Audi first used the Sportback name on today’s five-door Audi A3, but the name is more appropriate for the A5 and A7, both of which are lower-slung, more rakish five-door coupés.

Mercedes was the first to offer a racier executive choice with the striking 2004 CLS, but Audi has taken up the idea with most zeal, giving us first the A5 Sportback, a five-door coupé derived from the A4, and then the A7, whose arrival pre-empted the new A6.

The CLS is a saloon and BMW’s 5-series GT is a somewhat bulky-looking hatchback whose boot door can also be opened like a saloon’s. The A7, like the A5, is a low-roofed five-door coupé. Indeed, so close is the A7 to the A5 that you could almost consider it a 105.5 per cent recreation of the same car, this percentage being the difference in length between them, although the price hike is rather larger. Audi is certainly driving its new models into tight niches these days.

The A7 range starts starts at a tempting-enough price and it’s relatively compact, consisting of a pair of V6 petrols – a 201bhp 2.8 TFSI and a 296bhp 3.0 TFSI – and 3.0 TDI diesels of 201bhp and 242bhp, all offered in either SE or the pricier and sportier S-line trims.

Quattro four-wheel drive is standard on all but the lower-powered 3.0 TDI.

Top 5 Luxury

  • Mercedes-Benz S-class
    'Sporty' Mercedes have a three-pointed badge in the grille. Luxury Benzes get a three-pointed star atop the grille

    Mercedes-Benz S-class

    1
  • Range Rover has a maximum wading depth of 900mm

    Range Rover

    2
  • Tesla Model S
    The Tesla Model S is an upmarket rear-wheel-drive electric saloon

    Tesla Model S

    3
  • The latest XJ is a big departure from its predecessor, stylistically

    Jaguar XJ

    4
  • Audi A8
    The third generation Audi A8 is the best yet - and by some margin

    Audi A8

    5

First drives

Videos

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    31 August 2015
    Thought the 3 Series was losing its edge? Well it's back, with a facelifted version that offers improved performance and dynamics. Does it reclaim its top spot after our drive on UK roads?
  • First Drive
    27 August 2015
    BMW gives its flagship 7 Series an extensive overhaul in a bid to tempt buyers of luxury cars away from the Mercedes S-Class, Audi's A8 and the Jaguar XJ
  • First Drive
    26 August 2015
    New Qashqai rival majors on practicality and usability and benefits from a long warranty, but lower-specification versions are the better bet
  • First Drive
    26 August 2015
    Go-faster Bentley Continental feels effortlessly quick despite its considerable weight
  • Car review
    26 August 2015
    Can the new S-Max retain its title as the driver's seven-seater?