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 saloons

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

    Tesla Model S

    2
  • The latest XJ is a big departure from its predecessor, stylistically

    Jaguar XJ

    3
  • Audi A8
    The third generation Audi A8 is the best yet - and by some margin

    Audi A8

    4
  • The BMW 7-series features a new platform and entirely new bodyshell

    BMW 7-series

    5

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