Sales will start this May for Audi’s 2012 A7 Sportback, a premium hatchback that’s slotted between the A6 and the A8. With this new model, Audi is entering a new niche. Audi of America President Johan de Nysschen said that the A7 Sportback is meant to be an “avant-garde alternative” for those who are considering the Jaguar XJ and BMW 7 series.
Right before the start of the New York auto show, de Nysschen was interviewed and he claimed that the A7 Sportback is targeted at those who want a car that’s “more emotionally styled” but will have the driving dynamics and the safety features that are available on the A8 or a 7 series.
He also pointed to the Mercedes-Benz CLS as a rival for this car. Audi is undertaking projects such as the A7 to expand its lineup so that it can raise U.S. sales to 150,000 vehicles in 2015. Audi had its best year ever in the U.S. in 2010 with sales totaling 101,629 vehicles.
According to Filip Brabec, general manager of product planning for Audi of America, the A7 has a large decklid that is well hidden and lends some practicality too. Two V-6 gasoline engines are available for the A7. These are a 280-hp 2.8-liter and a 290-hp 3.0-liter. In addition, buyers can also choose from two diesel V-6 engines -- a 170-hp 3.0-liter and a 240-hp 3.0-liter.
Audi reveals that its A7 Sportback will be officially launched in the fall at authorized dealerships and will come with a €51,600 base price. With this, the brand hopes to carry a new design line that will represent elegance on a grand scale.
The A7 Sportback is a five-door coupe with a powerful and wide road stance as well as an athletic appearance. In terms of dimensions, the length is 4.97 meters (16.31 ft.), width at 1.91 meters (6.27 ft.), and height at 1.42 meters (4.66 ft.). It delivers a dynamic overall impression due to the combination of factors that include the sporty flowing C-pillars, a long wheels, short overhang in the front, long hood, and a rear that sharply drops.
When the optional LED headlights are equipped, it delivers all the needed light function while lowering energy consumption and strengthening the unique expression of the A7 Sportback. Equipped as standard are the LED tail lights and bi-xenon headlights.
Instead of the standard fog lights, the headlights have instead been integrated with the advanced all-weather light function. Such a strong level of sportiness observed on the exterior is carried over to the inside as the brand once again shows why it is the leader when it comes to automotive design. The most striking element on the interior is the "wrap-around." This is a horizontal line that encloses both the driver and the passenger in the front seat, giving them a sense of security and safety. The main element of the dashboard meanwhile is the application strip that is shaped like a wave and comes with integrative dynamics.
Additionally, it is clear that extra attention to detail was ensured when it comes to the interior. Workmanship for example is obviously at the same level as that of traditional craftsmen. The seats in front use high-grade Audi leathers for cover. Optional features include climate control as well as massage functions. When the optional ambient lighting is availed, the whole interior is filled with its own atmosphere.
The A7 Sportback, similar to the brand’s A8 flagship, manages to get a good mix of technical intelligence that has self-explanatory operations in addition to intuitive and logical ergonomics. It has the state-of-the-art MMI operating system that has a central menu button and lowers the total number of buttons. One option available in the system is known as the head-up display which shows needed information on the windshield.
There is also the MMI touch system that manages to combine the ease of using a touchpad for input and a hard drive navigation system. With the touchpad, the driver can perform a number of functions, like using one’s finger to write the telephone number or the letters of the planned destination. Since the online services being offered work well with Google, it enables this coupe to be connected to the internet through the Bluetooth-capable car phone.
Using a UMTS module, information and images obtained from Google Earth are transferred to the monitor, after which it is combined with the navigation system. The availability of a WLAN hotspot means that everyone inside can connect their mobile devices to the web. In terms of entertainment, it comes with the standard Bose sound system or it can be equipped with the optional Advanced Sound System courtesy of Bang & Olufsen which has a 1,300-watt power and a total of 15 speakers.
While the navigation system is already one of the best, the one in the A7 Sportback works well with the optional safety and driver assistance systems. The route data for example is channeled to the adaptive cruise control that comes with a stop & go function, automatic transmission, and headlights’ control units, allowing the system to identify any complicated scenarios.
In many cases, the pre-sense safety system helps lower the severity of accidents as well as their consequences. A new feature is the active lane assist that aids the driver in making sure that the A7 Sportback remains on course. There is also the park assist system that helps the driver avoid the difficulties of steering, a helpful feature especially when parallel parking.