Drive Impression – Audi A7 Sportback

A very pretty odd number

The Audi A7 Sportback arrives in South Africa


I don’t know if you have seen the T.V. advert for the A7 yet but it basically shows all these blank pieces of paper floating on the wind, the pieces of paper all start to gently land in piles and begin to make a shape, the shape is the A7 and the voice over guy says that the best ideas start on a blank piece of paper or something like that… I wonder if he meant tracing paper? No wait that’s a horrible thing to say because the A7 Sportback might look somewhat like the A5 Sportback but they are in fact very different and I was very impressed with this new Audi…I mean, just look at it.

So you want to be different, you want a big car that looks like a sexy sleek coupe and you want four doors and a really big boot. Well, Audi have come to the rescue with the new A7. It sits in between the all new and soon to arrive Audi A6 and the already impressive Audi A8 taking on the likes of Mercedes-Benz, BMW and even Porsche.

The Audi A7 offers new innovative design methods – for instance it features a hybrid construction which uses light weight steel and aluminium to keep weight down while retaining strength and stiffness.  The five-door coupe is just less than 5 metres long and is about 2 metres wide yet it is only 1.4 metres high. Key aesthetic features include an extended bonnet line, a short front overhang, a long wheelbase, the sporty curve of the C-pillars, and the short rear deck. This all blends together to enhance the sporty and muscular presence of the A7. And thanks to its rather lengthy body you get quite a big boot, 535 litres with rear seats up, 1390 with seats down to be precise.

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The A7 really impressed me with its visual aspects and when the fancy boot spoiler is up it changes the rear completely adding to the sporty nature of this car. It comes up automatically at 120km/h or can be raised manually while sitting in traffic with a little button on the dash.

Just as impressive as the exterior the interior is also dripping in style and features technology lifted from the flagship Audi A8 and even beyond. Over and above the plush leather and wood trim (or aluminium if you prefer) is the advanced MMI operating system with central menu button and reduced number switchgear complexity is standard, while one of the options is a new head-up display that projects the most important information on the windscreen. Look, I’m a gadget freak so I managed quite fine inside the Audi A7 with all of its toys but if you are one of those people that need help with trying to PVR Antique Road Show on BBC then I would suggest you study the user manual.

The new A7 Sportback can also be ordered with several optional driver assistance and safety systems. These include the Audi pre sense safety system, which can reduce the severity of accidents and their consequences. The new Audi active lane assist helps the driver to keep the A7 Sportback firmly on course, and the new park assist system relieves the driver of the chore of steering when parallel parking.

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So the car looks great both in and out but how is it on the black stuff? Well to find out Audi flew me down to the magnificent Western Cape to experience the A7 first hand.

The spaghetti like asphalt draped over the magnificent rolling mountains of the Cape was the perfect place to test this car. Audi is no stranger to the twists and bends and the A7 takes it all in its stride thanks to Audis Quattro system. Grip is ample and the smoothness of the ride was very welcoming. Our road trip took us all over the Cape. Tight mountain passes and wide open valleys were all part of the journey and the A7 not only offered a very comfortable and relaxing ride it also drew attention everywhere it went. People were taking pictures with their mobile phones at the traffic lights and at rest stops.

Audi will be launching two engine models with three different spec levels on each: Sophisticated at R43 400, Progressive at R51 500, and the performance-orientated Sport at R50 500. The model line up includes a 3.0TFSI Quattro and an impressive 3.0TDI Quattro. Both cars offer class leading CO2 emissions. The petrol model emission rating is 190g/km and the diesel is 158g/km. Audi say that the petrol car will give you about 8.2L/100km and the diesel will give you about 6L/100km.

At launch the cars were fitted with Audis 7 speed S-Tronic gearbox, Audi say that we probably won’t see a manual box in South Africa. But that’s fine with me because the S-tronic gearbox is smooth and quick and the paddle shifters behind the steering wheel are always fun.

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The Petrol engine delivers 220kW and 440Nm while the Diesel delivers 180kW with 500Nm. 0 to 100km/h sprint time for the 3.0TFSI is around 5.6sec and the Diesel  gets to 100km/h from stand still in about 6.5sec. Prices start at R717 000 for the diesel, which makes it about eleven thousand Rand less than the petrol model and yes, an S7 model will be coming soon, as for an RS7, well, I’m holding both thumbs on that one.

So overall the all new Audi A7 is an impressive piece of engineering. It is sophisticated and sporty, it has striking lines which set it apart from the rest and it offers a great drive. They go on sale from March so if you are interested I suggest getting down to your Audi dealer because I suspect that the waiting list is going to grow quite quickly.

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By Justin Jacobs

Audi A7 Specifications:

Audi A7 3.0TFSI

Price: R730 000

Engine: Aluminium V6 spark-ignition engine with gasoline direct injection, DOHC,

mechanical charger module with two intercoolers, two charge movement flaps,

demand-controlled high-pressure and low-pressure fuel system

Max. power output in kW / @ rpm:  220 @ 5250 – 6500

Max. torque in Nm / @ rpm: 440 @ 2900 – 4500

Drive type: Quattro permanent all-wheel drive with self-locking centre differential, ESP

Transmission type: 7-speed S tronic

Top speed: 250 km/h

Acceleration, 0-100 km/h: in 5.6 sec

 

Audi A7 3.0TDI

Price: R717 000

Engine: V6 engine with 90° V angle turbo diesel.

Max. power output in kW / @ rpm: 180 @ 4000-4500

Max. torque in Nm / @ rpm: 500 @ 1400-3250

Drive type: quattro permanent all-wheel drive with self-locking center differential, ESP

Transmission type: 7-speed S tronic

Top speed: 250km/h

Acceleration, 0-100 km/h: in 6.5 sec

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