Audi launches second generation A7 Sportback – yes, its a looker


It has been seven years since Audi launched their first sportback; the four-door coupé which dynamically combines sportiness and elegance. And now, Audi have revealed the second iteration of the Audi A7, a progressive Gran Turismo that showcases Audi’s design language, which began with the A8 earlier this year. The A7 Sportback combines a talent for business and recreation in an irresistible package that melds the design of a Coupé, the spaciousness of a Sedan and the versatility of an Avant. At a glance, the Audi A7 Sportback projects an athletic profile with a muscular engine hood, expansive wheelbase and short overhangs.

Pronounced contours emphasize the large wheels (up to 21” in diameter) and reference Audi’s quattro genes, which determine the proportions of the vehicle’s body. All volumes, surfaces and edges have been designed with the utmost precision, and this is most evident in the sloping roofline to the rear of the vehicle, which gives it its iconic and elegant silhouette.

Audi’s latest A7 has muscular proportions: it is 4,969 mm long with a wheelbase of 2,969 mm, 1,908 mm wide and stands at 1,422 mm high. Compared against the previous model, the new car has an increased interior length of 21 mm, resulting in more knee and head room for rear passengers. Open the hatch and you get a sizable 535 litres, but drop the rear seats and this expands to 1,390 litres — good enough for two golf bags to fit in horizontally.

More so than before, the Singleframe grille dominates the front-end of the new Audi A7 Sportback. Positioned wider and lower, it expresses the sporty character of the four-door coupé immediately. All the adjoining surfaces and lines radiate out from the grille, such as the contours on the engine hood and the flat headlights. The calm, horizontally aligned contour of the headlights provides space for a spectacular lighting design.

The side view is a dialog of taut lines and convex surfaces, most prominent being a low-set shoulder line that runs around the entire car lowers the optical center of gravity of the A7 Sportback. This extension of the car’s breadth extends from the headlight, runs to the corner of the rear light and forms powerful muscles above the wheel arches to underline it’s tribute to Audi’s legendary Ur-quattro, the original quattro vehicle. At the rear, the Audi A7 Sportback also features a trademark integrated spoiler, which not only gives it a distinctive shape when deployed at speeds of over 130 km/h, but also additional stability at high speeds. The body, which features steel and aluminum composite construction with large components made of aluminum, is a key factor in the improved handling and greater comfort. The four-door coupé scores top marks with respect to body stiffness, aero-acoustics and aerodynamics.

For Audi, the lighting design is more than just styling, it is the aesthetic expression of the brand values of progressiveness, sophistication and sportiness, in short: “Vorsprung durch Technik.” Audi once again underscores its leading role in lighting technology with the striking light signature of the new Audi A7 Sportback. Available with three headlight options; LED, HD Matrix LED as well as HD Matrix LED with laser high beam, the two more advanced variants stand out with a distinctive horizontal light structure both on the front as well as the rear.

Whenever the doors are locked or unlocked, fast moving animations commence in the front and rear lights , highlighting this four-door coupé’s dynamism and presence, even whilst standing still and providing a visual treat every single time. The new Audi A7 thus impressively symbolizes the new era of Audi’s lighting design; digital, individual and built on the aesthetics of movement.

On the inside, the A7’s interior echoes the design strategy set by the Audi A8. The interior architecture seamlessly melds with Audi’s new MMI touch response operating concept, which replaces the conventional buttons from before. The new MMI touch features haptic and acoustic feedback, said to be as intuitive to use as a smartphone, split into two panels – a large 10.1-inch upper display which controls the infotainment system and a 8.6-inch lower display which provides access to climate control system. The inclusion of MMI navigation plus also sees installation of Audi’s virtual cockpit which provides a high-resolution, 12.3-inch digital cluster which is focused around the driver.

In the technology department, the new A7 gets progressive steering, a new electronic chassis program (ECP) as well as updated air suspension, which makes the new car more nimble and comfortable in all conditions – dynamic and agile on twisty roads, yet comfortable on long highway stretches. There are four suspension set-ups: a conventional steel-spring suspension, sport suspension which lowers the car by a further 10 mm, electronically controlled damping and the self-leveling air suspension.

The top chassis-related innovation is dynamic-all-wheel steering. It combines direct, sporty steering response with unshakable stability, resolving the conflict of aims between agility and comfort. The steering ratio varies as a function of speed between 9.5:1 and 16.5:1 by means of active steering interventions at the front and rear axle. At the front axle, strain wave gearing is used to superimpose these in response to the driver’s steering input. At the rear axle, a spindle drive turns the wheels by as much as 5 degrees. At low speed, they steer counter to the front wheels to further increase the agility of the Gran Turismo when parking or driving in urban traffic, for example. This reduces the turning circle at full lock by 1.1 meters (3.6 ft). At 60 km/h (37.3 mph) and above, the rear axle steers in the same direction to increase straight-line stability and facilitate lane changes.

The new A7 Sportback will initially launch with the now familiar 3.0 TFSI V6 engine, paired to a seven-speed S tronic transmission and quattro drivetrain. Some tweaks now give the motor 340hp and 500Nm, allowing a century sprint of 5.3 seconds and a top speed of 250km/h. As standard, all engine variants will also feature a new mild hybrid system (MHEV) for greater comfort and efficiency.

This system uses a 48-volt primary electrical system with a belt alternator starter (BAS) working in tandem with a lithium-ion battery that achieves a recuperation performance of up to 12 kW when braking. At speeds between 55 and 160 km/h (34.2 – 99.4 mph), the four-door coupé can coast in freewheeling mode with the engine deactivated and then restarted comfortably via the BAS. The start-stop function has been significantly expanded and now activates at 22 km/h (13.7 mph). In combination with the standard front camera, the engine is restarted predictively while at a standstill as soon as vehicle ahead begins to move. In real-world driving, the MHEV technology reduces fuel consumption by up to 0.7 liters per 100 kilometers.

The new Audi A7 Sportback rolls off the assembly line at the Neckarsulm site and will launch on the German market in late February 2018 with the base price for the 55 TFSI quattro S tronic at 67,800 (RM338,000). In case you were wondering; the “55” in the rear badge is simply an indication of where the car sits in the Audi power range hierarchy (55 for models between 329hp and 369hp).

No indicative prices for Malaysia yet of course, nor do we know if the 2.0 TFSI will be available locally. We’ll update as soon as we find out.


About Author


From supercar spotting on the streets of Kuala Lumpur, Won has moved onto the realms of motoring journalism since 2011. He has a keen eye for automotive photography, a penchant for fast cars, and the occasional hunger for munching corners.

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