From £40,400
An Audi limo for those who like to drive as well as waft about in luxury

Our Verdict

Audi A7
The Audi A7 Sportback delivers on all fronts, except for an ability implied in its name

The Audi A7 Sportback is a five-door coupé that scores on style, but what about its substance?

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What is it?

There are some cars that have one very obvious focus - perhaps to be entertaining, or practical or comfortable. And there are those cars that attempt to do it all. This is definitely the latter, which initially makes for worrying news because very few cars manage it well.

But with some miles now covered on UK roads it’s evident that the new Audi A7 Sportback is one of the more accomplished of its slightly oddball breed.

We tested the petrol, V6 3.0 TFSI SE model, which comes as standard with Audi’s quattro chassis, seven-speed S-tronic auto ‘box and ‘drive-select’, which offers three different settings to alter steering, gears and throttle response.

See the test of the Audi A7 3.0 TFSI in action

What’s it like?

Riding on 19-inch alloys and standard steel springs (lowered by 10mm as a £410 option) it’s ride quality that is the really welcome news here. Though suffering from some firm damper compression at higher speeds, generally the A7 offers a settled and well-isolated ride quality.

Body roll is kept in check without any severe compromises to bump absorption, which translates into an appealing stability and pliancy even when cornering forces are involved.

And there are likely to be some strong cornering forces involved because, of all its duties as a limo-coupe crossbreed, driver reward is one of the elements that it manages best. It’s never close to a really thrilling drive, but it turns-in sweetly, balances its weight well and generally flows nicely down the average b-road.

A big part of the driver reward on offer in our test car came from the drivetrain. The 296bhp supercharged petrol motor is a delight to use. Its smooth-revving nature and subdued vocals suite the A7 Sportback perfectly, as does the automatic gearbox. It pulls strongly and offers decent amount of flexibility for the variety of duties that the A7 is likely to be used for. Plus, at 34.4mpg claimed combined it may not be as thirsty as many would assume.

What is less impressive is the drive select system. At no point in any of the environments that you would assume might bring to light the reason for ‘dynamic’ and ‘comfort’ settings, did either appear to offer any benefit over the default ‘auto’ setting. Most owners will leave it in that mode and forget that you can change it, and they’re better off that way.

So what of its abilities as soothing executive transport? Well, generally it feels like a sprightly A8 – which is exactly what it needs to feel like. Tyre roar is more intrusive than it should be, but it’s not a deal-breaker, and engine noise and wind flutter are both well suppressed but the cabin is as opulent as you can expect, with all the important luxuries included as standard. In every significant way it is an accomplished cruiser.

Head-room in the rear is slightly compromised, but if that mattered then you’d buy a standard saloon, and elsewhere the A7 makes a convincing job of being practical. Beneath its hatchback is a load bay that can swallow 535-litres of paraphernalia - only 25 litres off a BMW 5-Series Touring, and almost 100 litres more than the 5 GT.

Should I buy one?

If you want something that is distinctly not a saloon or estate, but also offers five-door practicality, high-end cabin quality and a decent steer this is certainly one of the best options.

It’s not perfect. In this guise it rides very well about 80 per cent of the time and is just okay or a bit bouncy for the rest of it, but which of the various suspension option you choose (there is air suspension as well as firmer steel springs available) can change all of that, and cabin refinement is acceptable rather than excellent.

But it’s been proven that there is an audience for sleek, coupe-like saloons and the second evolution of the car that started it - the Mercedes CLS – has also just been launched. Audi has given it some serious competition.

Audi A7 3.0 TFSI SE quattro

Price: £48,070; Top speed: 155mph (limited); 0-62mph: 5.6sec; Economy: 34.4mpg; CO2: 190g/km; Kerb weight: 1770kg; Engine: V6, 2995cc, supercharged, petrol; Power: 296bhp at 5250-6500rpm; Torque: 325lb ft at 2900-4500rpm; Gearbox: 7spd auto

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Comments
20

10 December 2010

Why?

Just to be different I guess.

Does anyone know how many models now have in their range including trim levels and engine options?

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

10 December 2010

Ahem, Rover P5B Coupe. And I'll eat my hat if you got anywhere near 34mpg.

10 December 2010

Whilst I don't find the styling quite so dull as the new A6, the rear end on this thing is just a little bit too small for the rest of the car. A little more height would have helped the proportions IMO, but decent proportions seem to be going out of the window at Audi since the amorphous A1 and now the gawky Q3.

10 December 2010

Audis though can be great there is always something missing to really appeal to me.

This is no exception to the rule so I wouldn't consider it.

On the the other hand though as an Audi it gets my thumbs up.

A great audi, but an indifferent car then.

10 December 2010

Not bad but i'll take the CLS any day. even in my sleep. i've had 2 Audis. nice cars though they are, i'm just fed with them. this has got nothing on the CLS.

10 December 2010

NEWS FLASH! An audi that can ride on 19s... DOUBLE NEWS FLASH! An audi that is actually quite good!

10 December 2010

[quote TegTypeR]Does anyone know how many models now have in their range including trim levels and engine options?[/quote] 1,986,395,244,390,235 (approximately)

10 December 2010

I saw a superb mustard coloured late 70's Audi 100 Coupé in West London a few weeks back and it struck me how similar the A7 is to that car at the back. If I was in the market for a luxe saloon this would be near the top of my list, especially with 30+ MPG and relatively low emissions from a nigh on 300bhp petrol. I'm not anti-Diesel by any means but if this sounds like the 3.2 V6 in my mum's TT-Mk2 (lovely six cylinder warble) then this is the model I'd go for.

10 December 2010

[quote JimTurner]I saw a superb mustard coloured late 70's Audi 100 Coupé in West London a few weeks back and it struck me how similar the A7 is to that car at the back.[/quote]

I loved those cars and the avants from the 80's too. There was a certain integrity, an elegance that is utterly gone from Audis nowadays.

10 December 2010

It was all going so well, and then did the designer sneeze or did someone nudge his arm when drawing the boot and rear!

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