The Sunday Times Driving Placeholder
So much better-looking than a BMW 5-series GT but still impressively practical, provided you plump for the five-seater one
Pros
Good-looking
Fabulous interior
Great road manners
Cons
CVT auto-box of lower-power versions
Compromised rear headroom
It's rather expensive

Audi A7 Sportback review (2010-on)

This fine-looking coupe has an upmarket image, a gorgeous interior and fine driving manners

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What is the Audi A7?

Look at the Audi A7 Sportback as an upmarket A6 with a shade more practicality, or a sleeker, sportier-looking A8 that’s better value.

Launched to British buyers at the end of 2010, the A7 Sportback shares its underpinnings with the A6 so in pure size terms it’s more A6 than A8. It does, though, close in on the flagship A8 L in terms of engine line-up and standard equipment. All A7s come with sat nav, leather, keyless ignition, 18in alloys, LED rear lights and day running lights at the front. Pay about £2,500 more and a used SE adds a driver information screen, cruise control and powered and heated front seats.

With the S-line, you’ll pay about £1,500 more and gain terrific-looking 19in alloys, sport suspension, sport seats and a rather fetching anthracite headlining.

Audi has built a reputation for the highest-quality interior in the business and the A7 Sportback is no exception. A step up from the A4, A5 or A6 the A7 feels special, nibbling at the heels of the A8 in terms of that feel-good factor. More importantly, this is also a supremely comfortable car to spend time in.

Having said that, the A7’s coupé styling does mean rear headroom is less good than in a regular saloon, but it’s not as bad as you might imagine and certainly not an issue for children. And the Sportback has that hatchback versatility and a simply massive boot — with the rear seats in place, a mammoth 535 litres is on offer. That expands to nearly 1400 litres if the seats are folded down.

Another aspect of the A7 Sportback to watch out for is the fact that when it was new, buyers could specify two or three rear seats. Those A7s with just two rear seats are significantly less desirable because of the obvious impact on practicality. With that in mind, expect to pay about £2,500 less for a two-seat version of the Sportback.

 

You’ll never be short of performance in an A7, with the least powerful 2.8-litre V6 petrol engine developing a useful 201bhp. Likewise, there’s a 3.0-litre TDI diesel with a choice of 201bhp or 242bhp. At the very top of the range is the stunningly swift S7 414bhp 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8. Only automatic transmissions are available, with front-wheel-drive cars using Audi’s Multitronic CVT, all the petrols including S7 have the seven-speed dual clutch S tronic. All work well but for us the Multitronic CVT lacks the refinement you’d expect in such a prestige car. Beautifully made, practical and powerful, the Audi A7 Sportback is a hugely appealing package — if you think you need an estate car but really wanted a saloon, the A7 is well worth a look.

 

What to look out for

A7 owners seem content with their lot with only a very small number of complaints about minor gremlins with the sat nav system. Look out for alloy wheel damage, though, especially if they are the bigger 19in versions. Previous Audi models have suffered reliability issues with their Multitronic CVT, so that’s worth keeping an eye on. There are currently no recalls outstanding on the A7.

 

The one to buy

Audi A7 3.0 TDI quattro S-line S tronic

Specifications

Engine:
2976cc, V6, 24-valve diesel
Power:
201bhp @ 3200rpm
Torque:
332 lb ft @ 1250pm
Transmission:
7-speed, Tiptronic
Acceleration:
0-62mph in 5.3sec
Top Speed:
155mph
Fuel
44.1mpg
CO2:
169g/km
Road Tax Band:
H
Dimensions:
L 4969mm, W 1911mm, H 1420mm

Audi A7 rivals