AUDI A7 SPORTBACK REVIEW
Vehicle Style: Premium large saloon
Price: $142,750 (plus on-roads)
Fuel Economy (claimed): 6.0 l/100km
Fuel Economy (tested): 7.2 l/100km
Believe it or not, the Audi A7 is supposedly a five-door hatch. And you wouldn’t believe it - until you hit the button for the boot.
Do that, and the Sportback tailgate opens like the inverted maw of a python; lifting skyward to reveal a long, wide boot space capable of housing a golf set or two. (Or three.)
Quality: It begins on start-up, when you enter the car without pulling the key from your pocket, and press the start button.
The colour screen slides out flat from the dash and flips to face the cabin. At the same moment, the engine fires into life with a muted, mildly-sporty exhaust note and not a hint of diesel rattle.
Quality pervades the cabin; from the leather trim to the soft-touch surfaces and to the heavy thunk of every door - the sense of occasion is quite special.
Comfort: The A7 has many attributes passed down from the super-premium A8.
These include four-zone climate control air-con, plush leather, and ample hip, shoulder and legroom in both the front and rear seating.
Equipment: The standard fare feature list is impressive. It sits on 18-inch alloys and grippy 255/45 rubber; there are bi-Xenon adaptive cornering headlights, and a retractable spoiler at the rear.
Inside, it’s electric everything, from the park brake to the starter button.
DSG paddle shifters sit neatly behind the multi-function steering wheel. It’s hooked up in turn to a huge multi-function colour screen for navigation, Bluetooth, audio, phone, audio, forward and rear low-speed and parking cameras, and car information systems.
The 14-speaker stereo is stunning – you would wonder why the $12,350 Bang and Olufsen option would ever need to be ticked, until you actually hear it.
The rest of the options list is rather horrendous. For example, the additional ambient lighting, while lovely, is $800. A power adjuster on the steering wheel is $1000; power boot-close is $1450; and power heated, vented and massage front seats are $8,600.
Adaptive radar cruise is $3570 and night-vision on the centre-mounted LCD is $4890, while the stunning heads-up information Display incorporating speed and navigation is $3400.
Perhaps, in a $150k car, some of those extras should really be standard fare.
Storage: At less than five metres in length, the A7 is not a huge car to navigate or park, but its width, at 1.9m, is expansive. This allows for a large if shallow 535litre boot.
You need to be careful in low-roofed garages however, as the large hatch can bang up against overhead pipes, rafters and low ceilings.
ON THE ROAD
Driveability: The A7 is simply a pleasure to steer. The 3.0-litre TDI is a beautifully refined and accomplished engine, matched to quattro all-wheel-drive and a DSG automatic transmission.
And on road it has a turn of speed and agility that defies its size.
In traffic, the auto stop-start function can be a little disconcerting - the car takes a split-second longer to both fire up and engage a gear to move off; a typical hang-up of dual-clutch ‘boxes.
But the brake only needs to be partly released to set the engine alight again, and it drew fuel economy down into the low sevens despite the sedan’s weight and size.
The A7 may be big, but is surprisingly easy to manoeuvre and park - helped immeasurably by the electronic aids and multi-function screen view.
Refinement: The cabin is so well damped there is barely a hint of the diesel at work, or of the road surface beneath the tyres.
Suspension: The standard suspension, on skinny rubber and 18-inch alloys, is actually quite plush for an Audi.
The company is well known for producing an overly firm, Autobahn-storming ride that overreacts to Australia’s less-than-perfect road surfaces. Not so in this A7.
There is the option of sports suspension ($980) if a firmer ride is wanted (though we aren’t sure why you would), and air suspension is $4770.
Braking: The pedal is rather sensitive until you get used to its electrical assistance, but the brakes haul this 1800kg sedan up with ease.
ANCAP rating: 5 Stars
Safety features: Six airbags, ABS, BA, EBD, Electronic Differential, Active headlamps, Front/Rear Vision camera, front/rear parking sensors, Tyre Pressure Monitoring
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
Warranty: Three year/100,000km with roadside assist
Service costs: 15,000km/One year service interval: $295.00 - $396.00 (inc. GST)
HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY
Mercedes-Benz CLS 350 CDI ($159,200 ) - More expensive but with fewer options. Rear-drive, with a conventional seven-speed automatic that some may prefer. But the boot is relatively small. (see CLS reviews)
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
The A7 Sportback is a design triumph, inside and out. The potent TDI drivetrain is a standout and effortless in its operation.
With a super-premium air of quality and refinement inside, it feels special for both driver and passengers.
We’d thoroughly recommend a close look if you’re untroubled by the price of entry. But is it worth the lofty price tag, particularly when the A6, for example, houses much of the same fit-out and drivetrain at more than $30k less?
That’s a question only you - and the value you place on exclusivity – can answer.
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Note: prices are Manufacturer's List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.