Audi’s A7 Sportback is available in a single 3.0 petrol model selling for R1.25m. Picture: SUPPLIED
Audi’s A7 Sportback is available in a single 3.0 petrol model selling for R1.25m. Picture: SUPPLIED

With the styling of a coupé, the space of a sedan and the variability of an Avant, the new A7 Sportback may have something of an identity crisis, but Audi says it combines the best of three worlds.

The second generation of the Gran Turismo, just launched in SA, is what Audi calls the essence of its new design language in a large and visually striking four-door coupé.

The exterior design has large surfaces and sharp edges with alternating light and shadows. The wide single-frame grille and prominent air scoops present a bold and edgy facade, while the pronounced wheel contours reference Audi’s quattro genes.

Headlights with 12 separate strips create a distinctive lighting signature, and optionally available are HD Matrix LED headlights with Audi laser light.

Creating visual drama at the rear is a light strip connecting the tail lights, while a boot spoiler extends electrically at 120km/h. When the doors are unlocked or closed, the front and rear lights playfully display lighting animations.

A futuristic lounge atmosphere greets occupants inside, in a clean and minimalistic setting. The interior has grown compared to the predecessor model, and the luggage compartment can expand from a spacious 535l to 1,390l.

HEADLIGHTS WITH 12 SEPARATE STRIPS CREATE A DISTINCTIVE LIGHTING SIGNATURE, AND HD MATRIX LED HEADLIGHTS ARE OPTIONALLY AVAILABLE

The cockpit offers a wide choice of colours, materials and lighting. In addition to a digitised instrument panel, there is a large tablet-style infotainment screen on the dashboard, minimising the number of physical buttons needed.

Operation is intuitive, similar to that on a smartphone, and acoustic-haptic feedback provides a tangible click to confirm activation of a function.

The optional voice control recognises natural speech. For instance, you can say “I’m hot” and the digital hostess asks what temperature you would like and sets it to your choice.

Agile handling is combined with a wafting ride in Audi’s new Gran Turismo, especially with the optional adaptive air suspension fitted.

Customers can choose between four suspension set-ups: a conventional steel spring suspension, the sport suspension that lowers ride height by 10mm, electronically controlled damping and self-levelling adaptive air suspension.

In addition to a digitised instrument panel, there is a large tablet-style infotainment screen on the dashboard, minimising the number of physical buttons needed. Picture: SUPPLIED
In addition to a digitised instrument panel, there is a large tablet-style infotainment screen on the dashboard, minimising the number of physical buttons needed. Picture: SUPPLIED

Available optionally is all-wheel steering that combines direct steering with superior directional stability at higher speeds, and a tighter turning circle at slow pace.

The new A7 Sportback features a range of safety assistance systems including adaptive cruise control, turn assist, lane departure warning, night vision assistant and park assist.

The car is available in a single A7 55 TFSI Sportback quattro S tronic model, with S Line and Black styling packages available along with a host of extra-cost options.

Power comes from a 3.0l  turbocharged V6 engine with outputs of 250kW and 500Nm. The four-door coupé sprints from 0 to 100km/h in a claimed 5.3 seconds and tops out at a governed 250km/h.

A 48V mild-hybrid system helps to keep fuel thirst down to a claimed 6.8l/100km.

This new mild hybrid system (MHEV) uses a 48V primary electrical system. A belt alternator starter (BAS) works together with a lithium-ion battery and achieves a recuperation performance of up to 12kW when braking. At speeds between 55km/h and 160km/h, the four-door coupé can coast in freewheeling mode with the engine deactivated and then restarted via the BAS.

The new Audi A7 55 TFSI Sportback quattro S tronic is priced at R1.25m and comes standard with a five-year/100,000km Audi Freeway plan.

The more performance-orientated S7 Sportback and RS7 Sportback will be added to the line-up in 2020.