Audi A7 bringing sporty back

One of my first Audi launches back in 2011 was that of the Audi A7 and offered a four-door executive saloon size with the body lines of a sleek coupe.

It was aimed squarely at the Mercedes-Benz CLS, the car that pioneered the segment. The A7 though nailed it in my opinion and the car saw success with the mighty RS7 finishing off the range. Now though there are an all-new A7 however the times have changed, the A7 is faced with competition from Mercedes, Porsche, BMW and the SUV segment. I spent some time behind the wheel of the latest model to see what it is like to live with.

The looks

The first incarnation of the A7 was a large, sleek and wide machine that instantly grabbed your attention. This new model is similar in that it too attracts the eye of many an onlooker. My test unit featured the S-line body kit which adds sporty bumpers and large wheels wrapped in 21-inch low profile tyres. My car was also fitted with the black styling package. This adds blacked-out styling accents to the front bumper and grille as well as similarly-coloured gloss trim around the windows.

The A7 is sleek in its design approach and I do like that, the rear is prominent and made even more attractive by the inclusion of an electronically controlled rear wing which can either be raised by pushing a button inside or when reaching a specific speed. The highlights, however, are indeed the actual lights and Audi has in some cases lead the way in LED lighting technology and the A7 features the latest. The front Matrix LED and the rear light bar which runs the length of the rear offer up an incredible greeting sequence when you unlock the car. Individual lights run in sequence to create a rather crowed pleasing sceptical.

The interior

Audi interiors have been known to offer some of the best in terms of build quality and the latest A7 continues that trait. Getting into the car you can’t help but feel the precision although a bit clinical. Nevertheless, the facia features a large touchscreen infotainment system with a second screen below which controls the climate and other customizable options. The centre console is neat, void of buttons and the sports seats feature quilted leather. In front of the driver is a stylistic steering wheel and behind it, Audi’s Virtual Cockpit which is essentially a digital instrument cluster and rounds-off the three high-quality screens that make up the control interface.

The A7 blends luxury and technology seamlessly to offer what is an enjoyable and sensational space. As one can start to expect when dealing with cars in this segment, Apple CarPaly and Android Auto are on offer, as are a host of safety features which, as I found out can all be activated by the push of a single button.

The drive

My test unit featured a 55 TFSI badge on the back. What does that mean exactly? I’m not sure but what I do know is that under the bonnet was a 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 that develops 250 kW/ 500 N.m. Power is sent to all four wheels thanks to the quattro system via an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Now, despite the above facts and figures being relatively impressive, this specific A7 is not a road ripping speed demon. It is, in fact, the opposite, a grand tourer if you will, a car that cocoons you in luxury with adequate power to get the required job done.

Yes, it is fast and thanks to rear steering it is also quite agile for its size however when left in comfort mode it returns an exceptional ride quality, made even more sumptuous thanks to the optional air-suspension fitted to my test vehicle. Audi claims an average of 7.1l/100km but I saw realistic figures of around 8.7l/100km. This was made possible by the cars effective Efficiency mode which I made use of frequently, especially on the mundane highway.


I do like the Audi A7, I like the look, I like what it offers and I like driving it. Where the Mercedes-Benz CLS and new BMW 8 Series offer more sedan-like features thanks to their boot-lid rear-ends the A7 features a large hatch. It has since it was first introduced gone just that little bit further in terms of styling. I also think that it is easily recognizable, let’s face it, it is getting difficult to differentiate between the latest crop of Audi cars.

That said though I think the Audi A7 has a big problem, it’s a problem that even I feel Audi won’t solve and it comes from within its own family. You see, my test car, as tested was about R1 574 220 and that will get you into the Audi Q8 and for that reason, I think the sun is setting on executive saloons like the A7 and dawning with the SUV.

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