First look: 2018 Audi A7 – the A8’s sleek and sporty new sibling | CAR Magazine

Audi A7 Sportback range swells to include cheaper V6 diesels

Published: 26 June 2018

► New entry-level V6 diesels land in UK
► New A7 Sportback 45 TDI is here
► Priced from £52,240 in the UK

Audi is swelling the ranks of its A7 Sportback range with the arrival of a new, lower-powered V6 diesel badged 45 TDI. The new model becomes the cheapest entry point to the range with prices from £52,240 for a Sport spec model.

The A7 45 TDI uses the same 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel we’ve seen in use across the empire, developing 228bhp and a stout 369lb ft of thrust. That’s enough to guarantee 0-62mph in 6.5sec and a top speed of 155mph, although the 50.4mpg combined fuel economy figure and 147g/km CO2 rating on WLTP may be of more use.

The new Audi A7 Sportback 45 TDI

Read on for everything else we know about the new A7 Sportback family.

The launch of the new Audi A7 Sportback

The new 2018 Audi A7 is an elegant five-door coupe-shaped hatchback grand tourer that’s much more different under than skin than it appears from a glance at its strictly evolutionary exterior design changes.

The new car shares much of its engineering with the new A8, and previews the new A6 saloon and estate too. It hit British streets early in 2018, with the first engine a 3.0-litre TFSI petrol V6 paired with a seven-speed S-tronic gearbox; 0-62mph takes 5.3sec and top speed is 155mph. Other four- and six-cylinder petrol and diesel engines will follow soon.

So it isn’t just a facelifted version of the old one?

No. It’s very much in the same spirit as that GT/coupaloon/sportback, which has sold more than 200,000 since it arrived seven years ago (mostly in the US and China). But it’s an entirely new car. Like the A8, it gets its styling inspiration from 2014’s LA show concept, the Prologue, and it shares many of its underpinnings with the big saloon.

The grille is wider and lower on the A7, and the wheel arches more pronounced – apparently to emphasise Audi’s quattro heritage.

Audi A7 2018

Design chief Marc Lichte says: ‘We’re keeping the promise that we made with the Prologue. The basis of good design is proportions. The A7 has great proportions, with huge wheels, a long wheelbase, short overhangs and low roof.’

It’s more markedly different inside. You sit lower than in the A8, and it’s much more driver-orientated, with both the screens tilted towards the driver.

There’s more rear knee and headroom than on the old A7 (although tall rear passengers will wish they were in an A8), and the rear seats fold down to give a good amount of luggage space, accessed through the big hatch.

What’s under the skin?

There’s Quattro all-wheel drive and, like the A8, rear-wheel steering to help high-speed stability and low-speed turning. Plus there’s an optional sports differential to distribute torque between the rear wheels in harder driving.

Audi A7 2018

There are several suspension systems: basic steel springs, or a 10mm lower set-up, or electronically controlled damping, or adaptive air suspension. Wheel sizes go up to a handsome 21in.

Like the new A8, it made from a cleverly combined mix of aluminium and various steels, designed to be strong enough to support all manner of possible future powertrains.

Is it another tech-fest like the A8?

Yes, although some of what’s standard on the A8 is optional on the A7 (subject to UK spec being confirmed). All A7s come with a mild hybrid function that can include recuperative braking, coasting and a more sophisticated stop-start system.

Audi A7 2018 interior

You have a wide choice of infotainment systems, none of them remotely shoddy, and the old rotary controller has gone, with more operations now performed via touchscreen or voice control. Remote parking will be available soon.

Tech chief Peter Mertens sums it up: ‘Sheer driving fun, and a very comfortable mobile lounge.’

Can we expect a hot S and even hotter RS?

No official word from Audi yet, but yes. Performance cars remain an integral part of Audi’s make-up, even though the company’s main focus over the next eight years is SUVs and electrification (and they’re looking into fuel cells too).

Chief executive Rupert Stadler says: ‘We’re rejuvenating our product line-up at a speed that’s never been seen before in our entire corporate history. By 2025 we’ll have 20-plus fully or partly electric cars in our line-up. We’re readying ourselves for the future. We’re looking forward to it, even though it might be a challenge.’

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By Colin Overland

CAR's managing editor: wordsmith, critic, purveyor of fine captions