Audi A7 Sportback 2.0 TFSI S-Tronic: Seventh Heaven

When Audi’s concept of a sportback was introduced back in the late 2000s, it didn’t particularly appeal to the masses. Local drivers were more accustomed to the traditional sedan or MPVs. Wagons,  or even coupe-sedan crossovers, were a more popular choice overseas.

With that in mind, we found it rather remarkable that the new Sportback design gained traction here rather fast, and grew to the liking of those who needed a car with a sleeker look and a bigger boot space. After all, an MPV is too huge for comfort for some out there.

To this point, the success of the Sportback range is reflected in this facelifted Audi A7 Sportback we tried a while back. It marries luxury and practicality, and delivers more amazingly than that of any MPV or SUV.

Exterior

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Many would agree that the designs of continental brands tend to be a little more reserved and minimal compared to their bold and dashing Japanese or Korean counterparts.

We thought that Audi, in this aspect, takes a leap ahead of the rest in its class in terms of aesthetics. The German marque tends to boast more sleek, modern, and eye-catching designs compared to both the Merc and the Bimmer.

The A7 is especially aesthetically pleasing, if we dare say. From the front grilles to the contours defining the rear, this Sportback reflects the German’s way of precise engineering and detailed measurement and planning.

Up front, you enjoy Audi’s latest Matrix LED technology headlights, ensuring that you don’t blind your front vehicle but at the same time, lighting up even the darkest of roads. The front radiator grille doesn’t look too huge, even though it spans across the entire height of the facade.

Compared to its sedan brother, the A7 Sportback’s roofline tapers off smoothly and seamlessly, culminating at the rear spoiler. At the rear, this facelifted A7 boasts a new set of bumpers, tailpipes, as well as a new set of LED taillights for added visibility (and sleekness).

Interior

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Compared to the pre-facelift variant, this new A7 retains many of its predecessors features and designs. Things you’d find different will include the new gear level as well as an improved MMI interface system with an enhanced graphics processor.

Our test car came fitted with the Beufort Oak trimmings, an added enhancement replacing the original fine grain ash natural brown inlay that comes standard on your A7 Sportback. At just over $1,000 extra, we thought that it was a good touch to have in making your A7 feel that little bit more contemporary.

Of course, Sportbacks are well-known for the amount of space they offer. At the rear, you’ll find a whopping 535 litres of boot space, more than sufficient for two golf bags combined. The Sportback’s wider boot aperture allows you to fit more cumbersome baggage such as bicycles and odd-shaped equipment without a hassle.

Oh and did we mention, Audi’s hands free boot release also means we don’t have to put down our barang-barangs before opening the boot lid anymore!

The Drive

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So while the aesthetics and main design may stay mostly the same between this new facelift and its predecessor, what we felt was amazing was underneath the hood. This 1,984 cc turbocharged plant powers up the A7 Sportback to the century mark in just 6.9 seconds, which was indeed remarkable for an engine this capacity and a car this size!

Coupled with Audi’s seamless S-tronic seven speed tranny, the A7 Sportback offers you the luxury of 252 horses and 370 Nm of torque, sufficient for a smooth head start from the lights if you are in that rush for time.

But once you have settled into the car, you’ll realise that cruising in the A7 Sportback indeed feels much more comfortable than expected. Road noise is virtually non-existent, thanks to the double glazing front windows and windscreen – the car just glides over minor bumps and humps with extreme ease.

If you’re the kind who loves that little bit of challenge, Audi’s Drive Select System offers you a variety of performance modes to select from. Ranging from the environmentally friendly Efficiency mode to the more aggressive Dynamic settings, we were offered numerous choices to suit our comfort level at any time during our test drive.

Weighing in at more than 1,700 kg, you have to admit that this car doesn’t look its size nor weight. Yes, it sits four comfortably at the rear even with the presence of the transmission tunnel, and it measures a lengthy 4.97 metres, but the handling of this car, even at the roughest of bends, proved to be much more of a breeze than expected.

Conclusion

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While Merc and BMW have their own unique selling point each, Audi’s point lies in the sheer fact that it looks extremely attractive, and provides you a reasonably good driving experience. It may not be able to compete with its Bavarian competitor in terms of handling and agility, nor would it be able to match up to the three-pointed star’s luxury, but it provides a hybrid mix of luxury, performance, and pure sleek looks.

And that, we dare say, makes the A7 Sportback stand out amongst all in its class.

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We like:

Sheer sleek looks and the level of technology present inside the car.

We don’t like: 

Audi’s steering still feels a little too light for comfort.

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