If you’re a fan of the Ingolstadt-based products and consider the new A8 flagship limousine to be way too traditional, then better check your bank account because the all-new A7 is out and waiting for you.
Sportback, four-door coupe, crossover – since the designation actually translates into crossing over from one segment to another – name your pick, but the Audi A7 manages to remain one – if not the – most desirable models in the company’s lineup. The second generation manages to harness the same personality – and enhance it – from the first generation that appeared seven years ago. It’s mostly in the proportions – 4,969 millimeters (16.3 ft) long, with a wheelbase of 2,926 millimeters (9.6 ft) and 1,908 millimeters (6.3 ft) wide, but coming in at a mere 1,422 millimeters (4.7 ft) in height. As always, the defining feature is the back – long luggage compartment lid finished in a pronounced, curved lip with integrated spoiler that automatically comes into action at 120 km/h (74.6 mph).
The new rear lighting signature – with the two light clusters united across the width of the body – is again present, with the lights made up of 13 vertical segments. When the doors are locked/unlocked there are animations both front and rear (hello Kitt, is David Hasselhoff included?!). The A7’s exterior design can be enhanced from the start with the optional S line exterior package, bringing changes to the radiator grille and the front air inlets, the sills and the front and rear diffusers – all trimmed in gloss black. Moving inside, the A7 clearly takes from the bigger A8, featuring a high-tech, modern cabin. More importantly, rear knee- and headroom have been increased, because Audi explains interior length has gone up 0.8 inch (21 millimeters). There are options for a 2+2 arrangement or a traditional five-place seating.
The infotainment options carry over from the A8 – 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit instrument cluster of the second generation, a 10.1-inch touchscreen – called MMI Touch Response – as the primary infotainment controller atop the dashboard, doubled by an 8.6-inch touchscreen acting as HVAC interface mainly, but can also include a keyboard or a writing pad when needed. The A7 is certainly the sportier derivative of the A8, complete with major use of aluminum for the body and chassis, variable-ratio steering, optional rear-wheel steering and standard Quattro all-wheel drive upgradable with a torque-vectoring rear differential. Active safety is a major element – managed by the new zFAS (pronounced zed-fass) central computer which has a major list of aids: five radars, five cameras, 12 ultrasonic sensors, and even a laser scanner. For now, there’s no word on the Traffic Jam Pilot system with Level 3 autonomy, but the A7 does include Audi AI automated remote parking as well as vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications.
The introductory powerplant is the 55 TFSI (under the new and mind-bending power output-based naming scheme), a turbocharged 3.0-liter gasoline V6 packing 340 horsepower (250 kilowatts) and 369 pound-feet (500 Newton-meters) of torque, complete with 48-volt lithium-ion battery system for mild-hybrid capabilities. The A7 remains affixed to the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission of the predecessor, packing a sprint to 62 mph (100 kilometers per hour) in 5.3 seconds, with top speed limited at 155 mph (250 km/h). The new A7 will become available at home in Germany next February, and will gain other four- and six-cylinder engines, including diesels, across the European market, with US availability coming late next year or the start of 2019.