The Audi A7 Sportback Review

In Audi, Car Reviews by Neil Lyndon

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Audi’s A7 Sportback makes you wonder if the day might soon dawn when that company will build an individual car for each and every customer.

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Other manufacturers boast about their bespoke offerings; but what that usually means – from Bentley’s Mulsanne to Vauxhall’s Adam – is that the customer is given the opportunity (at a price) to specify a particular choice from a very wide range of optional extras, colour schemes and fabrics.

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Such an approach does allow the possibility that nobody else will ever have chosen exactly the same combination of materials, colours and extras but it’s stretching the meaning of the word to call it “bespoke”. The car in its essence remains the same, despite the cosmetic dickerings.


Audi goes far further. Their search for sales in niches of the car market has now become so subtle and so specifically targeted that they seem to be creating individual cars for every conceivable taste and for some you never would have imagined.
You, yourself, might turn out to be a niche in their eyes one day.

That day seems not far off. Already, today, Audi has a total of 50 models on its range and no fewer than 509 variants and derivatives, each measured with micrometers to appeal to a specific taste or demand.

As a large, five-door hatchback with a sportback rear end and coupe profile, the A7 is utterly unlike any other Audi in the range; but it is targeted at customers the same exactitude as an A3 or a Q7. Anybody who might fancy a Mercedes CLS will find themselves in Audi’s sights for the A7. That group is not so tiny: it appears to include ever professional footballer on the planet.

Based on the steel-aluminium platform of the A6 but occupying a footprint closer in size to an A8, the A7 is a crossbreed that might easily have failed to be convincingly. In fact, however, it is rather a triumphant creation in its own, peculiar, right.

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The three-litre TDI in the Quattro SE Executive S Tronic version I borrowed puts out 272 PS and rockets this very large, full five-seater up the road at gran turismo pace. Like many quattros, the steering lacks an edge of feedback (even with 19” alloy wheels) but the precision with which that system supplies torque to the most appropriate wheel/s promotes a degree of grip in corners which feels like sorcery.

The interior is closer to A8 exclusivity than mere A6 excellence. The electronically adjustable Alcantara/leather sports seats on our test car were some of the most comfortable we have ever experienced and the materials like the wood veneers throughout the cabin are at a level of luxury you might find on a private jet.

And you might be able to put down a healthy deposit on a private jet for the price of the A7 we borrowed.

The standard price for that version is £49440 but knickknacks like the sports seats (£665) and the MMI Navigation Plus system (£1175) drive up the total to a heart-stopping £56070.

If you ever doubted that bespoke tailoring is not for hoi-polloi, the A7 makes the truth abundantly and painfully clear.

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The Audi A7 Sportback Review – 3.0 TDI quattro SE Executive 272 PS S tronic

Price as tested: £56,070

Engine: 2967cc 6-cyl diesel
Power: 272PS / 3500rpm
Torque: 580Nm / 1500rpm
Transmission: 7-speed S Tronic automatic, quattro four-wheel-drive
0-62mph: 5.7 seconds
Top speed: 155 mph
Fuel economy: combined 54.3 mpg
CO2 emissions: 136 g/km
Emission Class: EU6

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About the Author

Neil Lyndon


Neil Lyndon has been a journalist, broadcaster and writer on the UK's national stage for 40 years, writing for every "quality" newspaper on Fleet Street. He started writing about cars and motorbikes for The Sunday Times in the 1980s and was Motoring Correspondent of the Sunday Telegraph for 20 years, having previously written a column on motorbikes for Esquire. He is also recognised as a leading commentator on gender politics, having published No More Sex War in 1992 - the first ever critique of feminism from a radical, egalitarian point of view.

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