Evaluate: 2019 Audi A7 Sportback​ demonstrates the way forward for Audi design

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The A7 is Audi and Audi is the A7. No different automotive so totally exemplifies the model’s imaginative and prescient proper now. It aspires to nothing lower than Teutonic perfection, wrapped in modernist sheet steel and conspicuously full of know-how.

It is a automotive designed to suit into, and create for you, an
Instagram-perfect life. A automotive to be parked exterior architecturally important properties in a world the place nothing will get soiled. It is the automotive equal of a white couch: excessive model on the expense of a little bit practicality.

Make no mistake, the all-new 2019 A7 is an efficient automotive, however its greatest problem is likely to be its predecessor. That automotive nonetheless turns heads, regardless of having been launched eight years in the past. How do you prime that seminal design with out messing it up?

“We talked about it. It is actually onerous as a result of the [old] A7 is such a stupendous automotive,” mentioned
Andreas-Joachim Koglin, exterior designer at Audi. Between the corporate’s design studios in Germany, america and China, 40 designers submitted sketches – proposals for this new A7.

With the A7, efficiency comes second to model.

Extra so than even the A8, the model’s conventional flagship, the mid-size A7 demonstrates the way forward for Audi design, as outlined by Marc
Lichte’s 2014 Prologue idea. “Marc himself mentioned the essence of the Prologue is within the A7,” Koglin defined.

Audi used a brand new design course of to make this automotive. Within the firm’s new 400,000-square-foot studio in
Ingolstadt, Germany, are 5 car-size LED screens run by a pc cluster with the processing energy of 4,300 laptops. The screens work like a digital sketchpad, displaying modifications to 3-D fashions in 1:1 scale, in actual time and with photorealistic element. They’ll present designers what the automotive would appear to be below the California solar in July or in Moscow in February. From there, 20 milling machines work day and evening to show the digital fashions into bodily objects, correct to a tenth of a millimetre.

That it was
Koglin sitting down in Cape City to debate the brand new automotive offers away the actual fact his design beat out the 40 others. “I acquired impressed by the Zeppelin,” he mentioned, “not due to the Teutonic engineering – People made loads of Zeppelins as effectively – however the feeling of this pure sculpture. It’s above every part else, which is what the motive force ought to really feel. We mentioned it: This automotive wants some aloofness.”

Cape City is working out of water due to the worst drought on document. “Let’s save water whereas we nonetheless have water to avoid wasting,” the South African Airways pilot mentioned as we landed. The town was pulling collectively to preserve. A unclean automotive is, as one native newspaper columnist put it, a “trophy of excellent citizenry.” For sure, our spotless new A7 stood out.

From the town we drove southeast, round False Bay towards
Kleinmond on the Western Cape. The coastal highway, the R44, is spectacular. Because it hugs the hillside, it serves up curves and ocean vistas to rival California’s well-known Route 1.

Our check automotive’s optionally available air suspension did job taking the sting off ruts and manhole covers and a few fairly vicious velocity bumps. The turbocharged 3.0-litre V-6 is mated to a 48-volt mild-hybrid system mentioned to enhance gasoline economic system by as a lot as 0.7 litres per 100 kilometres. It powers a stop-start system and harvests power from braking, feeding it to a lithium-ion battery below the trunk. The motor supplies 340 horsepower, which propels the A7 from 0 to 100 kilometres an hour in 5.3 seconds. A little bit extra drama can be good, although – particularly in a automotive that appears so dramatic. However Audi stresses that the A7 is supposed to be a grand tourer.

The inevitable, sportier S and RS fashions will undoubtedly add the drama – for a worth.

In consolation mode, there was a barely imprecise softness to the controls, which suited a relaxed tempo. A brand new seven-speed dual-clutch automated transmission replaces an eight-speed standard automated. Step on the throttle and the gearbox modifications down three gears in a break up second earlier than hauling forward. Dynamic mode did away with the softness, holding gears longer and offering much less down-shifting-induced delay.

