Twin-turbocharged Audi A7 provides the excitement the rest of the range lacks through brute force

What is it?

Audi’s good looking fastback coupé has been around since 2010 combining good looks, refinement and luxury in a package designed to rival the BMW 6 Series Gran Coupé and Mercedes-Benz CLS.

With a new A7 being penned in the horizon, the current five-door coupé’s range has been condensed to reflect its twilight years – with three core trims, supplemented by three 3.0-litre V6 diesel engines - while those craving Audi a petrol version are limited to a 4.0-litre V8 powering the S7 andAudi RS7.

On this occasion we are interested in the most powerful diesel on offer – the bi-turbo 3.0-litre V6, which on paper produces 315bhp and 479lb ft of peak twist pushing the Sportback to 62mph in 5.2 seconds and on to its 155mph limit. And yet it remains relatively frugal with a combined economy of 44.8mpg and produces 167g/km of CO2. 

What's it like?

The engine shows all the signs of the potency its bi-turbo title indicates with the power arriving in two stages. Lowdown the 3.0-litre diesel is torquey and pushes you along smoothly but without the sudden urgency others give, before the turbos spool up and allows the Audi A7 to rev more freely.

The engine cleverly flits between its two characters at a dab of the accelerator – from being a fast, quiet and smooth operator through to being a muscular feeling sports coupé. Such is the flexibility of this engine that no matter what your default driving action is the engine is happy to reciprocate. The noise is also rather good for a diesel engine with the V6’s vocals being rather pleasing on the ear, not to mention its visceral tones once you push on.

The Bi-Turbo A7 is fitted with an eight-speed torque converter automatic as standard compared to the dual-clutch units fitted to the other diesels in the range. The gearbox can feel a little sluggish to delicate accelerator inputs in first, but otherwise it’s quick to respond and switch ratios. It does like to hold onto a ratio far longer than its dual-clutch equivalents would but that does mean being able to exploit the torque available more readily.

Slot the hefty gearlever into ‘S’ and the gearbox transforms the Audi A7 into the muscular sports coupé that its look and demeanour transmits, with the changes made snappier, and ability to reach the limiter under heavy acceleration before shifting up.

Even the ride is surprisingly good – seems crazy to say about a car at the luxury end of the spectrum, but let me explain. The Black Edition specification fitted to our test car, fitted the A7 with 21in alloy wheels, on lowered, firm suspension combined with standard steel coil springs.

Despite reducing the amount of travel in the suspension, it rides supremely well over the indiscretions littering the UK roads. Only larger potholes cause larger reverberations but a lot can be put down to the low profile tyres fitted.

The way the A7 steers is precise and predictable, providing all the assurances and confidence you would want when turning the wheel. However, if it’s feel and excitement you are after the A7 isn’t the car for you, as it can feel rather remote and detached.

The interior is similar to what you would find in the Audi A6, which is to say very smart, well put together, and logically laid out. There is plenty of space up front with lots of adjustability in the front seats, while the rear seats will seat four comfortably, although taller people may find themselves a little short of head room due to the sloping roof of the Sportback’s shape, while the middle seat is pretty much redundant thanks to the high-rising transmission tunnel. The boot is long, but shallow and easily accessible thanks to the A7’s hatch opening.

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Should I buy one?

The Audi A7 is a very good car and if you are in the market for a big luxury five-door fastback coupé it should be on your list, alongside the luxurious Mercedes-Benz CLS and the sportier BMW 6 Series Gran Coupé.

But should you choose this engine over the single-turbocharged diesel variants of the A7? If economy and range are key factors in your decision then the lowered powered diesels would be the better bet.

However, if you want a luxury cruiser than exhibits the muscular nature of a sporty coupé then this is the car for you. Its ability to thrust you forward with such gusto provides the thrills that the A7’s handling simply cannot.

Audi A7 Black Edition 3.0 BiTDI 320PS quattro

Where Manchester; On sale Now; Price £61,305; Price as tested £69,925 Engine 2967cc, twin-turbocharged diesel; Power 315bhp at 3900-4600rpm; Torque 479lb ft at 1400-2800rpm; Gearbox 8-spd tiptronic automatic; Kerbweight 1895kg; Top speed 155mph; 0-62mph 5.2sec; Fuel economy 44.8mpg; CO2 rating 167g/km; Rivals Mercedes-Benz CLS, BMW 6 Series Gran Coupé

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