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The second-generation executive coupe is a sleek and refined cruising machine.
Virtual Cockpit digital instrument display, twin 10.1 and 8.6in touchscreens, sat-nav, two-zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors, rear view camera, autonomous emergency braking, lane-departure warning
Sport, S Line
Seven-speed automatic, eight-speed automatic
Previously at granitekitchen, we've put the Audi A7 Sportback through a whole-life cost comparison against its executive coupe rivals. Now, we're finding out what it's like behind the wheel.
There are only two engines currently available - a 340hp petrol and a 286hp diesel - though further four and six-cylinder petrol and diesel engines are set to follow. We drove the diesel, but don't think for one moment that this leaves the A7 Sportback short on performance. Though sub-six-second 0-62mph times have become routine for German execs, it is still highly impressive how quickly a car this large - just 31mm short of 5m - is able to move.
Being hypercritical, we'd ideally like the initial take-up to be a little more urgent when moving off the mark and the eight-speed automatic gearbox's kick-down responses could be a tad quicker, but these gripes aside, there's all the grunt you need for any overtaking manoeuvre, while gearshifts are near seamless.
Driving on air
Despite all the power, the A7 Sportback is at its best as a refined cruising machine. Show it a twisty road and it's clear the car has been set up to be controlled and reassuring when cornering - the chassis is well balanced and there's a large amount of grip. The car we drove was fitted with adaptive air suspension, a £2,000 option, but an improvement over the sport suspension fitted as standard with the top-spec S Line trim, which delivers a firmer ride. By contrast, the air set-up allows the car to glide over bumps at speed, while losing nothing in terms of cornering ability when switched to Dynamic mode.
The A7 Sportback gets the same broad range of technology as Audi's latest A8 luxury car. This includes a 48V mild hybrid system, which lets the car coast with the main engine off between 34 and 99mph, and allows the stop-start function to activate from 13mph. This operates unobtrusively and saves up to 0.15 gallons of fuel every 62 miles.
The A8-derived features continue inside, where there's a pair of central touchscreens, with a 10.1in display sitting above an 8.1in unit. These feature acoustic and haptic feedback, vibrating when touched; however, they take some getting used to, as they require a firm press. On a few occasions, we had to stab at a function more than once before it would respond. There's also Audi's now-familiar Virtual Cockpit digital instrument display, integrating sat-nav mapping and other vehicle information between the computer-generated dials in front of the driver. Interior materials are high quality throughout, delivering fully on the car's executive luxury aspirations, while the seats score top marks for comfort and support.
As you'd expect from such a large car, there's lots of legroom for rear seat passengers, while despite the car's sleek coupe styling, rear headroom is only 34mm down on the A8. That body shape does mean the boot isn't the tallest, but it's long enough to accommodate plenty of bags.
In terms of running costs, as we found in the last issue, there's not too much to choose between the A7 Sportback and its rivals. However, you do have to be careful with the options list - the P11D for the standard car may be £57,585, but the options fitted in our test car added more than £19,000 to the price. Spec it wisely, and the A7 Sportback succeeds as a stylish, refined method of executive travel.