STOP PRESS! We've updated our Audi A7 scoop with the world's first photographs of the new four-door coupe. It might be wearing the mother of all disguises – more of a tent, really – but this is the first sight of Audi's 'coupoon'. Read on for the full update...
Audi continues its quest to fill every possible niche in the motoring universe with this new A7 that arrives in 2009. CAR Online's artist's impression is based on the official design sketch
we smuggled out of Ingolstadt last year (red car pictured) and reveals the new four-door coupe that will be shown at the Frankfurt motor show 2009.
Should we believe the marketing claims of four-door coupes? Essentially, they are slinkier, less practical, lower-roofed saloons – hardly cut 'n' thrust two-door sports cars. Whatever you call them, they're all the rage – with Merc enjoying success with its gangsta CLS
, Jag continuing its low-slung theme with the XF
and VW now muscling in at the budget end of the market with the Passat CC
. BMW too is planning a four-door GT based around the Concept CS
.So tell me more about the Audi A7
We'll see the A7 in autumn 2009 ahead of a showroom debut in 2010. It's based on the next-gen A6 vehicle architecture, which means a new lightweight aluminium structure that uses steel reinforcements to cut weight. Our sources suggest it'll be 4900mm long.
As you'd hope with something that long, the A7 is a four-seater – but you'll buy one for its swoopy looks rather than roomy pews. Audi expects to flog around 40,000 copies a year once sales are in full swing.Click 'Next' to read the lowdown on the Audi A7's tech packageSo what are the tech highlights we can look forward to on the new Audi A7?
The A7 will use air springs for a lolloping ride quality on higher-spec models and – luxury is the name of the game here – four-cylinder power will be off limits. Unless sales are poorer than expected, that is, when A6 four-pots could be wheeled out.
So expect a suite of six- and eight-cylinder powerplants. 'Base' models will run a 2.8-litre direct-injection FSI V6 while more leaden-footed drivers may care to pick the forthcoming S4's new 3.0-litre supercharged V6
Want still more grunt? Buyers in cheap-fuel nations may consider the guzzling 4.2-litre FSI V8, but surely most buyers will pick between the diesel options: the 2.7L V6 TDI, and either single or twin turbocharged versions of the 3.0-litre V6 TDI. It's a new Audi, so there's a baffling array of gearboxes, right?
You bet. Three transmissions are to be offered, with a six-speed manual and a choice of seven-speed dual-clutch or automatic transmissions. CAR was first to drive the new seven-speed S tronic box on the new S5 – click here to read our review
. It's rather good.Click 'Next' to read about the madcap S7 and RS7 models in the pipelineAh yes. Audi are well in tune with the zeitgeist. Launching V10s, are they?
Er, yes. Both S7 and RS7 variants are expected – both powered by the 5.2-litre V10 engine already seen in the faintly ludicrous RS6
. With and without turbos, it will guarantee power delivery of approaching 600hp in the RS7. (Insert 1970s F1 car acceleration claims here).
Balancing out such horsepower mayhem is a rumoured hybrid A7, which is said to combine V6 diesel or gasoline engines with the VW group's lithium-ion batteries from Sanyo. That's more like it.And how much will one of these Audi A7s cost me?
Audi is keeping stum about prices, but our sources indicate a price point between £35,000-£50,000 for the bread-and-butter models. You'll naturally pay more for the RS-badged models.
And if the A7 isn't a niche enough, we hear that a convertible A7 is very much on the cards. We sense that Audi showrooms are going to have to expand a bit to keep up with the brand's burgeoning model range...