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New models - Audi - A7

Driven: Sharpened A7 Sportback surfaces

Seventh heaven: Two diesel and two petrol variants of the A7 are on offer in Australia, staring from $115,400, plus ORCs.

Facelifted Audi A7 Sportback slinks in with lower base price and updated styling

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Audi logo13 Mar 2015

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

AUDI’S A7 Sportback range has been given a mid-life facelift, bringing base pricing, better fuel economy and sharper styling to the swoopy five-door range.

Kicking off from $115,400, plus on-road costs, the Series II entry-level 3.0 TDI quattro S tronic variant is $21,350 less than its immediate predecessor.

However, in the interests of up to 20 per cent better fuel economy, power is down slightly, from 180kW to 160kW, although the 500Nm torque figure remains the same.

Furthermore, the range has been trimmed, with the old $145,300 3.0 TFSI quattro V6 petrol version dropped altogether, leaving the high-performance S7 and blistering RS7 flagship as the sole non-diesel A7 Sportback choices.

Finally, while the $144,900 3.0 TDI Biturbo quattro Tiptronic has also undergone a price cut, coming in at $4700 less than before, the RS7 Sportback barnstormer is now $3500 more expensive at $242,000.

As with the C7-generation A6 Series II on which it is based, the A7 Sportback features a fresh face thanks to a wider single-frame grille, flatter headlights with Matrix LEDs, a redesigned lower splitter underneath the revised bumper, larger air intake and extra chrome trimming, while the rear end’s tail-lights, contrasting diffuser and trapezoidal tailpipes are also new.

The dashboard architecture remains essentially the same, except for a new Driver Information System display between the main cluster dials, showing – among other things – satellite navigation data. As with the A6, it uses an Nvidia Tegra 30 quad-core processor.

Other updates include improved night-vision assistant and autonomous braking systems.

Tipping the scales at 1825kg, the A7 Sportback 3.0 TDI quattro’s 2967cc V6 turbo-diesel now delivers 160kW from 3250 to 4500rpm, but the same 500Nm between 1250 and 3000rpm, for a 0-100km/h time of 6.8 seconds (up 0.5s), but down a substantial 0.8L/100km to 5.0L/100km and 136g/km rating.

A seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission deals out torque to the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system with self-locking centre differential.

Meanwhile, the 3.0 TDI quattro Biturbo’s extra oomph (up 5kW to 235kW between 3900 and 4600rpm and 650Nm between 1400 and 2800rpm) means the transmission is an eight-speed Tiptronic auto, pushing the 1895kg liftback to 100km/h from standstill in 5.2 seconds and a top speed of 250km/h, as well as fuel and emissions figures of 6.1L/100km and 162g/km respectively.

The 1955kg S7 Sportback, priced at an identical $179,900, and offering 331kW – up22kW – from 5800 to 6400rpm and 550Nm between 1400 and 5700rpm from its 3993cc 4.0-litre TFSI twin-turbo V8 petrol, slicing 0.6 seconds off the 0-100km/h time to just 4.6 seconds.

Aided by half-bank cylinder deactivation tech, the S6 can average 9.3L/100km and 215g/km.

All but the 3.0 TDI quattro are offered with an optional limited slip sports differential that distributes torque between the rear wheels according to traction requirements.

The RS7 Sportback will be $242,000 when it arrives in Australia in a few months, and will boast its own variation of the fresh headlight, grille and infotainment treatments, along with a bespoke instrument cluster, new shifting paddles and updated airvent nozzles.

Its 4.0-litre twin turbo V8 will churn out 412kW and 700Nm, for a sub 4.0-second 0-100km/h-sprint time, while still managing 9.5L/100km.

Despite the new cheaper pricing, there has been no skimping on features, with the 3.0 TDI quattro offering LED headlights with rear dynamic turn indicators, high-beam assist, MMI satellite navigation, Bluetooth connectivity and streaming, a 14-speaker Bose audio system, automatic parking with front and rear cameras, electric tailgate, auto folding mirrors, Audi Active Lane and Side Assist, DAB+ digital radio, convenience key and 19-inch alloy wheels.

Overall A7 Sportback range sales were up 24 per cent last year, albeit from a very low base, with 119 units registered. Key rivals are the Mercedes-Benz CLS that led the class with 377, and the BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe (data unavailable for this model).

Audi A7 pricing*
3.0 TDI quattro (a)$115,400
3.0 TDI Biturbo quattro (a)$144,900
S7 4.0 TFSI quattro (a)$179,900
RS7 quattro (a)$242,000
*Excludes on-road costs.

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