Audi’s latest A7 Sportback, sporty vanguard of Audi’s luxury class

Back in 2010, Audi made a bold statement with the first-generation A7 sportback; the four-door coupé combined exquisite elegance and sporting dynamism in a wholly new way. With its second iteration, Audi’s four-door Gran Turismo becomes the next impressive showcase of Audi’s new full-size design language, which began with the new Audi A8 earlier this year.

The hallmark of each new Audi full-size class model is based on a characteristic leitmotif. While the Audi A8 embodies prestige in its design, the design language of the new A7 stands for pure progressiveness. With a sculpted body defined by striking edges, the all-new Audi A7 Sportback represents a consummate expression of all the values of the brand with the four rings; progressiveness, sportiness and sophistication.

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.

Four figures encapsulate the sporty character and the muscular proportions of the large Audi A7 four-door coupé: It is 4,969 millimeters (16.3 ft) long, has a wheelbase of 2,926 millimeters (9.6 ft), 1,908 millimeters (6.3 ft) wide, and stands only 1,422 millimeters (4.7 ft) high. Compared with the previous model, interior length has increased 21 millimeters (0.8 in), resulting in more rear knee room as well as more head room for rear passengers. In terms of luggage space, the base capacity of 535 litres is certainly sizeable, but this increases to 1,390 litres (49.1 cu ft) with the rear seats folded down. The luggage compartment has also been optimized so that two golf bags can 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, aeroacoustics 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.

Luxury meets technology inside the new Audi A7

The interior of the Audi A7 Sportback fuses design and technology in a unique way to create a futuristic lounge atmosphere. Its reduced, clean design language is based on finding a balance between tension and coolness, whilst systematically continuing the digitalization strategy set by the Audi A8. The interior architecture seamlessly melds with Audi’s new MMI touch response operating concept that replaces the rotary pushbutton and conventional buttons of before with two large, high-resolution touch displays.

The MMI touch response operating concept features haptic and acoustic feedback and is as intuitive to use as a smartphone. Users hear and feel a click as confirmation when their finger triggers a function. With its logical and flat menu structure, the system allows fast access to the various vehicle functions, and it can also be personalized thanks to configurable and movable favorites buttons. The 10.1-inch upper display which controls the infotainment system (in combination with MMI navigation plus) is deployed with black panel optics and framed in a graphite gray aluminum clasp, making it invisible until the car doors are opened in order to greet the driver. Mounted on the asymmetric console of the center tunnel, the 8.6-inch lower display provides access to the climate control system, comfort functions and text input.

The inclusion of MMI navigation plus also sees the installation of the Audi virtual cockpit, providing a high-resolution, fully digital 12.3” instrument cluster that is focused entirely around the driver, and can provide access to infotainment, communication and navigation functions without the driver ever having to lift his hands off the wheel. An optional head-up display and voice control further accentuate the ease at which owners can receive and provide information in the new Audi A7 Sportback, underlining Audi’s commitment to revolutionizing the interaction between driver and vehicle through technology.

Speaking of technology, the Audi A7 Sportback will see the same level of automation as the flagship Audi A8. Available in 2018, the AI button in the Audi A7 Sportback will enable the driver to activate the Audi AI remote parking pilot and the Audi AI remote garage pilot which can autonomously maneuver the A7 Sportback into and out of a parking space or garage. The driver can get out of the car before launching the function via the myAudi app on their smartphone. The central driver assistance controller (zFAS) merges the data from a sophisticated set of sensors to continually compute an image of the surroundings. Depending on the equipment level, there can be as many as five radar sensors, five cameras, 12 ultrasonic sensors and a laser scanner.

Besides the Audi AI systems, the new Audi A7 Sportback features a total of 39 driver assistance systems to make things easier for the driver. They are split up into three packages: the Audi AI parking package (gradual introduction beginning 2018), the City assist package with the new crossing assist, and the Tour assist package. The latter includes such things as the efficiency assistant, which facilitates a driving style conducive to reducing consumption, and the adaptive driving assistant (ADA), which supplements the adaptive cruise control (ACC) with helpful steering interventions to maintain the lane.

Built for speed and distance: Audi’s very own Gran Turismo

The new Audi A7 Sportback further extends its synthesis of sportiness and comfort; the optional dynamic-all-wheel steering, the new electronic chassis program (ECP) and the updated air suspension make it even more agile, nimble and comfortable in any conditions. The Audi A7 Sportback is thus the perfect Gran Turismo: dynamic and agile on twisty country roads, yet comfortable on long highway stretches.

The standard progressive steering, whose generally sporty ratio becomes even more direct the further the steering wheel is turned, featuring a new concept for intensive road feedback. Mounted behind large wheels – up to 21 inches and 255/35 – with improved rolling comfort are aluminum fixed-caliper brakes with discs up to 400 millimeters (15.7 in) in diameter. Customers can choose between four suspension setups: a conventional steel spring suspension, the sport suspension that lowers ride height by 10 millimeters (0.4 in), electronically controlled damping and the self-leveling adaptive 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 Audi A7 Sportback will initially launch with the 3.0 TFSI V6 engine paired with a seven-speed S tronic transmission and quattro drivetrain, with additional six- and four engines, in both gasoline and diesel to follow after the start of production. The initial V6 turbo engine produces 340 hp (250 kW) and 500 Nm of torque (368.8 lb-ft) enabling the four-door coupé to sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.3 seconds and post a top speed of 250 km/h (155.3 mph). In the NEDC, the base version of the Audi A7 55 TFSI consumes 6.8 litres of fuel (34.6 US mpg) per 100 kilometres, corresponding to CO2 emissions of 154 grams (247.8 g/mi), with the frugal fuel consumption courtesy of the improved quattro drivetrain with ultra technology that activates rear-wheel drive as needed.

All engines used in the A7 Sportback will come standard with 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.

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