Expected to go into production as Audi A7
11 January 2009

The all-new Audi Sportback concept has just launched in front of the biggest crowd of the day at the Detroit motor show.

It's expected to make its arrival in production form in 2011, badged as the A7.

In contrast to the more austere American auto makers, Audi put on the usual lavish stage show as it celebrates its centenary year.

As the name suggests, the Audi Sportback/A7 concept features an elegant sportback bodystyle that Audi says will feature heavily in its future design strategy.

>> See more pics of the Audi Sportback

It wants to build on the success of the smaller A3 Sportback with the larger A7. The city car-sized A1 Sportback is likely to complete the line up. More generally, this concept is meant to preview a new design language from Ingolstadt, but sources reveal it's shape is very close to production reality.

The large four-seat Audi Sportback concept is just under five metres long and gets a panoramic roof to maximise light and a feeling of spaciousness in the cabin. Its interior is punctuated by cream leather and a Scandanavian-style light wood veneer which extends as far as the steering wheel trim.

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On the outside the A7 continues Audi's now well-established theme of LED headlights but they're more aggressively tapered than we've seen on Ingolstadt's offerings before now. The Audi Sportback gets a large and imposing metallic grille, likely to be toned down for ther real A7.

Power is provided by Audi's 3.0 litre V6 TDi, and the car should be capable of in excess of 45mpg. It uses a seven-speed S-tronic transmission and has regenerative braking and low resistance tyres to boost economy.

Like the Q7 SUV, the Sportback gets an electronic Continuous Damping Control system to improve the ride quality without compromising body control.

This system is likely to translate to the production model although the concept's carbon ceramic brakes probably won't.

Will Powell

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