SINGAPORE (Nov 26): It is hard to believe that a sharply dropping roof line can make a car look so good. But that is exactly the case with the new Audi A7 Sportback. Viewed from any angle, this newly designed roof line grabs your attention with its sleek and sporty look. The designers at Audi have clearly spent a long time labouring over the shape of this relaunched four-door coupé, and it has paid off. Their aim was to reinforce Audi’s design language using large surfaces, sharp edges and alternating light and shadows.
The shape is muscular and athletic, thanks to some smart design touches. A low, wide single-frame grille at the front complements the sloping roof line while the powerful contours of the wheel arches add to the sporty theme. The side air inlets are reminiscent of the front splitters of a racing touring car. The HD Matrix LED headlights are also attention-grabbing in their design. The A7 Sportback emphasises luxury German brand Audi’s leading role in the car industry’s lighting technology and design. The headlights come in three choices: LED, HD Matrix LED and HD Matrix LED with Audi laser light.
The rear of the new Audi A7 Sportback has been likened to a yacht in the way it tapers. Not only does the new shape at the back look great, but it adds to the car’s aerodynamics. An added bonus is a spoiler that pops up from the rear hatch when you hit a speed of 120kph, although you may have to save that feature for the track. Indeed, the Audi A7 Sportback would not look out of place on the race track, with its sporty aspirations. While the car’s jaw-dropping new design may jump out at you, this is also an ultra-luxurious vehicle that is brimming with technology. After all, it is a Gran Tourer, a model that has a long and illustrious history in providing as much comfort as possible on long journeys.
Comfort and luxury
Much time has also been spent on the design language inside the A7 Sportback. The theme is one of minimalistic luxury, reduced and clean. As soon as you sit down in the cabin, you are greeted by a sleek instrument panel, along with high-resolution 10.1-inch and 8.6-inch HD touchscreens. The upper screen controls your infotainment; the lower one lets you control the climate, comfort and other functions. The touchscreens have an easy-to-use flat menu like a smartphone’s. It is all about making life comfortable and hassle-free for the driver. So, there is even a choice of voice control, while many of the functions can be controlled from the steering wheel. The dashboard looks modern and futuristic with its mix of stylish chrome and shiny black.
Luxury is all around you, from the optional sound system (Bang & Olufsen) to the newly developed seats. For the seating, you have the option of three-stage heating and ventilation, along with a massage function, guaranteeing excellent comfort and support. With a high level of luxury and spaciousness, this is the sort of cabin I could spend a lot of time in. The size of the cabin is helped by an optional panoramic glass roof, which creates a bright, light-filled atmosphere. When closed, the electronic sun blind offers light protection as well as heat reduction.
When you are nestled comfortably in the cabin, you have a wide choice of driving profiles depending on your mood, including Dynamic and Sport. Impressively, the car remembers the driver when the door is opened and will adjust the various settings according to your profile. Up to seven drivers can store their preferred settings in the individual profiles. This covers everything from seating position to preferred heating and media. The car recognises the driver via the car key he or she is carrying. This is a highly intelligent car. Another “highlight” is the ambient lighting package, which creates a unique atmosphere inside the cabin and can also be customised to suit your style. Optical fibres allow precise lighting to accentuate contours and emphasise the dashboard and design structure, while also allowing comfortable entry and exit in the dark.
A driving pleasure
The new Audi A7 Sportback is not about style over substance, though. Not only does it look good, but it also drives well. This is a big car, but it handles like a much smaller one. It is very agile around corners and cruises along the expressway with ease. This is partly thanks to the dynamic all-wheel steering that gives great stability and feedback to the driver. But, of course, this is only part of the engineering jigsaw puzzle. Audi also integrates different suspensions, including a sports suspension and adaptive air suspension, which improves comfort, sportiness and precision.
Audi has a strong reputation for making powerful and sporty cars — just take a look at its motorsports history: the sumptuous R8 and its compact sports coupé the TT. So, the A7 Sportback has a lot of that sporting heritage to call upon. The engine is a mighty 3.0-litre, which is a highly efficient mild hybrid system (MHEV). This power plant is connected to a slick eight-speed tiptronic transmission and the Audi quattro drivetrain system.
Another strong takeaway is how much technology is packed into the new Audi A7 Sportback. It has an incredible 39 driver assistance systems, split into three packages — Park Assist, City Assist and Tour Assist — available. One nifty piece of technology is the central driver assistance controller. It continually computes an image of your surroundings using five radar sensors, a front camera, four 360-degree cameras and 12 ultrasonic sensors. That vast amount of technology lets you to do some amazing things. This will include remote parking and remote garage pilot soon. This will allow the driver to remotely steer the car into a parking space or garage and back out again using a smartphone to control it. In fact, the new Audi A7 Sportback is one of the most technologically-advanced cars on our roads. On top of all its driving aids, it features a WiFi hotspot.
With its sporty aesthetics, you sometimes forget this car is actually a Gran Tourer and comes with the benefits of having plenty of space inside for you and your family. You get a very generous 535 litres of luggage space, which can be extended to 1,390 litres with the back seats folded down. While this new A7 delivers so much in the way of spaciousness, technology, sportiness and luxury, my lasting impression is its eye-catching and dynamic shape. It is a rare breed — the design of a coupé, the space of a sedan and the variability of an Audi Avant estate car. The Audi A7 Sportback ticks so many boxes for a luxury four-door coupé that it is going to be a big draw in Singapore.
The second-generation Audi A7 Sportback was unveiled earlier this year in Germany
Smart design changes have given the car a more muscular and athletic look
Justin Harper is a freelance journalist with a passion for all things fast
This article appeared in Issue 858 (Nov 26) of The Edge Singapore.