Efficiency and dealing with come second to the A7’s
raison d’être: model. Technically, it is largely the identical because the next-generation A6 sedan, Audi engineers confirmed. The principle purpose anybody would spend extra for the fastback A7 is its rakish beauty. It is completely acceptable to be shallow on the subject of vehicles.

The stylishness extends to the inside. The brand new cabin is the most effective factor about this automotive and by far the largest enchancment over its predecessor. Many of the know-how, together with the dual-touchscreen centre console, has trickled down from the A8. The black panels mix neatly into the structure and do not feel like an afterthought as they do in most vehicles. There’s loads of display screen actual property right here: three huge shows in case you go for the “digital cockpit” instrument panel. It may be distracting at occasions with so many features and choices at your fingertips, however the reality it would not really feel such as you’re sitting at a
Bloomberg terminal is a minor triumph.

The brand new cabin is the most effective factor about Audi A7 Sportback 2019 – and by far the largest enchancment over its venerable predecessor.

The roof is a tad increased and the wheelbase is 15 millimetres longer, which supplies rear passengers with additional head and legroom, thereby addressing the principle criticism house owners had of the previous automotive,
Koglin defined. After all, the brand new A6 will seemingly present much more inside area, however the A7 has at all times fortunately made sacrifices within the identify of model.

The four-door coupe is a comparatively latest automotive invention. Audi did not create this
subgenre of glossy fastback sedans; Mercedes did with the CLS, first proven in 2004. However Audi perfected it with the A7. Greater than 250,000 had been offered, making it – in line with Audi’s figures – essentially the most profitable automotive in its section.

Immediately, you may discover a four-door coupe in virtually each auto maker’s showroom. They mix many of the practicality of a standard four-door sedan with many of the stylishness of a two-door coupe. Lots of them have hatchback trunks, that are helpful for strollers and IKEA flat packs.

Different examples embody the
Kia Stinger, Porsche Panamera, BMW 4 Collection Gran Coupe, Jaguar XJ, Aston Martin Rapide and Volkswagen Arteon. Even SUVs are adopting this fastback form. Take a look at the Mercedes GLC and GLE Coupes and the BMW X6, X4 and X2.

The brand new A7 appears like an evolution of the unique. The wheels are larger. The LED headlights are extra intricate. The grille is wider. The wheel arches are extra pronounced. The trailing fringe of the trunk has been raised 30 millimetres to provide the machine a extra aggressive, nose-down stance, but in addition to cover the upper
roofline. There are extra creases on all surfaces of the sheet steel. And it appears, maybe, busier.

The brand new A7’s headlights are extra intricate than these of the unique.

The brand new A7 is a sufferer of its predecessor’s success. It was at all times going to be unattainable to recreate the wow issue of the unique design. You had the sensation you had been taking a look at one thing new and futuristic and possibly even cool. That the A7’s silhouette has develop into ubiquitous is an indication that imitation is the sincerest type of flattery, however it means the wow issue has worn off a little bit, not only for the A7 however for all four-door coupes. That may very well be an issue for a gaggle of vehicles whose major goal is model.

Or it may imply that the four-door coupe is maturing as a product. Extra examples seem at auto exhibits yearly. The development exhibits no signal of slowing. In addition to, even the
iPhone X wasn’t as spectacular as the unique, however it’s unquestionably a greater product. And so it’s with the 2019 Audi A7 Sportback.

It is going to arrive in Canada this winter. Meantime, it’s on show on the Canadian Worldwide
AutoShow in Toronto, till Feb. 25.

The Audi A7 has a 3.0-litre turbocharged V-6.

Tech specs

  • Value: $80,000 (est.)
  • Engine: 3.0-litre turbocharged V-6
  • Transmissions: Seven-speed dual-clutch automated
  • Gasoline economic system: TBD
  • Drive: All-wheel drive
  • Alternate options: BMW 6 Collection Gran Coupe, 6 Collection Gran Turismo, Audi A6, Mercedes-Benz E-Class wagon

The author was a visitor of the auto maker. Content material was not topic to approval.

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