In-depth reviews

Audi A7 Sportback hatchback - Engines, drive & performance

Every Audi A7 Sportback is smooth and powerful, but it’s the diesel that steals the show

Carbuyer Rating

4.0 out of 5

Owners Rating

5.0 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Engines, drive & performance Rating

4.0 out of 5

It might not be a sports car, but the A7 is one of Audi’s flagship models, and it’s also designed to cruise at high speeds on the German Autobahn. It’s perhaps no surprise then, that even the entry-level diesel can top 152mph, while the 3.0-litre V6 engines and plug-in hybrid boast top speeds limited to 155mph.

Audi’s quattro four-wheel drive system is fitted as standard with six-cylinder models, while the A7 is available with four different suspension setups. There are two conventional chassis - comfort and the 10mm lower sport suspension - along with adjustable suspension and self-levelling adaptive air suspension. All-wheel steering is also available, subtly turning the rear wheels in the opposite direction to the front wheels below 37mph to make sharper turns possible. At higher speeds, all four wheels turn in the same direction to improve high-speed maneuvering.

With air suspension set to its sportiest mode, the A7 disguises its size remarkably well, feeling agile and reassuring. The steering is sharper and with quattro fitted, it’s very unlikely you’ll feel the tyres lose their grip on the tarmac. We wouldn’t go quite as far as saying the A7 is as fun to drive as the Porsche Panamera, but it’s closer than before.

Audi A7 Sportback diesel engine

To appeal to business drivers, the A7 Sportback is available with a four-cylinder 40 TDI diesel engine, but despite being smaller than the class norm, this 2.0-litre engine still has 201bhp and almost as much torque as the entry-level 3.0-litre. It can get the car from 0-62mph in 8.3 seconds, and because it doesn't really need it, it's also the only version offered without quattro – although you can still add four-wheel drive as an option. Unlike the bigger engines, it comes with a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic gearbox.

With 282bhp and a deep reserve of torque, the 3.0-litre A7 50 TDI feels very well suited to the Audi’s relaxed nature. It easily overcomes the A7's 1,880kg weight, too, effortlessly accelerating from 0-62mph in 5.7 seconds. It's as smooth as you'd expect a six-cylinder engine to be, but is a little let down by its eight-speed automatic gearbox. It's a relatively old-fashioned 'torque converter' design that's rather hesitant to respond compared to newer dual-clutch gearboxes of rivals and even the cheaper 40 TDI. A detuned 45 TDI version of the 3.0-litre is also available, with 228bhp and a 6.5-second 0-62mph time. However, considering it has the same running costs as the 50 TDI, the only real advantage is its lower purchase price.

The starter-generator system at the heart of Audi's mild-hybrid technology is quite unobtrusive in operation. A gentle haptic nudge on the accelerator says you can release the pedal and coast in near-silence, and it all feels reassuringly natural.

Petrol engine

As with the diesel range, a smaller-than-expected 2.0-litre kicks things off, and its 0-62mph-time of 6.2 seconds is less than a second slower than the petrol V6. It has 242bhp, four-wheel drive and an S tronic double-clutch automatic gearbox.

The A7 55 TFSI uses a 3.0-litre V6. It boasts 335bhp, but has less low-down pulling power than the equivalent diesel. The automatic gearbox can sometimes be felt hunting for gears, and this makes it hard work to extract the best performance from the engine. It’s no slouch when driven flat-out though, getting from 0-62mph in just 5.3 seconds. It comes with four-wheel drive as standard, programmed to send most power to the front wheels in normal driving, but send pulling power to the rear wheels if needed.

Hybrid engine

Look closely at the A7's rear and if you spot a 50 TFSIe or 55 TFSIe badge, the powertrain is very different to the pure petrol 55 TFSI version listed above. Instead of a V6, there's a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol under the bonnet supported by a couple of electric motors pushing out either 297bhp in the 50 TFSIe or 364bhp in the 55 TFSIe.

The power on offer helps the cars get from 0-62mph in an impressive 6.3 or 5.7 seconds respectively, but like a few other potent plug-in hybrids with four-cylinder engines we've driven, they don’t always feel as quick as the on-paper stats suggest. There isn't the easily accessible shove of the six-cylinder diesel versions and, while far from unruly, the four-cylinder soundtrack is better suited to a hot hatchback than a car costing around £80,000. The 55 TFSIe is at its best in EV mode, when the sheer refinement of the electric motor makes the A7 feel refined and special.

Next Steps

Which Is Best?

Cheapest

  • Name
    45 TFSI Sport 5dr S Tronic
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £48,360

Most Economical

  • Name
    50 TFSI e 17.9kWh Quattro Sport 5dr S Tronic
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £60,355

Fastest

  • Name
    S7 TDI Quattro S 5dr Tip Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £66,700

Recommended

Audi A7 Sportback hatchback
Audi A7 Sportback driving
Audi A7
4 Aug 2021

Audi A7 Sportback hatchback

Most Popular

Best new car deals 2021
Hyundai Tucson SUV front 3/4 tracking
Deals
10 Sep 2021

Best new car deals 2021

New 2022 Toyota RAV4 Adventure revealed
Toyota RAV4 Adventure
Toyota RAV4
14 Sep 2021

New 2022 Toyota RAV4 Adventure revealed

Vauxhall Mokka-e SUV review
Vauxhall Mokka-e driving - front
Vauxhall Mokka-e SUV
15 Sep 2021

Vauxhall Mokka-e SUV review

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
10 Aug 2021

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Electric car charging station
Tips and advice
3 Jun 2021

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Tips and advice
15 Jun 2021

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
23 Jul 2021

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors 2021
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors 2021

Top 10 best electric cars 2021
Volkswagen ID.3
Best cars
12 Aug 2021

Top 10 best electric cars 2021

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2021
Toyota Prius front 3/4 cornering
Best cars
10 Jun 2021

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2021

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks
Mercedes AMG A45 - rear
Hot hatches
25 Jun 2021

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks