Audi Debuts All-New A7 Sportback

Audi has just revealed the all-new A7 Sportback full-size four-door coupe. The new car has sharper lines, more technology, and more power than the launch model.

The exterior styling follows Audi's latest design language that was first shows on the Prologue study concept of 2014 and first hit the road on the latest Audi A8. It has athletic proportions with a long hood, long wheelbase, and short rear overhang. Wheelwell contours, which Audi called "quattro blisters" bring attention to, and emphasize, the 21-inch wheels.

At the nose, the grille is wider and lower than before, flanked by LED lighting and new sequential turn signals. The signals match the rear signals on other Audis, running from inside out instead of a simple flash.

It's slightly longer than the old S7. The 2,926 mm wheelbase is 12 mm longer, and the overall length is 15 mm longer. Actual width is virtually unchanged at 1,908 mm, but it looks wider. The interior is 21 mm longer than before for more rear seat knee room. There is more rear headroom and a wider load width as well. Importantly, Audi says that it will now fit two golf bags widthwise in the cargo area.

Trigger the door locks, and the front and rear LED lights put on a show, highlighting the look of the car, even when parked.

The interior has a futuristic and exceedingly modern design. Loot at the circuit-board-look pattern on the seats, and sleek instrument panel. The 10.1-inch MMI upper display is tilted toward the driver but is designed to disappear visually when powered off. The A7 replaces old-school climate control knobs and buttons with a lower touchscreen. The new MMI system uses haptic and acoustic feedback. Audi calls it "as intuitive to use as a smartphone." The A7 offers Audi's 12.3-inch virtual cockpit instrument display screen, as well as an optional head-up display.

Audi will add remote parking pilot and garage pilot later next year. Those features can autonomously park and unpark the A7 with the driver outside of the car using their phone. Audi says the new car has up to 39 driver assistance systems, ranging from AI parking to adaptive cruise control, to a screen that shows you how to drive more fuel efficiently.

The A7 adds all-wheel steering as an option, helping to improve handling and performance. The A7 also has an updated air suspension Audi says makes the car more dynamic on back roads and more comfortable on the highway. There are four suspension choices in all, with conventional springs standard, a lowered sports system, adaptive dampers, and finally the air suspension.

All A7 models come with a new mild hybrid system. It uses Audi's new 48-volt electrical system that has a belt driven starter/alternator and a lithium-ion battery. It's capable of regenerative braking as well as helping the engine freewheel more often. Instead of waiting for you to lift your foot, the start-stop system has a camera that will turn the engine back on when the car in front of you starts to move.

The launch engine is a 3.0L turbo V6. In the new car, Audi calls it the A7 55 TFSI. It makes 340 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. That's up seven hp and 44 lb-ft, and Audi says that means 0-100 km/h in 5.3 seconds. It uses a seven-speed automatic and sends power to the rear wheels only when needed. More engines will follow.

The Audi A7 launches in Germany in February of next year, with other markets to follow.

Faster, sleeker, smarter 10/19/2017 6:06:00 PM