Pistonheads got to drive the new Audi A7
This is what they said
You're getting the best of three worlds with the new A7 Sportback, says Audi, by which it means the sporty dynamics and style of a coupe, the luxury and comfort of an executive saloon, and the practicality of an estate car.
In simple terms it's a repeat formula of the successful A5 Sportback, but writ larger - quite a lot larger in fact at 4.97m overall. The A7 is also built on a brand new platform that will underpin a new A6 range due to be unveiled before the year is out.
It's made of various grades of steel, including hot-pressed parts where the strength-to-lightness ratio is critical, plus around 20 percent aluminium - which accounts for an all-up weight saving of 15 percent over a conventional steel car. The aluminium is mostly used for exterior panels, including doors, bonnet and tailgate, and the A7 tips the scales at 1,695kgs in its most basic guise.
Whether buyers will care about that remains to be seen, but we're pretty sure those aluminium panels have been pressed into a sufficiently attractive shape to ensure the 3,000 unit annual UK target will be met with relative ease. In fact Audi thinks it is such an attractive showroom proposition that nearly 40 percent of sales are forecast to be switchers from its own A5, and A6 saloon and Avant models. The rest it hopes to pinch from rivals in the B and C segments, which seems a more sensible aspiration.
Those rivals most obviously include the Mercedes CLS, which is up for renewal soon, and the BMW 5 Series GT. Jaguar will be giving the new Audi a chilly welcome, too, especially as the XF loses ground with its limited boot space at one end of the newcomer's price range, while the latest XJ is not a million miles ahead in the 'beauty' stakes at the other.
In fact, if you preferred the taut, high-shouldered style of the A7 to our home-grown rivals we wouldn't be that surprised, which says a lot about how good the A7 is to look at in the metal. The story continues inside where the cabin has an upmarket quality and ambience, whether you choose 'traditional' sporty black tones or something like the very contemporary light oak laminate we saw from the options list.
The driving position and seats are excellent, and the dash/fascia is beautifully drawn, with a sculpted wrap-around effect for the driver and passenger. Crucially you get a decent view out past the windscreen pillars, which can't be said of the current Merc CLS, and there's a really well executed retractable 'big screen' nav/media display with an optional Satnav that integrates Google Earth pictures, plus a Head Up Display on the options list.
Both the standard wheel and the sportier S Line version feel great in the hands, and it would be pretty hard to fault the twin-dial instrument pack for clarity or style. There's no doubt