THE PROS & CONS
- What’s Best: The exterior styling makes the A7 one of the most attractive cars on the road today.
- What’s Worst: Unfortunately we won’t get it in Canada until the third quarter of this year.
- What’s Interesting: The A7 has the design of a coupe, the space of a sedan and the versatility of a wagon.
CAPE TOWN, South Africa: There is no better place to introduce one of the most attractive cars on the road, than in one of the most beautiful cities in the world – Cape Town, South Africa.
The winding costal routes combined with the undulating mountain roads are about as perfect a place to put a luxury grand tourer through its paces as anywhere else I can think of.
The all-new 2019 Audi A7 is the second generation of the four-door coupe that was first introduced in 2010.
Although completely redesigned it still manages to maintain its sleek and sporty swept back lines keeping it in the realm of a sports coupe rather than that of a sedan.
The new front grille is now wider and has been mounted lower helping to emphasize the long hood and wide aggressive stance.
New slim and sporty headlights flank the grill maintaining a more muscular appearance. There will be three choices of headlight available – standard LEDs, HD matrix LEDs, and HD matrix LEDs with laser high beams (it is still undetermined which will be made available in Canada).
New crisp lines and sharp angles help define the new design aspects with the low-set shoulder line and flared wheel arches adding to the sportier appearance.
The steeply raked sportback now finishes three centimeters higher improving aerodynamics. The hatch now has an integrated spoiler that will deploy at speeds over 120 km/h
The taillights, which now span the width of the car, consist of 13-element units at each side connected by an LED center strip. The front and rear turn signals now illuminate sequentially.
Under the hood is a 3.0 litre V6 turbocharged engine that produces 340 hp and 368 lb/ft of torque and is capable of reaching 100km/h in 5.3 seconds and on to a top speed of 250km/h. Audi have dropped the old conventional eight-speed transmission in favour of a new seven-speed dual clutch transmission.
A new addition to the 3.0-litre engine is the mild-hybrid system that uses the 48-volt primary electrical system and mild hybridization via a belt alternator starter that enables coasting with the engine off.
The system’s regenerative braking recoups up to 16 hp while decelerating and stores it in the 48-volt battery located under the cargo floor.
The start-stop engine function is further enhanced by the forward-facing radar that can detect when the car ahead starts to move then starts the engine, rather than waiting for the driver to lift off the brake.
The A7 is built on Audi’s spaceframe that is made up of a combination of aluminum, steel, carbon, and titanium. This adds ten percent more torsional rigidity and thirty percent more lateral rigidity than the previous model.
The interior has been completely reworked and has a futuristic feel to it. The cabin is minimalistic, clean and finished with top quality Napa leather, brushed–metal and piano black trim inserts with the ceiling being finished in fine microsuede.
Rear-seat legroom has been increased slightly as has headroom offering plenty of space for three passengers in the rear. Driver and passenger seats offer enough support to hold you in position while still remaining comfortable.
The biggest addition to the A7 is the MMI touch response system handed down from its big brother the A8.
This fully digital operating system features up to 39 driver assistance systems that can be operated as intuitively as a smart phone using touch and swipe gestures.
Two touch displays with haptic and acoustic feedback replace the rotary pushbutton and many buttons from the previous model.
Both displays are mounted on the center console with the upper 10.1-inch display controlling the infotainment system and available navigation with the lower 8.6-inch display being used for the climate control, comfort and convenience functions and text input by handwriting or virtual keyboard.
I must admit that it did take me a little time to become accustomed to the system and I tended to take my eyes off the road to ensure I was entering correct information, but after a while it did become second nature and I was more able to use it by feel alone. The tester I was driving came with Audi’s 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit configurable instrument cluster as well.
Driving on the twisty coastal roads was a breeze especially as the A7, I was driving, came equipped with the adaptive air suspension and dynamic all-wheel steering.
The engine had no problem handling the steep inclines with very little noise resonating into the cabin. The ride is super smooth and comfortable with great all round visibility.
Acceleration is crisp and agile especially for a large car, with steering being precise. Cornering is a breeze with the body staying flat and controlled all the way through the bends.
This A7 is a pleasure to drive, it can be a relaxed grand tourer when it wants to be, but also has the agility and sportiness to add an exciting road hugging performance feel when required, making it an all round performer.
The 2019 Audi A7 won’t be available in Canada until the third quarter of this year, with pricing being made available closer to the release date.
2019 Audi A7 Sportback
BODY STYLE: Luxury Sportback, four-door coupe.
DRIVE METHOD: Front-engine, seven-speed tiptronic automatic transmission with Quattro permanent all-wheel-drive
ENGINE: 3.0-litre, turbocharged V6 (340hp, 368lb/ft.= of torque)
FUEL ECONOMY: (Premium) 6.8–7.2L/100 km combined (depends on the tires/wheels used)
TOWING CAPACITY: Not available
CARGO: 535 litres (seats up), 1,390 litres (rear seats folded)
PRICE: To be announced
Follow Wheels.ca on