toward the driver and three-dimensional structure, the instrument panel has a light, sleek and sporty appearance. The upper MMI touch response display is almost invisibly embedded into the black panel architecture and framed by an aluminum-look frame that extends to the front passenger door.

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The asymmetric console in the center tunnel also stands out with its black-panel look; this is home to a second display, below which is a key bar. It and the control panel for the lighting functions are optionally available with touch response technology. On the doors, the armrest and the pull handle transition into a stretched aluminum panel, making the entire zone look like a swing arm.

 

Audi offers two lighting packages in the new A7 Sportback: the ambient lighting package and the contour ambient lighting package. Both subtly highlight the space, volume and materials, and visualize the interior design in the dark. The ambient light makes the dashboard and center console seem to float, and in the door it enhances the sense of space. The contour light traces the large lines on the center console and in the door panels and can be set to any of 30 colors. The latter lighting package is standard for Singapore.

 

DIGITALIZATION

Thanks to its full-spectrum connectivity, the A7 is ideally equipped for long-distance driving with respect to comfort, safety and adaptability to the individual. With its fully digital operating system, extensive range of connectivity features and up to 39 driver assistance systems, it offers maximum comfort and personalization.

The new Audi A7 Sportback uses MMI touch response, the fully digital operating concept from the flagship A8 that can be operated as intuitively as a smartphone with touch and swipe gestures. Two touch displays with haptic and acoustic feedback replace the rotary pushbutton and many buttons from the previous model. They transport Audi’s quality standards into the digital age and offer a high degree of operating safety.

Infotainment

The comprehensive infotainment and connectivity functions make the A7 an intelligent long distance athlete. The MMI touch response, which is standard for Singapore uses the latest generation of the Modular Infotainment Platform, the MIB 2+. This brings a Wi-Fi hotspot that also supports the new 5 GHz band and the fast LTE Advanced transmission standard to the car. It allows download rates of up to 300 MBit/s and upload rates of up to 50 MBit/s.

In conjunction with MMI navigation plus, navigation in the Audi A7 Sportback offers attractive new features, both visual and functional. The map uses a new texture and includes detailed 3D models of many large cities. When planning the route, the self-learning navigation system makes suggestions to the driver based on routes driven previously, incorporating experience regarding time of day and traffic density.

 

The Audi phone box makes calling even more convenient. It connects the smartphone to the car antenna and charges it inductively. Voice over LTE speeds up call origination and enables the simultaneous use of high-speed data transmission and high definition online voice telephony (HD Voice).

 

Driver assistance systems

Audi offers 39 driver assistance systems in the new A7 Sportback, making driving even more comfortable, efficient and safer. The systems are organized into the packages Tour, City and Park (to follow in the course of 2018). The Audi assist package plus integrates all three packages and enhances them with the Audi parking pilot and garage pilot (from 2018).

 

The most important system in the Tour assist package is the adaptive cruise assist (ACA). It builds on the adaptive cruise control (ACC) of the predecessor model and adds a lane tracking function that also supports traffic jams. At speeds between 0 and 250 km/h, the system keeps the new A7 Sportback at the desired distance to the vehicle ahead. It also uses slight steering interventions to help the driver to stay in the lane and supports him with longitudinal guidance in construction sites by means of the narrowed road assist.

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Those wishing to drive particularly efficiently can supplement the ACA with predictive control and the efficiency assist. This enables an anticipatory driving style. To detect the traffic situation and the course of the route, the ACA analyzes camera images – including images of traffic signs – plus the navigation data. If the adaptive cruise assist is deactivated, the efficiency assist simply indicates to the driver when it would make sense to let off the gas.

The assistance package also includes turn assist and swerve assist.

 

Also included as part of the package is the newly developed crossing assist. If the mid-range radars, which can look roughly 75 meters ahead, detect crossing traffic in front of the car, the system warns the driver and applies the brake, if necessary. The lane change warning alerts the driver of risks when changing lanes. The exit warning indicates vehicles or cyclists approaching from the rear when opening the door and briefly prevents this from happening. Cross traffic assist rear kicks in when the new A7 Sportback is backing out of a tight space.

 

The safety systems Audi pre sense rear, Audi pre sense basic and Audi pre sense front are standard. They detect collision hazards all around the car and initiate targeted preventive measures – whether maximum braking, adjusting the seats or tightening the belts. Audi pre sense front includes a warning and braking function for vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists. The emergency assist brings the car to a stop if the driver is no longer able to do so.

 

The park assist, reversing camera, 360 degree cameras with 3D images and rims view are part of the comprehensive suite of assistance system that are standard for Singapore.

 

New chassis components enable the four-door Gran Turismo to perfect its synthesis of sportiness and long-distance comfort. The new Audi A7 Sportback handles more agilely and spontaneously yet is also safer and more comfortable. This has been achieved using innovative technologies such as dynamic all-wheel steering, and damper control. The central control of these system via the electronic chassis platform (ECP) make this synthesis of sportiness and comfort possible.

 

With the standard progressive steering and the optional dynamic all-wheel steering and sport differential, the A7 achieves the handling characteristics of a compact sports car. The dynamic all-wheel steering combines the dynamic steering at the front axle, which works with strain wave gearing, with a separate rear axle steering system with a spindle drive. This makes it possible to independently adjust the steering angles at the front and rear axles. The dynamic all-wheel steering ends the conflict of aims between agile response and stability.

 

At speeds up to 60 km/h, the rear wheels are turned as much as five degrees in the opposite direction. This reduces the turning circle by up to 1.1 meters, and the car becomes more agile in city traffic, when maneuvering and in tight switchbacks. At 60 km/h and above the rear wheels turn in the same direction as the front wheels. Consequently the new A7 Sportback is even more stable and the road and performs abrupt evasive maneuvers with composure. In many cases the Electronic Stabilization Control (ESC) does not have to intervene. If the turn-in of the rear wheels is also considered, the dynamic all-wheel steering can vary the steering ratio between 9.5 and 16.5:1.

 

The steering tuning of the standard progressive steering and optional dynamic all-wheel steering provides for intense, responsive feedback from the road and improved steering feel. Already sporty, the steering becomes increasingly direct with increasing steering angle. With both steering systems, the electromechanical power steering achieves the optimum between comfort and dynamic feedback. It conveys useful information to the driver and filters out unpleasant jolts. The connection between the steering wheel, wheels and the road are direct and tight.

 

Drive system

In Singapore, Audi is equipping the new A7 Sportback with powerful six-cylinder 3.0 TFSI S tronic quattro with ultra technologies (Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 7.3; Combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 165) produces 250 kW (340 hp) and delivers 500 Nm of torque over a broad band from 1,370 to 4,500 rpm. It accelerates the big coupé from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.3 seconds; top speed is 250 km/h.

 

The new three-liter V6 is packed with innovations. Its exhaust end lies inside the 90° vee, the short gas paths and the twin scroll charger, which prevents unwanted interactions between the gas columns, guarantee spontaneous throttle response. The B-cycle combustion process, which is designed specifically for part load, makes the V6 gasoline engine particularly efficient. To support it, the Audi valvelift system (AVS) adjusts the intake valve opening times and stroke in two stages based on load and engine speed. The three-liter gasoline unit produces a subtle and sonorous sound that never becomes intrusive even under load. This is due in part to the new tube guide in the dual-branch exhaust system that largely eliminates hum frequencies.

 

The V6 TFSI has shed 14 kilograms and now weighs 172 kilograms. Its aluminum crankcase features integrated, thin-walled cylinder liners of gray cast iron. In combination with the newly developed rings for the aluminu pistons, this reduces friction. Another efficiency element is thermal management with separate cooling loops for the crankcase and cylinder head. The exhaust manifold is integrated in the cylinder head and bathed in coolant. This helps the engine to heat up quickly following a cold start. When the engine is warm, this solution lowers the exhaust temperature, reducing fuel consumption, particularly during sporty driving.

Audi A7 Sportback 3.0 TFSI S tronic quattro  
Displacement in cc 2,995
Max. power output in kW (hp) at rpm 250 (340hp) at 5,000-6,400
Max. torque in Nm at rpm 500 at 1,370-4,500
Top speed in km/h 250
Acceleration 0-100km/h in s 5.3
Fuel consumption (combined) in l/100km 7.5
Combined CO2 emissions in g/km 165
Drive system quattro drive

* Fuel consumption and CO2 emission figures given in ranges depend on the tires/wheels used

 

Aerodynamics and aeroacoustics

The new Gran Turismo from Audi has a drag coefficient of 0.27. The Audi Aerodynamics team put in a lot of work in all areas, including on the exterior mirrors and the rear axle trim. Small spoilers, including in front of the wheels and the bow capsule, direct the flow at the underbody. The outer areas of the air inlets feature additional openings – they guide a portion of the air flow into the wheel housings, where it flows past the wheels. When the spoiler extends electrically at a speed of 120 km/h, it provides additional downforce on the rear axle – roughly 50 kilograms at top speed.

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The new Audi A7 Sportback maintains the top level of the previous model with respect to aeroacoustics. Despite the frameless doors, it spoils its passengers with extraordinary acoustic comfort. The seal concept for the doors and rear hatch is sophisticated. Audi offers optional acoustic glazing 6 millimeters thick for everything except the rear window. Tinted privacy glass for the rear, a heated windshield and rear blinds are also available.

As of 28 June 2019, indicative price of  AUDI A7 Sportback A7 3.0 TFSI qu S tronic  $380,500

 

SUMMARY

We recommend this car for those car buyers looking for an executive luxury 4 door saloon but wanted an aerodynamic sporty look. This car will not disappoint you. It has the latest technology and safety features, yet with a sporty look. It is comfortable to drive as an everyday car, yet delivers all the power you need on demand. Definitely a head-turner.

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