2015 Audi A7

Fresher outlook

"The Audi A7 four door coupe offers a superb balance of stylishness and relaxed adaptability"

"The 2015 A7 is a highly anticipated luxury vehicle" said Issam

"A dynamic and rationally efficient powertrain"

"The A7 is the first Audi to run brand new Nvidia hardware for its Audi Connect system"

Some people are still confused and don't get the A7 segment. It is neither an A5 nor an A6, and yet the 4 door is coupe-looking. People like it or they don't; however, the A7 is fetching no matter how you slice it. Upon a weekend spent in Dubai, I had the chance to lay my hands on the 2015 PI (Product Improvement) A7.

Back when the A7 debuted in 2010, Audi was already setting new standards in automotive design, embracing an athletic aesthetic and elegance in grand style. Its long engine hood, sporty, flowing C-pillars and the sharply dropping rear end create a dynamic overall impression. The revised version of the five door model, measuring 4.97 meters in length, now has additional striking, sporty features.

What's new?

Exterior
The most striking changes are to the single frame grille, bumpers, tailpipes and headlights. LED technology is now standard. Upon request, Audi can supply Matrix LED headlights, which light the road optimally without dazzling other road users. Combined with the Matrix LED headlights, dynamic turn signals are also installed at the front; they come standard at the rear.

Interior
The new interior materials, including the aluminum/Beaufort walnut inlay and Valcona leather, are impressive for their finish. The color palette has been redesigned, offering five color options even for the seats.

The new Audi A7 Sportback is confident and relaxing to drive. The front seats can be optionally equipped with ventilation and massage functions, and there are four seat versions to choose from. The MMI radio operating system comes standard. It can be optionally supplemented with a head-up display that projects all important information onto the windshield.

Infotainment 
The new Audi A7 Sportback leads the competition in terms of infotainment. The top system, MMI navigation plus with MMI touch, boasts the latest generation of the modular infotainment system; its highlight is a powerful graphics processor from Audi's partner, Nvidia. Touchpad controls let the driver scroll and zoom in lists and maps.

The perfect supplement to MMI navigation plus is Audi connect, which links the five door coupe with the internet via the LTE high speed data transmission standard. The Audi phone box links smartphones to the vehicle's antenna for improved reception. The top of the hi-fi line is the Bang & Olufsen advanced sound system.

The assistance systems – including adaptive cruise control with stop & go function, the further improved night vision assistant and the Audi pre sense safety system – are also state-of-the-art. Audi side assist and Audi active lane assist work closely together to make lane changes even safer.

Drivetrain
Audi is offering the new A7 with a choice of three powerful and highly efficient engines: two TFSI and one FSI engines. Their power rating ranges from 220 hp to 333 hp. The top of the range engine is the 4.0 TFSI, available in the Audi S7 and Audi RS 7, delivering 450 hp and 560 hp respectively and using innovative COD (cylinder on demand) technology.

The engine configurations have a seven speed S tronic transmission; the RS 7 is equipped with the eight speed tiptronic transmission. In the version with front wheel drive, the dual clutch transmission has been fully redeveloped. In engine configurations starting at 333 hp, quattro permanent all wheel drive can be supplemented with the sport differential (standard on RS 7), which actively distributes power between the rear wheels.

The chassis combines sporty precision with high comfort. The new Audi A7 features wheels with diameters ranging from 18 to 21 inches. The power steering system features an electromechanical drive for high efficiency.

The A7 offers an extensive range of standard options: electric sunroof, keyless entry & go, parking sensors with rear view camera and individual contour seats with Valcona leather, to just mention some of them. Options include, for example, dynamic steering (standard on RS 7), two sport suspension versions and adaptive air suspension (standard on S7 and RS 7).

Driving Impressions
How does it drive? The Audi A7 has strong acceleration and can pass slow-moving traffic in what seems like a blink of an eye. I personally do like it! It delivers one of the most stimulating driving experiences on the road. With high amount of torque the V6 blasts away from stoplights and flies into the large highway of Sheikh Zayed in Dubai. With the quick automatic transmission it adds to the car a sensitive oddity. With Audi's drive select feature, I customized my driving experience from A to Z. From throttle response, to transmission shift characteristics and steering effort based on four different modes: Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and Individual. The A7's handling is satisfying, as this luxury vehicle has an agile, sporty feel despite its heavy weight.

Verdict
With the new headlights, the facelifted Audi A7 has sufficient new technology and detail efficiency enhancements to keep it competitive against the Mercedes-Benz CLS as a large sedan alternative. The Audi A7, Audi S7 and Audi RS7 are now available in the Middle East. Starting price is $65,607.

Pros: power upgrades on the whole engine lineup, looks better with revised exterior features and tech
Cons: tough competition in the segment
Rivals: BMW 6-Series Gran Coupe, Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class
One word: indulgence

3.5 stars

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