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

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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 40 TDI diesel can top 152mph, while the plug-in hybrid boasts a top speed limited to 155mph.

After mid-2022 revisions, the A7 is now fitted with Audi’s quattro four-wheel-drive system across the range. 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 manoeuvring.

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 discontinued 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.

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

A smaller-than-expected 2.0-litre petrol is available, and its 0-62mph-time of 6.2 seconds is less than a second slower than the petrol V6 that was previously offered. It has 261bhp, four-wheel drive and an S tronic double-clutch automatic gearbox.

The discontinued 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, the powertrain is very different to the pure petrol 55 TFSI version that was previously offered. 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.

The power on offer helps the car get from 0-62mph in an impressive 6.3 seconds, but like a few other potent plug-in hybrids with four-cylinder engines we've driven, it doesn’t always feel as quick as the on-paper stats suggest. There isn't the easily accessible shove of the previous 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 TFSIe is at its best in EV mode, when the sheer smoothness of the electric motor makes the A7 feel refined and special.

Next Steps

Which Is Best?

Cheapest

  • Name
    40 TDI Sport 5dr S Tronic
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £48,995

Most Economical

  • Name
    50 TFSI e 17.9kWh Quattro Sport 5dr S Tronic
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £61,415

Fastest

  • Name
    S7 TDI 344 Quattro 5dr Tip Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £68,540

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