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Audi A7 First Drive Review

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Audi A7 First Drive Review

CAPE TOWN, South Africa — The 2019 Audi A7 is a stone-chilly fox, plain and easy. From its rakish squint to its faceted tail, the brand new Sportback updates the design-centric theme that originated in 2009 with hanging, recent sheetmetal. However whereas the unique A7’s huge hatchback format was a novel packaging train paired with a considerably compromised rear-seat expertise, the brand new mannequin takes numerous technological leaps ahead that add some a lot-needed substance to that type.

For starters, the brand new A7 shares sufficient superior features with the tech-laden A8 to make it among the many most refined sedans on the planet — although Audi is not sharing all of these bells and whistles with the U.S. market (extra on that later). When the A7 drops within the fourth quarter of 2018, will probably be launched with the identical trick TFSI V6 discovered within the A8, no less than till the sportier S8 arrives with a gruntier V8. Producing 340 horsepower and 368 lb-ft of torque, the entry-mannequin V6 is a light hybrid that makes use of an built-in starter/generator on a forty eight-volt platform that permits as much as 12 kilowatts of power recuperation. This powertrain is mated to a seven-velocity twin-clutch S-tronic gearbox. The so-referred to as belt alternator generator (BAS) is able to coasting with the engine off inside sure velocity ranges, although U.S. fashions will not have the coasting feature at launch.

Whereas we’re bursting your bubble, we should always in all probability additionally point out that the A7 will not be provided, at the least initially, with the A8’s delicate-boggling predictive suspension system that scans street surfaces forward and makes use of electromechanical dampers to boost the physique and management wheel journey, making certain a silky journey. As an alternative, the A7 will include a standard metal spring setup at launch, and an adaptive air suspension will doubtless be provided as an choice.

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Slide into the brand new A7, and its redesigned cabin presents a dramatically up to date appear and feel over the outgoing mannequin. There are pleasantly sculpted interior surfaces with obtainable wooden veneer remedies which gently arc and movement with these creases — all intelligent design features whose solely contradictory parts are the oddly misplaced (and disappointingly inauthentic) pretend rear tailpipes which have spawned all through the Audi lineup. Whereas exterior proportions stay unchanged, the A7’s new aluminum and metal chassis expands half an inch in wheelbase and zero.eight inches in interior size, boosting legroom, headroom, and knee room for rear passengers. Entry to these rear seats now includes much less head banging, whereas the slick, frameless door design has fortunately been retained. Trunk quantity grows to 18.9 cubic ft, or forty nine.1 cubic ft with the rear seat down, sufficient area to put two golf luggage sideways.

As with the A8 (and very similar to its sister car, the Porsche Panamera), bodily buttons and switches have been all however eradicated in favor of three glass panel shows. Prime and middle is a ten.1-inch infotainment touchscreen canted in the direction of the driving force, certainly one of two new MMI contact response screens which command almost each management on this two-ton sedan (save gadgets just like the tiny quantity/energy dial, the stalks on the steering column, and buttons and dials on the steering wheel). Under it’s a barely smaller show for local weather management settings.

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Typical gauges are additionally ditched for a 12.three-inch Digital Cockpit-outfitted digital dashboard. Whereas the A7’s flatscreen-apalooza holds a sure attraction to excessive minimalists, the glossy and flush instrumentation begs the inevitable query: Is that this courageous new button-free world actually a very good factor? On a basic degree, the brand new interface is intuitive and highly effective. And heck, at the least Audi left the HVAC vents as bodily controls, in contrast to the irritating Panamera which requires diving right into a menu to maneuver the vents. However the depth of Audi’s menu system typically makes it troublesome and irritating to entry sure controls that have been as soon as easy. The touchscreens additionally lack the tactical satisfaction of bodily buttons, to not point out the truth that extra consideration and precision is required when aiming your fingertip at a small area on a display in a shifting car. The few key fastened “buttons,” like Drive Mode choose, Traction Management Off, Most Defrost, and headlight controls are merely spots on a tough, flush floor. Once more, the setup works, however with out the identical bodily reassurance as an actual button.

The gear selector is a spring-loaded, leather-based-wrapped shifter that gives fairly satisfying electromechanical connection to the transmission. No less than the A7’s driving dynamics are, for probably the most half, extra bodily gratifying than that simulated mechanical linkage. The standard driving mode produces a clean, agreeable energy supply and quiet engine operation at decrease speeds, feeling extra like an überluxury sedan just like the S-Class, 7-Collection (and sure, A8) than a targeted sports activities sedan. We’re guessing future efficiency variants, presumably S7s and RS7s, shall be significantly punchier.

Even with the steering set to Sport, effort is comparatively low, although really feel is sweet sufficient (and Michelin Pilot Sport 4s sticky sufficient) to encourage excessive-velocity cornering. Dip deeper into the throttle and the refined hum of the V6 emerges, buying and selling some isolation for incrementally extra suggestions. New elective acoustic glazing goes a great distance towards subduing ambient noise within the cabin, and our test car got here outfitted with air suspension that additionally managed to tune out potholes whereas holding issues crispy and responsive in sport mode. Cabin silence spawns the phantasm that the A7 is not as fast because it truly is. Although acceleration appears robust with aggressive driving, the shortage of noise masks the truth that the V6 is able to whisking the A7 to sixty two mph in solely 5.three seconds — fairly swift for a base engine on an enormous sedan.

2019 Audi A7

Tackling the mountain passes outdoors of Cape City, South Africa, in sport mode was extra entertaining and confidence-inspiring than you may anticipate from such a big sedan, although a few of that functionality was because of our test car’s 4-wheel steering system. That 4WS system (you guessed it!) will not be obtainable at launch for U.S. market automobiles. The system turns the rear wheels in the other way because the fronts at speeds under 37 miles per hour, then turns them in part with the fronts at larger speeds. As with the A8, rotating the rear wheels has the impact of tightening the turning radius to imitate the midsize A4’s. As vehicle dynamics go, it is a fairly neat get together trick that we sadly will not get within the first A7.

Oh, and yet one more factor: Although the A7 is prepared for a slew of laser scanners, radars, ultrasonic sensors and 360 cameras, it probably will not be capable of legally make the most of its Degree three autonomous capabilities at launch as a consequence of legislative laws which have but to approve the self-driving know-how. Whereas we did not get to test-drive the Degree three setup, the naked bones assisted-driving features did not blow us away of their execution. The system did an honest sufficient job of protecting distance with automobiles forward, however struggled to acknowledge neighboring visitors when it encroached into our lane. Equally, the lane-holding help might have been smoother, because it pinballed inside the lane whereas looking for its trajectory. These niggles may need been annoying in our test car, however we’ll need to expertise the full-blown Degree three remedy earlier than we cross final judgment.

Whereas the U.S. model of the A7 will miss a couple of of the important thing tech features that assist it stand out from its aggressive set (amongst them 4-wheel steering, predictive suspension, and engine coasting), its distinctive design language presents a extra relatable type of differentiation, particularly when seen towards the chronically staid A8. Add the volumetric attraction of its electrically operated rear hatch, and the A7 manages to tick most of the packing containers we by no means knew we had. It is that kind of panache and beauty that makes the A7 our sort of huge sedan, one with sufficient fashion and functionality to upstage its flagship massive brother, the A8.

– Audi A7 First Drive Review –

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