Audi A7 Sportback hatchback
“The Audi A7 Sportback is one of Audi’s most striking models, that’s bristling with technology, good to drive and also quite practical”
- Stunning looks
- Spacious interior
- Cutting-edge technology
- Limited engines at launch
- Firm ride
- Very expensive with options
While SUVs take an ever-growing share of the luxury car market, many still prefer the unruffled sophistication of a traditional saloon. The A7 Sportback marries the hi-tech ambience of its Audi A8 saloon sister, but boasts a smooth, streamlined shape of the kind popularised by the Mercedes CLS and Porsche Panamera.
Although features like the 'single-frame' front grille are common to an Audi design language that has been accused of lacking variety between models, the A7's subtly blistered wheelarches, sculpted bonnet and fluid lines mark it as arguably the most handsome car in the range. Features like a ducktail rear spoiler that pops up at 75mph add a sense of drama.
The A7 positively bristles with technology, something you get strong hints of just looking at its clever exterior details. These include a full-width LED tail-light bar at the rear, which can display 'animations' when the car is unlocked by remote control – and you can do this with an app-enabled mobile phone. Among the cleverest A7 features, though, is the 48v electrical system that supports the mild-hybrid technology that's standard across the range.
The engine range offers a 335bhp turbocharged six-cylinder petrol, and four-cylinder options are in store for the first time, too – as is a plug-in hybrid. The 3.0-litre turbocharged 50 TDI diesel combines six-cylinder smoothness with the economy improvements thanks to that clever mild-hybrid technology. Quattro four-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox are standard for all but the entry-level diesel, and the A7 feels unflappable in all but the trickiest driving conditions. The mild-hybrid 55 TFSe can drive for up to 26 miles on battery power alone, yet spring from 0-62mph in just 5.6 seconds.
Audi has also tightened up the latest A7’s handling somewhat, without making it too focused for a grand tourer. Four-wheel steering has improved agility and the steering also feels quicker to respond, and the big Audi feels quite nimble for its size, if not as involving as a Porsche Panamera. It's quiet inside, too, thanks in part to an aerodynamic shape and an acoustic windscreen.
Beyond the sophisticated style of its bodywork, there's a futuristic feel inside. In place of the usual buttons and toggle switches, there are two screens stacked in the centre of the fascia, and an even larger 12.3-inch display in the instrument cluster. That’s not to mention the optional heads-up display projected ahead of your eyes. It’s controlled via touch - with haptic and acoustic feedback - or your voice, providing a fully connected experience.
There’s enough room for tall adults to sit in the back, or you can fold the rear seats down and make use of the large hatchback to carry surprisingly large items. With up to 1,390-litres of boot space and five seatbelts, the A7 Sportback could even make a somewhat unlikely family car.
The Audi A7 Sportback scored five stars in Euro NCAP crash tests, largely thanks to a dizzying array of sensors and systems to help prevent accidents as well as driving aids.