Audi Australia has launched the all-new 2011 Audi A7 Sportback, adding yet another niche vehicle segment to the premium German’s diverse product line-up.

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The A7 Sportback is based on the same platform the fourth-generation A6 sedan, and is similar in concept to the smaller A5 Sportback, which is based on the A4/A5 architecture.

At 4.97m long, 1.91m wide and 1.42m tall with a 2.91m wheelbase, the A7 Sportback is 50mm longer, 40mm wider and 40mm lower than the all-new A6. The Sportback also has a slightly larger luggage capacity, up from 530 litres to 535 litres.

Two direct-injection turbocharged variants are available in Australia: one diesel-powered and one petrol-powered.

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Both engines are equipped with Audi’s thermal management system, energy recuperation and start-stop systems. Also contributing to efficiency is the seven-speed dual-clutch S tronic transmission, which Audi says shifts in merely hundredths of a second.

The quattro permanent all-wheel drive system is the same as the one that debuted in the RS 5 coupe, and incorporates a self-locking centre differential that can distribute power from as much as 70 percent through the front wheels to 85 percent through the rear.

Much of the design of the A7 Sportback has been carried over from the Sportback concept vehicle that debuted at the 2009 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

More than 20 percent of the body is made of lightweight aluminium, including the strut mounts, strut brace and cross-members, front and rear bumpers, and the doors, bonnet and rear hatch.

The A7 Sportback comes standard with adaptive bi-xenon headlights and LED daytime running lights. Full LED headlights are available as an optional extra.

The endless C-pillar flows into the strong rear shoulder and borders the upward-pointing rear side window, which Audi says is inspired by the Audi 100 Coupe S from 1969.

The rear hatch features a spoiler that automatically extends at 130km/h (presumably to let the police know you’ve broken the speed limit) and retracts at 80km/h.

With the exception of the reversing light, the taillights are fitted entirely with LEDs, positioned three-dimensionally to accentuate the vehicle’s sculptured design.

The A7 Sportback is available in eleven different paint colours: two solid finishes, six metallic and three pearl-effect. The 3.0 TDI comes standard with seven-spoke 18-inch alloy wheels, while the 3.0 TFSI gets 10-spoke 19-inch wheels.

Inside, the instrument cluster, air vents and control elements are strongly oriented towards the driver for a cockpit ambiance.

A range of materials is used throughout depending on your preference, ranging from various leathers and Alcantara to brushed aluminium and two types of wood.

The eight-inch colour driver information display screen in the instrument cluster can be controlled entirely by the multi-function leather steering wheel and incorporates an efficiency program with gear shift indicator and other driving style tips.

A head-up display system is also available as an option in the A7 Sportback.

The interior’s party piece is the central monitor, which extends out of the dashboard when the ignition is turned on. The Multimedia Interface (MMI) operating system controls most interior functions including navigation and infotainment systems. A hard drive for music and computer files, as well as 3D maps and Bluetooth with voice control are among the system’s highlights.

The standard front seats are 10-way adjustable, while the optional comfort pews can move in another 10 directions

The rear seats fold down to open up 1390 litres of luggage space, while the rear hatch can be programmed to open to different angles, depending on the available space.

The optional adaptive cruise control (ACC) system headlines the A7 Sportback’s driver assistance features. It uses four radar sensors, ultrasonic sensors, a video camera and navigation data to ensure the vehicle is safely positioned on the road, regardless of whether it is in stop-start traffic or blasting at its 250km/h top speed.

Other driver assistance systems include side assist, night vision assist, and numerous versions of Audi’s pre-sense collision avoidance safety system.

2011 Audi A7 Sportback pricing:

  • 3.0 TDI quattro – $142,750
  • 3.0 TFSI quattro – $147,800

Options:

  • Adaptive air suspension – $4770
  • Head-up display – $3400
  • Quattro sports differential – $2570
  • Metallic paint – $2300
  • LED headlights – $2700
  • Night vision with pedestrian detection – $4890
  • Front comfort seats – $8600
  • Bang & Olufsen Advance Sound System – $12,350
  • S line Sports package – $10,200 3.0 TDI/$7900 3.0 TFSI

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