‘Sharp’, ‘rakish’, ‘taut’ and ‘athletic’ are the words that Audi has chosen to describe the new second-generation version of the A7 Sportback. And, truth be told, they’re all rather fitting, really.

Next to the original A7, the new model is a far more muscular and aggressive-looking thing. Audi’s signature hexagonal grille has been enlarged to a point where it dominates the front of the A7 and, in combination with a sleek new headlight design, gives the Audi a face that appears more purposeful than before.

The 292 LEDs housed in the rear light bar play sweeping animations after both locking and unlocking the car. You’ll either love or hate them

Round the back, meanwhile, is a single light strip, first seen on the latest A8, that stretches the entire width of the A7’s rear flank in a Cylon-esque fashion. Although the A7’s apparent resemblance to the villains of the Battlestar Galactica series is likely to be unintentional, it lends the Audi a more domineering on-road presence than before.

The familiar swooping silhouette remains, although the new A7 is now 5mm shorter than the original car, at 4969mm. Meanwhile, the wheelbase has been extended by 12mm to liberate more cabin space.

As for engines, a 335bhp 3.0-litre petrol V6 is available, although our test car made use of a 3.0-litre V6 50 TDI diesel powerplant. The oil-burner develops 282bhp between 3500rpm and 4000rpm, and torque stands at 457lb ft from 2250rpm to 3000rpm. This is sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed torque-converter automatic transmission and a self-locking centre differential. The petrol V6 makes use of a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.

A new 48V primary electrical system endows the Audi with mild-hybrid capabilities too. Between 34mph and 99mph, the engine can shut down while coasting, and regenerative brakes can send up to 12kW of energy back into the lithium ion battery. Audi claims this system reduces fuel consumption by 0.7 litres per 100km (0.15 gallons per 62 miles).

Suspension is composed of a five-link arrangement with an antiroll bar front and rear. Adaptive dampers and air springs are both available as options, although our Sport-specification test car went without. It was equipped with sports suspension, though, which dropped its ride height by 10mm. It’s worth noting this isn’t available as a standalone option in the UK, with only S-line models getting it as standard.

Our A7 rode on standard 19in alloy wheels, although 20in and 21in wheels are available.

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