Audi A7 – Review
Audi A7 3.0 TDI SE
by Liam Bird
Go on, indulge yourself. Just for a moment or two imagine that the recession hasn’t hit you. You’re a captain of industry – not in the Alan Sugar or Bill Gates league, but you’re doing nicely, thank you – and you’re in the market for a new set of wheels.
We’ll assume you’ve already done the whole Range-Rover and 4×4 thing; nice – but the running costs, even on your salary, proved pricey. You’re looking for something stylish but a bit different, not the usual luxo-barge executive saloon, and you still want a car with enough kudos to cut a dash in the golf club car-park. Perhaps then, Audi have the answer.
5 door executive coupes are nothing new: Mercedes have been building the CLS since 2004; BMW have their 5-series GT and even Porsche claim a stake in the market with their shark-like (some say truck-like) Panamera. Let’s not forget Jaguar’s XJ’s styling owes more to coupes than it does to saloons too. But I’d argue that Audi’s A7 is the prettiest of them all. From the front, it’s business as usual. Viewed from a rear view mirror the A7 could well be just about any other Audi; same deep four-ringed grille; same headlamps; the same everything. However, should the A7 overtake – which inevitably it will – the differences between it and the A6 saloon on which it’s based soon become apparent.
“Precision and clarity”
From the A-pillar aft the A7 is 42mm longer and 56mm wider. It employs a longer wheelbase too, in-order to free up some extra rear legroom. A shallower more modern looking, less saloon-like window line and neat Kamm tail with twin exhausts complete the A7’s fastback look. And that giant rear hatch conceals a decent sized boot – there’s even a small rear spoiler that rises automatically at speed.
Some of the external styling cues are carried over inside too. The shape of the rear windows is echoed in the inserts that house the door handles, (and, in the case of our test car, the memory function buttons for the optional, infinitely adjustable, comfort seats) and the knurled cold to-the-touch aluminium knobs for the radio and command system – it controls everything from the digital radio station setting to how heavy you want the steering to be via Audi’s Drive Select system – remind you what A7’s clever MLB chassis platform is made of too.
Being an Audi the interior is a paragon to milli-metric precision and clarity of course – the use of materials in the gently swooping dash-board is exemplary. A word of advice though: Avoid ticking the box on the options list marked Fine Grain Ash trim. Real wood? I’m not so sure. It serves only as a reminder that the Germans have a much better sense of humour than the British tabloids have ever given them credit for.
“Grips like a limpet”
Should you opt for the 3 litre 242 bhp TDi engine whilst perusing that list though, your efforts will be rewarded with effortless performance. Not only does the V6 offer 242bhp and 369lbft of torque, the combined mpg figure of 47.1 and a lowly 158g/km CO2 is pretty appealing too.
On the move, the A7 rides with a compliance not usually associated with Audis of late. The cabin is beautifully insulated from any kind of noise, the Quattro system means it grips like a limpet, and whether you choose to pick your own ratios or let the 8 speed auto-box do it for you, the A7 presents itself as fine, if ultimately un-involving (thanks to steering that’s a tad numb), long distance mile muncher.
At prices around the £48k mark before you start adding any of the multitudes of available options, the A7 isn’t cheap. But its combination of quality, badge desirability, and good looks means it’s got more than enough substance to go with its style.
Audi A7 3.0 TDI SE
Engine: 2967cc, 6 cylinder, 24 Valve, V6 turbo-diesel
Transmission: 7 speed dual-clutch four-wheel drive
Power: 242 bhp @4000 – 4500 rpm
Torque: 369lb ft @1400 – 3250 rpm
0-62MPH: 6.3 Sec Max
Speed: 155 mph
Combined Price: £48,190 (car driven £56,090)