Late last year the new Audi A7 arrived with suave new looks, technology and the availability of a powerful turbo petrol engine. At the launch, there was little doubt in my mind this was one hell of an impressive effort. After a week of the flagship 55 TFSI doing the rounds at EFTM HQ, that has only been further been cemented in my mind.
What is it?
A large five-door grand tourer with the famous four rings front and back. The Sportback design is imposing, this is a very big car. Although better suited to carrying four around to absorb the sheer wonder of the high-tech interior.
Behind the wheel
The new generation Audi interior found on the A8, Q8 and A7 Sportback, I regard still as the best in the world. It’s an extravaganza of technology with high-tech touches everywhere you look. In fact, it’s almost futuristic with a heavy focus on imparting a digital feel.
The modern lounge-like ambience is superb. But the centrepiece is Audi’s MMI Touch Response system via two screens. It rids the cabin of most buttons. The Virtual Instrument display cluster remains the best around.
I’ve said this about many Audis, but you’d have to be a complete lunatic to throw one off the road. The Audi quattro system comes as standard on the A7 Sportback 55 TFSI. The car is so well-sorted it borders on freakish. On the EFTM Proving ground it performs like a cheater, with supreme pace and agility. But unlike the fast cat, it can just keep going.
The car also offers rear-wheel-steering that will turn the wheels up to five degrees in the opposite direction to the front wheels under 60km/h. This is especially handy in carparks, helping to reduce the turning circle. Over 60km/h the wheels can turn up to two degrees in the same direction as the front for sharper high-speed cornering. The latter is hard to pick up on but given the sheer ability on show I assume it is adding something to the overall experience.
Plus, remarkably there’s plenty of give in the adaptive air suspension, irrespective of what drive mode you’re in. This comes with the Premium Plus pack plus 21-inch rims.
There’s just the slightest disconnect between driver and road, probably because it’s driving better than you can.
The 3.0-litre turbo V6 is matched seven-speed automatic. It produces 250kW/500Nm and will hit 100km/h in 5.3 seconds. You won’t hear much from the engine, it’s like it doesn’t exist at times.
There are 39 individual safety systems and 22 radar and camera sensors. Enough said! Plus, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It also has those magic LED Matrix headlights, the very best around.
The petrol 55 TFSI starts from $131,900. The Premium Plus package adds $8,000. This includes adaptive air suspension 21-inch rims, panoramic sunroof, extra soft extended upholstery, four-zone air conditioning and a really trippy LED interior light package. One with 30 selectable colours. So, our test car ended up being $142,100 before on-roads!
The 55 TFSI has a claimed fuel economy of 7.3L/100km. I averaged 10.1L/100km, better than what I did at launch.
Why would you buy one?
Because you’re the boss and you want people to know.
This car is a marvel, the design may not be to everyone’s tastes, but I love it. It’s an engineering masterpiece, the Audi A7 Sportback 55 TFSI quattro S tronic gets an 8 out of 10 from me.