What's the used Audi A7 hatchback like?
The market for rakish, two-door coupés is on life support at the moment. Even our favourite coupé, the Audi TT, could morph into a four-door coupé. But that remains to be seen, and right now you could buy yourself a used example of a stylish four-door Audi coupé in the form of the A7 – a car packed with all the latest tech and lots of practicality that can be had for the price of a brand new TT.
There are two petrol and three diesel options, available in either turbocharged 2.0-litre or 3.0-litre forms. The 2.0-litre models are available with or without quattro four-wheel drive and get a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, while the 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel gets an eight-speed torque converter and quattro as standard. Mild-hybrid technology that helps to save fuel is reserved for the 55 TFSI petrol and 50 TDI diesel.
Don’t expect engaging driving dynamics, because the A7 has been set up to provide safe and predictable handling above all else. Four-wheel drive models have plenty of traction in even the trickiest of weather conditions, plus there is enough grip for the A7 to hang onto the apex of a corner with little deviation. However, you do feel removed from the process of piloting the A7 and this may upset keen drivers.
Also, you end up having to put your foot down more in the A7 than you’d expect in order to get the car to accelerate quickly enough to make a particular gap to merge into traffic. This is because both the seven and eight-speed autos are reluctant to kick down, and the accelerator response of all models has been dulled in order to improve fuel economy and emissions levels. This can be improved if you put the engine in dynamic mode and the gearbox into its sport setting, but even then it still can’t beat the responsiveness of the Mercedes CLS.
Happily, the A7 can trounce the CLS for practicality. The Audi has a massive boot and a much more useful hatchback opening to get larger items in, particularly useful if you need to put a child’s pushchair in there. The rear seats can be made fold down in a 40/20/40 split, increasing versatility further.
Passenger accommodation is only an issue if you happen to be over six-foot tall and you’re sitting in the back, but on the whole, there’s lots of leg and shoulder room for all. Oddments storage has been well thought out; you get deep door pockets, a large centre console and cupholders for all. The interior is also beautifully assembled and adorned with sumptuous finishes throughout.
However, while it may look like a tech-lovers paradise, with conventional buttons swept away in favour of a twin touchscreen set-up, this space-age dashboard isn't the most intuitive in use. The topmost screen deals with infotainment, sat-nav and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring; the lower display operates the climate control, heated seats and other minor functions. Unfortunately, you have to look away from the road in order to touch the control icons on either screen, and this can be distracting while driving. The interior of the previous generation A7 was far easier to use.
The old A7 certainly didn’t come with as much equipment as the latest version, though. Sport is the entry-level model and comes with a virtual cockpit digital display, LED head and rear lights, leather seats, 19in alloy wheels, front and rear parking sensors plus a reversing camera. S line is a little bit sportier with alcantara trim, bigger 20in alloys, sports suspension and matrix LED headlights, while Black edition replaces all chrome exterior details with black alternatives. Top-of-the-range Vorsprung A7s have 21in wheels, adaptive air suspension with four-wheel steering plus an uprated Bang and Olufsen stereo.
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