Audi A7 Sportback gets the Gentex SmartBeam

Article by Christian Andrei, on July 13, 2011

The new Audi A7 five-door coupe is now offered with the high-beam assist system dubbed as the SmartBeam. Based in the U.S., Gentex manufactures automatic-dimming rearview mirrors and camera-based driver-assist systems. A miniature camera-on-a-chip is combined with algorithmic decision-making. This allows for the automatic operation of a vehicle's high beams so that its usage could be optimized depending on the surrounding traffic conditions.

The system optimizes forward lighting while it eradicates the repetitive task of manually turning the high beams on and off. SmartBeam is also applied on a Gentex auto-dimming mirror, which automatically darkens to get rid of the glare from the vehicles’ headlamps that approach from the rear. The all-new Audi A7 has a starting price of $59,250 (exclusive of $875 destination charge, taxes, title, options, and dealer charges) for the 3.0T quattro Tiptronic version.

It is equipped with the following as standard: 18-inch wheels with all-season tires, Xenon plus headlights with LED Daytime Running Lights, leather seating surfaces, power, heated front seats with driver lumbar support, automatic power tailgate, Audi drive select, SIRIUS satellite radio, Audi Music Interface, Bluetooth telephone and music player connection, Homelink, Keyless go, power sunroof, 3-zone automatic climate control, and automatic headlights with light/rain sensor.

Enoch Jen, the senior vice president Gentex, said that there are now 14 Audi models that feature the Gentex high-beam assist system. He said that aside from the SmartBeam, Gentex is also the supplier for the A7’s base feature interior and exterior auto-dimming mirrors. Most of all, Gentex said that it’s proud to be the sole supplier to Audi for the auto-dimming mirror technology.

Audi hopes that with the A7 Sportback, it will be able to enter a new segment in the market. This five-door vehicle has a rear end that highlights the best of three categories: the station wagon’s practicality, sedan’s comfort, and a coupe’s sporty elegance. What this means is that it combines an athletic quality with long-distance comfort. Even when running at high speeds, the noise level in the interior is kept to a minimum as the V6 engines also help with the refined acoustic feedback as the vehicle increases its power. This amazing vibrational comfort also helps with having a cultured tranquility setting inside.

The reason for this is due to the meticulous tuning of all the parts, the exceedingly stiff body, and the systematic hydraulic damping for the drivetrain bearings and the axle. By making use of high-tech steel and aluminum, it guarantees that the body is lightweight and at the same time safe. Its luggage compartment is large and allows easy access as all that is needed is to open the rear hatch. Total capacity is 535 liters (18.89 cu ft) though when the backrests in the rear seats are folded; it results to capacity of 1,390 liters (49.09 cu ft). In terms of dimensions, the A7 Sportback has a length of 4.97 meters (16.31 ft) and width of 1.91 meters (6.27 ft) and height at 1.42 meters (4.66 ft).

A quick look and one will get the impression of dynamism given the short overhang in the front, long hood, long wheelbase, dropping rear, and flowing C-pillars. Clearly, this five-door model has the athletic look with a powerful road stance. Though offered as an option, the headlights make use of light-emitting diodes to deliver the needed light function while making sure that energy consumption is kept low. It also strengthens that clear expression that is the A7 Sportback.

Its standard equipment includes the bi-xenon headlights with the LED tail lights. Instead of the standard fog lights, the headlights instead have the advanced all-weather light function incorporated to it. While the exterior has a strong athletic design, this is carried to its interior where the brand once again shows why it was able to keep its lead when it comes to automotive design. The main element is the wrap-around, which is a horizontal line that encloses the driver and the passenger sitting in the front resulting in a cabin that offers security and safety.

Meanwhile for the dashboard, its most noticeable feature is the wave-shaped application strip that comes with integrative dynamics. Extra attention to detail was placed in every part of the interior. The workmanship is excellent and it is at the level of a true craftsman. The seats in the front are covered with high-grade leather from the brand and even have functions like a massage or climate control, though considered as options. Optional as well is the ambient lighting that can fill the whole interior.

A lot of features in the A7 Sportback display high technology. Take the body for example. It has a lighter weight due to the different parts made of aluminum. As previously mentioned, the interior is elegant and is the product of premium workmanship. Four V6 engines are offered, displaying impressive efficiency and power. In detail, the 3.0-liter TDI engine provides 150 kW (204 hp) but CO2 emissions stand at 139 grams/kilometer (223.70 g/mile).

Even the sporty chassis offers new solutions like having electromechanical power steering. As expected from an Audi model, this luxury-class coupe is equipped with the infotainment and assistance systems. The A7 Sportback, much like the A8, manages to get a good mix of technical intelligence with easy to understand operation and the intuitive and logical ergonomics. Fitted as standard is the innovative MMI operating system that has a central menu button and fewer buttons.

An option offered is the head-up display feature where pertinent information is shown on the windshield. This MMI system contains the hard drive navigation system and integrates it with an easy touchpad input. With this touchpad, the driver can execute different functions like simply using a finger to write the phone number or letters of the desired destination. Online services are offered as well and even works well with Google and thus allow the A7 Sportback to use the Bluetooth car phone and connect to the web.

It can also access Google Earth and information and images are then delivered by the UMTS module to the monitor where it is then integrated with the navigation route. The cabin even has a WLAN hotspot that can be utilized so that mobile devices can connect to the internet. In addition to the standard Bose sound system, Audi is offering the Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System with 15 speakers and power of 1,300 watts. The A7 Sportback is scheduled to be released in the fall with a new design line at a €51,600 starting price.

Topics: audi, audi a7, sportback

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