The Audi A7 has been spied testing at the Nurburgring for the first time, ahead of going on sale in 2011.
The A7, which has previously only been seen as the Audi Sportback concept, will compete with the BMW 5-series GT and Mercedes-Benz CLS, and is Audi’s attempt to ‘premiumise’ the concept of a hatchback. Five-doors are traditionally the preserve of mainstream cars in Germany, so Audi is attempting to add value by giving its Sportback cars a coupé-like profile.
Audi’s head of exterior design, Achim Badstubner, is the man responsible for the A7, and he has told Autocar that the A7 will sit above the A6 in Audi’s range, but it won’t be as expensive as the A8. “In Germany there is nearly 20,000 euro (£18k) between the most expensive A6 Avant and the cheapest A8,” he said. “The A7 will fill that gap.”
In the UK a mid-range A6 3.0 TDI SE costs around £35k and an A8 with the same drivetrain £54k. A similarly specified A7 might not reach the £45k mid-point because it lacks the A8’s sophisticated aluminium architecture, but it should cost around £40k.
The A7’s mechanicals are a blend of A6 and A8; the floorpan will be from the next A6, and its wheelbase is identical. The engines are common to both models already and the A7 will use them too. But the interior architecture and material quality will feel more like an A8, said Badstubner.
The A7 continues the theme developed by the A5, where the ‘premium’ versions -anything that isn’t a saloon or estate - are assigned the next number up from the mainstream models. “It makes sense to me,” said Badstubner, “to have the saloon and Avant on the evens and the premium versions to be given a higher number.”