Audi A7 Sportback

Audi’s Clever Coupe Review

01 July 2018

AUDI has introduced a highly-sophisticated new entry-level version of its A7 Sportback model, with prices from £52,000.

It is an innovative hybrid based on a V6 turbodiesel version that aims to offer the best of all possible worlds, with impressive performance, low emissions and enviable economy.

Among its clever tricks is the ability to control the engine’s fuel-saving stop-start function in town by sensing when traffic is about to move.

Onboard cameras monitor other vehicles and restart the engine when there is movement afoot, thereby keeping the Audi’s engine effectively switched off until the last possible moment before it is needed.

The five-seat coupe A7 Sportback gets the new V6 TDI engine as a lead-in model for the range, with prices of £52,240 for the standard 45 TDI quattro, rising to £55,140 for the S line version.

There is 230bhp of power from the turbodiesel engine and a whopping 500Nm of torque, or pulling power, allied to economy of 50mpg and low emissions of just 147g/km of CO2.

A major contributor to the ultimate frugality of the V6 TDI engine is the 48V mild-hybrid drivetrain fitted as standard.

At a time of record fuel prices, this reduces consumption by about 0.7 litres per 100 kilometres, which is quite significant.

It does so by intelligently shutting off the engine at speeds of between 35mph and 100mph, which enables the car to coast in freewheeling mode. A Belt Alternator Starter system then re-fires the engine when needed after coasting and is capable of channelling up to 12kW of energy back into the lithium ion battery during recuperative braking.

The start-stop functionality has also been significantly expanded and now activates at speeds of up to 13mph.

This enables the vehicle to detect when it is safe to shut down even whilst still moving, such as approaching a T-junction or a stationary vehicle immediately ahead.

The engine automatically switches itself off and effectively coasts to the point of required driver intervention.

In combination with the standard front camera, when the vehicle is stationary in traffic the engine is restarted predictively as soon as the vehicle ahead begins to move.

Despite possessing the lowest power output of the current V6 line-up in the A7 Sportback range, performance is still impressive.

The vehicle can accelerate to 60mph in just six and a half seconds and the top speed is potentially so high that it has to be electronically limited to 155mph in the interests of safety.

Channelled through an eight-speed tiptronic and permanent quattro all-wheel drive, the 230bhp output is boosted by 13bhp over the equivalent version in the outgoing car, and the brawny 500Nm of torque is spread over a wide bandwidth from 1,750rpm to 3,250rpm.

In terms of specification, the A7 Sportback 45 TDI quattro is lavishly equipped. It gains a host of standard equipment in Sport specification that includes MMI Navigation Plus with MMI Touch, the Audi Virtual Cockpit and a rear-view camera, pre-sense front, a lane departure warning system and LED lights front and rear. On S line versions, alloy wheels move up to 20 inches as standard as opposed to 19-inch alloys for the Sport models, with sport suspension and HD Matrix LED headlights incorporating a coming and leaving home animation.

The order book for the two versions of the newcomer opens today.