The Audi A7 range continues to be the German brand's entry into a style conscious large saloon segment. The 2015 refresh changes aim to continue the appeal.
The 2015 Audi A7/S7 Sportback appeals to an older buyer, one who is more likely to make their purchasing decision based on a styling influence. That’s the guff according to Audi Australia and it’s a crucial piece of information that differentiates the A7 range from its also updated A6 sibling.
Headlining the A7/S7’s impressive portfolio is the excellent quattro all-wheel drive drivetrain across the range meaning regardless of the model you choose the power on offer is backed up by all-paw surety.
Historically, the A7/S7 has been a success for the brand in Australia with a strong representation of S and RS models in the sales data. This facelifted model promises to be no different, although we haven’t yet sampled the range-topping RS7.
Read our full A7/S7 pricing and specification guide here.
As you can see from that rundown, there’s plenty to appeal to the senses in the A7 range, with a starting price point of $115,400 for the 3.0 TDI quattro S tronic. While the S7 might appear to be the most desirable model in the range given its outright grunt, the entry-level diesel is the variant we settle into first to get a feel for what the A7 buyer on a budget might experience.
Following that test run, we get behind the wheel of our pick in the A7 range, the 3.0 TDI Biturbo quattro tiptronic variant. The S7 is definitely the performance monster, but either of these turbo diesel engines promise to deliver more than enough performance to match their daily driving panache.
Our base A7 is only fitted with metallic paint ($2300) and Audi Connect ($1100), bringing the as tested price up to $118,800. The styling is yours to love or hate. I’m not a huge fan of the rear three-quarter view of the A7 Sportback, I’d have an A6. However, I’m not the target market either – that’s reserved for older buyers with a bit more sense of style that I have apparently.
The silky smooth diesel engine offers up 160kW and 500Nm, slightly down on the model it replaces, but the way in which the power and torque is generated ensures the A7 is an effortless drive. Around town at lower speeds, or out on the open road, there’s an insulated sense of calm that is never unsettled. The diesel engine note barely rates a mention.
The single turbo diesel gets a seven-speed S tronic gearbox and it’s seamless regardless of road speed. Shifts up or down through the ratios can be rapid if you’re making the engine sing near redline, but they can also be very smooth at lower engine speeds.
The A7 is comfortable too, soaking up bumps in comfort and delivering the kind of ride and bump absorption a discerning buyer might expect. I’ve named the next model up in the range, the biturbo version of this same engine, as the pick of the range but honestly, you’d never be left wanting more if your budget didn’t stretch that far.
The new Audi display, which sits between the two conventional gauges, is clear and easy to read, and I find myself accessing the sat nav instructions there, rather than looking down to the traditional, center console mounted screen. Visibility fore and aft is exceptional too for what is undoubtedly a big vehicle. It’s never difficult to manoeuvre or position on the road, and rearward visibility when parking isn’t compromised by the stylised rear hatch.
I jump into the second row and there’s plenty of legroom too even if the front seat occupants are long-legged. You can fit three across the second row, but two will be more comfortable over longer distances. The hatch obviously affords more expansive access to the boot space, another bonus for the A7 buyer.
Next, I get behind the wheel of my favourite A7, the 3.0 TDI Biturbo quattro tiptronic variant. Pricing starts from $144,900. In contrast to its single turbo sibling, the twin turbo oiler gets an eight-speed tiptronic gearbox that channels the engine’s 235kW and 650Nm. The peak torque figure is available between 1400-2800rpm, which means you can get the big A7 moving in rapid fashion.
The fact that a vehicle of this size can get from 0-100km/h in 5.2 seconds but use only an ADR figure of 6.1 litres/100km is impressive. We'll report back after a weeklong test, but we expect the diesels to get close to their claimed consumption in the real world.
Prodigious grip via the quattro AWD system is aided and abetted by the optional quattro sports differential ($2600) that at this price point, seems to be a must. Other options include metallic paint ($2300), sports leather seats ($2500), Audi Connect ($1100) and the Bang and Olufsen sound system ($10,500).
There’s a discernible engine note when you really mash the accelerator pedal, but the good news is, that engine note sounds absolutely nothing like a diesel. There’s a low bellow from the tailpipes as speed piles on and the A7 rockets forward. How the Audi engineers have made a diesel sound so un-diesel-like is hard to comprehend, but the Biturbo engine is a sensation.
The handling and steering is well beyond what you’d expect of a vehicle that is more sports tourer than sports sedan. When you start to drive a little more enthusiastically, there’s no doubt you’re punting a large car, but the A7 really does shrink around you the longer you drive it.
The A7 range is impressive, despite being properly large vehicles physically. You’ll never feel like you’re running around town in a go-kart — that’s for sure. I’d have to opt for a model in the A6 portfolio if it was my money, but then maybe I’m not stylish enough to own an A7. If you are stylish enough, the A7 is a luxurious sedan, with hatch practicality.