The second-generation A7 Sportback will come with both petrol and diesel options, with some hybrid input, but first out of the showrooms will be the 55 TFSI as tested here. It’s got the latest MLB platform, and manages to have a 12mm longer wheelbase yet a shorter bodylength by 5mm. Under that body is the 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 giving in this instance 355bhp. Should you wait for the diesel?
The latest engine is certainly smooth, and the 369lb ft of torque means you’re not forced to go chasing the revs unless you feel like it. In fact, you probably won’t feel like it. The sound certainly doesn’t improve a great deal and despite the Sport moniker there’s not a lot of sportiness to be had.
It is very far from slow, as the 5.3sec time to 62mph attests, but somehow it comes along as exceedingly competent rather than exciting. The seven-speed auto box stirs things crisply and efficiently, and you can motor along fairly quietly at quite a pace for a lot of miles, but it’s almost as if there’s a slight disconnect between engine and driver.
And between chassis and driver too. The new platform works well and so does the new design language outside and in, and of course there is a great deal of technology, some of it debuted on the new A8. There’s also the four-wheel steering system, which works very well at low or high speeds, helping the car feel very assured even at faster paces.
Audi A7 Sportback 55 TFSI S line S tronic
On sale: April 2018
Engine: 6cyls, 2995cc, turbocharged petrol, 48V MHEV
Power: 335bhp at 5000-6400rpm
Torque: 369lb ft at 1370-4500rpm
Gearbox: 7-speed automatic
Kerb weight: 1815kg
Top speed: 155mph
Fuel economy: 39.8mpg
All of this combines to deliver a very confident drive, although the S line trim involves sports suspension and larger 20in wheels. The combination overall is that the car seems to be getting on with it with minimal interface with the driver. Which leaves the driver noticing that the ride quality is a bit firm and joggly, even on Comfort settings. Smaller standard 19in wheels help, but only to a degree.
The driver is certainly comfortable and has plenty to play with, including the 10.1in and 8.6in displays, which in this case were augmented by the very excellent 12.3in Virtual Cockpit digital display. There are a lot of extras available and many were fitted to our car, like the B&O 3D Advanced Sound System which was terrific.
Overall this is a fast, comfortable, efficient and handsome machine, a bit better than its predecessor in quite a few ways. Yet it’s not a barnstorming car, it doesn’t engage with you much, and it’s not as sporting as the labels and the lines would indicate.
It’s really happiest at a fast cruise and if that is what you want then it would fit the bill very well. But if that is the case, you’d probably be better off waiting for the diesel versions, which will accomplish the same things but with more torque and better consumption figures.