This is the new Audi A7 Sportback, a sleek hatchback designed to take on the next-generation Mercedes CLS and the forthcoming BMW Gran Coupe. It’s a bigger brother to the already established A5 Sportback, and underneath the five-door skin is the same platform that will underpin next year’s more sedate A6 saloon.
So just what is the Audi A7 Sportback?
Audi claims the A7 Sportback offers the sporty elegance of a coupe, the comfort of a sedan and the practicality of an estate, though if you just want either of the last two an A6 saloon and Avant based on the same platform will appear in 2011.
Essentially, the Sportback is a sharper, sexier version of the more mundane A6, something a little more outlandish to appeal to company execs fed up with humdrum saloons. Mercedes’ first CLS was such a success that both BMW and Audi have followed suit, and the latter will add the A5 Sportback’s hatchback boot to its repertoire. It gives the A7 quite a frumpy rear three-quarter view, and while the rest of the design is generic Audi, it's definitely better than the A4-aping A8.
The interior offers our first glimpse at Audi's new swoopy interior styling, and the A7 is the first car from Ingolstadt to boast a head-up display. Other extras include a 1300W B&O stereo, and a Park Assist System that 'relieves the driver of the chore of steering while parallel parking'. Yes, having to steer your own car is such a bore.
What’s under the bonnet?
The A7 Sportback will initially go on sale with a choice all four engines, two petrol and two diesels V6, all with direct injection, an energy recuperation system and stop/start tech.
3.0 TDI – 241bhp, 368lb ft, 6.5sec 0-62mph, 155mph, 47.1mpg, 158g/km
3.0 TDI – 201bhp, 295lb ft (FWD) or 331lb ft (Quattro), 8.1sec 0-62mph, 145mph 53.3mpg, 139g/km
2.8 FSI – 201bhp, 207lb ft, 8.3sec 0-62mph, 146mph, 35.3mpg, 187g/km
3.0 TFSI – 295bhp, 324lb ft, 5.6 0-62mph, 155mph, 34.5mpg, 190g/km
UK sales start towards the end of 2010, and although prices have yet to be announced, expect them all to begin well beyond £40k.
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>> Click here to read the Parkers.co.uk first look report