The new A7 Sportback has had a makeover to follow Audi’s new design language – it’s sleek and attractive, if not a revolutionary departure from what went before. Our test car came in top-level S line trim, which adds to special front and rear bumpers, side skirts and a few S line logos. It also adds HD Matrix LED headlights at the front, and ‘dynamic’ LED rear lights that run across the length of the boot.
Inside, the dashboard is dominated by the twin touchscreen MMI system – featuring 10.1in and 8.6in displays – and the 12.3in Virtual Cockpit digital instrument display. On top of the features covered in our review of the 50 TDI sport model here, S line trim interiors feature leather and Alcantara-covered sports seats.
The A7 Sportback takes much of the technology recently introduced on the flagship A8, including a raft of driver assistance features. And, as is customary with Audi, the optional equipment kit is extensive. Some of those fitted to our test car included the Bang & Olufsen 3D Advanced Sound System, a smartphone interface, phone charging box and a night vision display.
S line trim also features sport suspension (10mm lower than standard) and 20in wheels (the lower sport trim has 19in as standard), although our test car was also fitted with adaptive air suspension and 21in wheels.
It also came with Audi’s four-wheel-steering system, engineered to turn the rear wheels in the opposite direction as the front as low speeds to boost handing, and in the same direction at higher speeds to increase stability. It definitely inspired confidence: the A7 Sportback handled assuredly and responded well, although the combination of all the driver assistance systems did leave something of a disconnect between input and action, improved by playing around with the various drive modes.
The 55 TFSI engine had power in abundance, delivered smoothly and quietly in largely fuss-free fashion. In fact, it takes considerable effort, and use of the manual gears, in order to produce a stirring noise. But despite the appearance of the word ‘sport’ in its title, the engine response matched the handling dynamic: it’s best enjoyed as a relaxed (yet fiercely fast and capable cruiser) than a truly evocative responsive sports car.
A slight disappointment is that that cruising pleasure is tempered somewhat by a rougher than expected ride, even with the drive mode set to comfort. The 50 TDI version we also tested – which ran on smaller 20in tyres – was somewhat smoother, if still not as refined as you might expect. That said, as with the diesel version, this is a car that you could happily spend hours in covering large distances.