The 2015 Audi A7 range now starts at $115,400 plus on-road costs - down $21,350 from the MY14 version - positioning it bang on with the recently updated Mercedes-Benz CLS, which starts just $500 higher.
The significantly cheaper entry price applies to the 3.0-litre TDI V6 quattro variant. Audi has also sliced $4700 from the 3.0-litre TDI Biturbo quattro variant, which now costs $144,900. The supercharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine has been axed from the line-up, leaving the S7 Sportback as the only petrol option in the range. Its price is unchanged at $179,900.
The single-turbo 3.0 TDI produces 160kW and 500Nm, which is down a significant 20kW and 80Nm from the old entry model. As a result, the base A7 is half a second slower from 0-100km/h than before (now 6.8 seconds), though combined cycle fuel consumption is 12 per cent sharper at 5.2 litres per 100 kilometres. A seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission sends power to all four wheels.
The high-output 3.0-litre TDI Biturbo engine produces 235kW (up 5kW) and 650Nm and is mated to an eight-speed tiptronic automatic transmission. The sprint to triple figures comes up one tenth of a second sooner (now 5.2 seconds) while combined fuel use dips from 6.4 to 6.1L/100km.
The high-performance S7 Sportback tops the range with a 4.0-litre TFSI Biturbo V8 that generates 331kW (up 22kW) and 550Nm. Sprinting from 0-100km/h takes 4.6 seconds (down 0.1sec) and combined cycle fuel consumption is rated at 9.3L/100km (down from 0.3L/100km). Four of the eight cylinders can be deactivated to help keep fuel consumption under control in stop-start traffic and under light throttle. Any nasty harmonics created by this deactivation are suppressed by an active noise cancellation system that broadcasts through the audio system. As with the entry diesel, it also features the seven-speed S tronic transmission.
As with the 2015 Audi A6 and S6 models that also go on sale today, the A7 and S7 Sportbacks boast more dynamic exterior styling. There’s a new single frame grille, a lower splitter and larger air inlets with twin chrome highlights, all of which create the impression of a much wider stance than the previous model.
New Matrix LED headlights redefine the front end and offer improved forward vision while reducing the imposition on oncoming vehicles. Distinctive, signature Audi dynamic blinkers are available front and rear for the A7 and S7 Sportbacks.
At the rear, the Sportbacks gets new LED tail-lights that benefit from a flatter design, trapezoidal tailpipe trim and a contrasting diffuser to match the more dynamic styling up front.
A7/S7 Sportback drivers get a new high-resolution drive information system that sits between the conventional gauge cluster. Crystal clear map displays are available when you’re using satellite navigation meaning you don’t have to look to the centre screen for mapping directions. It's powered by Audi’s new-generation MIB2 infotainment system, which is driven by the latest quad-core processing technology.
There’s new brushed aluminium trim around the air vents and MMI controls, while the gearshifter itself has been redesigned. It’s a cleaner centre console visually and Audi has also improved the haptic control.
Audi A7 Sportback 3.0 TDI equipment highlights include 19-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights with rear dynamic indicators and high-beam assist, electric folding exterior mirrors, electric tailgate, parking system plus with front and rear cameras, Audi active lane and side assist, convenience key, MMI Navigation Plus infotainment system with MMI Touch, Bluetooth interface, CD/DVD player, two SDHC card readers, new USB-based Audi Music Interface (AMI) and a 10GB flash memory, and a 14-speaker 600-watt Bose surround sound system.
The Biturbo variant gains 20-inch alloys, adaptive cruise control with stop and go function, Pre-sense plus with autonomous emergency braking, and a glass sunroof.
The S7 Sportback gets 20-inch alloys, sports-tuned adaptive air suspension, quattro sport differential, tyre pressure indicator, metallic and pearl effect paint, black headliner, Valcona leather sports seats with S7 embossing, heated front seats, carbon inlays, and Audi connect internet functionality.
2015 Audi A7 and S7 Sportback pricing (plus on-road costs):
A7 Sportback 3.0 TDI quattro S tronic $115,400 (down $21,350)
A7 Sportback 3.0 TDI Biturbo quattro tiptronic $144,900 (down $4700)
S7 Sportback 4.0 TFSI quattro S tronic $179,900 (unchanged)