2019 Audi A7: Similarly Slinky Looks, Lots of New Technology
Audi didn’t invent the four-door-coupe segment, but it could be argued that the German brand perfected it with the arrival of its A7 mid-size luxury car. Launched as a 2012 model in the United States, the A7 had alluring looks that cloaked a versatile hatchback body style providing access to a sizable cargo hold. With the redesigned second-generation A7, Audi is once again out to prove that style and practicality needn’t be mutually exclusive.
Like the recently revealed 2019 A8 flagship sedan, the new A7 wears Audi’s latest design language, which features a wider, more hexagonal version of Audi’s shield grille. Shortened front and rear overhangs snip 0.6 inch from the A7’s overall length, while flared fenders provide the low-slung four-door with a less slab-sided look compared with its predecessor.
A prominent new taillight design spans the width of the car below a retractable wing in the sloping hatchback. An optional S line body kit adds more aggressive front and rear fascias, resculpted side sills, and a handful of minor trim changes.
The Upside Down
The new interior features Audi’s latest MMI infotainment system. First seen in the 2019 A8, the system jettisons the previous version’s rotary control knob for a pair of touchscreens with audible and haptic feedback. One screen is located ahead of the gearshift lever and is used primarily for controlling HVAC functions, while the other lives higher up in the dashboard and is used for operating items such as infotainment and navigation features. Other in-cockpit tech includes an available head-up display and Audi’s 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit digital gauge cluster.
In our first drive of the new A8, we found that Audi’s touchscreen MMI interface was quick to respond to our inputs and highly configurable. Nevertheless, we missed the prior MMI system’s physical knobs and buttons, which we found easier to adjust on the fly.
Other toys pulled from the A8 include the AI Remote Parking Pilot and AI Remote Garage Pilot systems, which can autonomously move your car into and out of a garage or a parking space.
It’s Got the Power
At launch, the second-generation A7 will be powered by Audi’s familiar 340-hp turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 engine. Replacing the current eight-speed automatic transmission is a new seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. Audi claims the combination can send the all-wheel-drive hatchback from zero to 62 mph in 5.3 seconds; top speed is governed at 155 mph.
The powertrain also incorporates a combination alternator and starter that is able to recuperate up to 12 kW of power, which it sends to the car’s 48-volt lithium-ion battery. Other fuel-saving features include an updated auto stop/start system that can use a feed from the A7’s standard front camera to restart the engine when traffic begins moving again (as opposed to today’s systems that fire up the engine only when the driver lets off the brake pedal, though it will do that, too). A freewheeling mode temporarily shuts off the engine when coasting at speeds between 34 mph and 100 mph.
Among the available enthusiast-friendly features are a sport suspension with a 0.4-inch-lower ride height, an optional torque-vectoring rear differential, and a four-wheel variable-steering system that adjusts the steering ratio from a hyperquick 9.5:1 to a slower-paced 16.5:1 setup. Comfort-oriented options include a perfume atomizer, massaging and ventilated front seats, and an air-spring suspension. The A7 can be fitted with either a three-person rear bench or two individual seats, and the half-inch-longer wheelbase provides rear-seat passengers with more kneeroom and headroom.
The all-new Audi A7 goes on sale in February in Germany and will reach North American showrooms by the end of 2018. Audi isn’t ready to talk U.S. pricing yet, but the new version shouldn’t be far off the current model’s $70,675 starting point.
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