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Audi A7 Sportback vs its rivals

  • A7 Sportback takes on 5-series GT and CLS
  • German trio fight it out for the premium coupe crown
  • Find out which is the car company drivers' choice

Audi's A7 Sportback vs BMW 5-Series GT vs Mercedes-Benz CLS

The Audi A7 Sportback fits into a niche occupied by the Mercedes-Benz CLS and the BMW 5-series GT but which of the three is the better proposition for the company car driver? We've crunched the numbers and here's what we found.

Economy and performance

The A7 Sportback comes with four engines, two petrol (2.8-litre with 204bhp and 3.0-litre 300bhp) and two diesels (3.0-litre with either 204bhp or 245bhp). In its most efficient incarnation - the 3.0-litre 204bhp diesel - the A7 returns 53.3mpg on the combined cycle, while hitting 62mph in 7.4 seconds. The quickest is the 3.0-litre 300bhp petrol, which hits 62mph in 5.6 seconds and returning 34.4mpg.

The CLS gets a choice of five engines. The cleanest is the 350CDI, which returns 37.2mpg with 224bhp. The fastest is the 63AMG, but this is unlikely to be the company car drivers' choice thanks to its 6.2-litre engine returning 19.5mpg.

BMW's 5-series GT comes with either the 535i or 550i petrol engines, with 306bhp and 407bhp respectively. The diesel engines to choose from are the 530d and the 535d, with 245bhp and 294bhp respectively. The cleanest is the 530d, returning 43.5mpg on the combined cycle.

Pick of the trio -
Audi A7 204bhp 3.0-litre. This iteration does it all - it'll return an average of 53.3mpg yet it all go from 0-62mph in 7.4 seconds.

Costs and company car tax bands

The most efficient derivative of A7 is the 3.0-litre diesel with 204bhp. Thanks to technology such as stop/start and Audi's continuously variable transmission, emissions of 139g/km CO2 mean the car sits in the 19% benefit-in-kind tax band. So, with a car with a P11d value of £44,000 a company car driver on the 40% pay scale should pay £279 per month in BIK tax.

BMW's 5-Series GT in 530d specification emits 173g/km CO2, placing it in the 26% company car tax band. This means for a company car driver a 5-series GT with a P11d value of £43,000 (est) will cost £372 per month on the 40% pay scale.

However the cleanest CLS you can buy is the 350 CDI, emitting 200g/km CO2 and hence sitting right up in the 32% company car tax band. So for a company car driver paying the higher 40% company car tax on a car with a P11d value of £49,000(est), the monthly cost will be £523 in tax alone.

Pick of the trio
Audi A7 - the stats tell a blunt story - it's the cheapest for company car drivers by a mile. A £100 a month saving cannot be sniffed at.

Boot space and practicality

In terms of boot space the CLS gets 505 litres, but you'll have to pay extra for folding rear seats to increase capacity further. However, while the 5-series GT gets 440 litres and the A7 Sportback gets 535 litres with their seats up, the rear seats can be folded to create 1,700 litres for the BMW and 1,360 litres for the Audi.

The latter two get a hatchback-style boot, making loading ungainly objects into the boot a much easier task. However, the 5-Series GT also has a clever split tailgate which adds an extra level of practicality over the other two cars.
The A7 Sportback suffers slightly with its sloping roof, meaning rear occupants over six feet tall may find the roof a tad closer than they'd like.

Parker's pick of the trio
BMW 5-Series GT - doesn't have the biggest capacity but its split tailgate puts it ahead of rivals for practicality

Conclusion

1st Audi A7 Sportback, 2nd BMW 5-Series, 3rd Mercedes-Benz CLS

All three offerings seat four adults fairly comfortably and they all have stylish interiors and enough kit to safely slot into the ‘premium' segment. On paper there's one clear winner. The A7 Sportback has the biggest boot with the seats up - although the BMW's split tailgate trumps it on practicality - and the cleanest, most efficient engine of the three cars. It's also significantly cheaper with regards to company car tax, saving nearly £100 each month over the BMW and around £250 over the Mercedes offering.