Huge amounts of grip, refined petrol and diesel engines, excellent build quality, frugal diesel
Not real fun to drive, poor rear-seat headroom, rearward visibility compromised, numb steering feel, only four seats
There is an expression that car manufacturers will frequently use in order to, well, flog their wares and now it has descended into language abuse. It’s the word ‘sporty’, and never was it repeated more than at the launch of the Audi A7 Sportback: you could have called ‘house’ in no more than a couple of minutes of playing a spot of ‘sporty’ bingo during the initial A7 presentation.
In this instance Audi has some justification: on first glance the best, and probably, only fitting way to describe the A7 to your mate down the pub is that it’s a ‘sporty’ version of the A6 saloon. However, after some hours behind the wheel of the A7, in nearly all its guises, the proper way is to call it a GT – a grand tourer – but BMW has already done that with the 5-Series GT, so ‘sporty’ it is then.
There’s no doubt it is an impressive looking machine – probably the most elegant of the, ahem, non-sporty Audis. Essentially, it’s a larger version of the A5 Sportback on a totally new platform sitting between the A5 and A8, and no argument.
It’s another so-called niche product from a premium manufacturer but not quite so niche when you consider that VW has the Passat CC, Mercedes-Benz has the CLS, BMW, the 5-Series GT and, if you factor in other posh four-door saloons with sloping rear ends, the Jaguar XF even. All this means that the A7 Sportback is nothing new, it’s not niche and it’s not sporty. Bah humbug to all that marketing guff then, but no matter, the question is, is it a decent car?
The Audi A7 is a direct rival for the Mercedes CLS and BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe, and to some extent the Jaguar XF. The Audi offers a subtly different look to the A6 on which it’s based and there’s definitely a greater sense of purpose to its styling that helps it stand out. Inside, the A7 is also a little different to the A6 in the way it looks and feels, which all contribute to the A7 feeling a little more bespoke and stylish.
High levels of standard kit on all trims
Like the A6, the A7 is also available in three trims levels – namely SE, S Line and Black Edition spec and A7 Black Edition. No matter which version you go for, there’s plenty of standard kit on offer, with 19-inch alloy wheels, Audi Drive Select, all-weather LED headlights, sat-nav and Bluetooth phone connectivity standard on all models
Black Edition trim was only added in late 2016 and is the highest spec available with the A7 – excluding S7 and S7 Black Edition. Building on the standard equipment list of the A7 S Line, Black Edition adds a number of features, including Bose surround sound, unique 21-inch alloy wheels, privacy glass, S Line Sport suspension and the black styling package.
Not much driver fun
Where the Mercedes CLS and BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe can tempt buyers in with the way they drive, the A7 just misses out on their deftness of touch. While the A7 goes round corners very quickly and safely thanks to Quattro all-wheel drive, it doesn’t have the feedback from the steering or suspension that its rivals offer. It makes the A7 feel a touch leaden, though it does also make the car incredibly stable and sure-footed on the motorway where it is an ideal cruiser.
So can this car hope to catch up with the likes of the CLS or 6 Series Gran Coupe? Read on for our full and comprehensive Audi A7 Sportback review to find out.
What owners say about this car
On the good side, it looks great, turns heads, good on motorways, handles well for a big car, reasonable economy,... Read owner review
I moved to the A7 from and A6 Avant as I wanted a car that was different and yet still... Read owner review
Fuel economy - combined MPG is over 47 across the 85k miles I've travelled to date. Read owner review