In The Cabin
The A7 Sportback is designed to offer something more versatile than the executive saloon or the luxury class, but with similar levels of quality and refinement. At almost five metres long it's no surprise that there is an impressive amount of interior space, especially for those in the back who get to enjoy the acres of legroom and good head space. Getting three across the back is difficult though due to the high transmission tunnel which means there's precious little room for your feet if you're perched in the middle.
It's very practical though and as the name suggest, the A7 Sportback has five doors - one being the hatchback tailgate which immediately helps differentiate it from the normal saloons in Audi's line-up. It also makes this Audi the perfect grand tourer with a boot that's bigger than the A8 thanks to a 535-litre capacity which can cope with several large suitcases and still have room to spare. The rear seats can also be folded down so you can carry the odd bit of furniture or a bicycle plus an electrically opening and closing tailgate comes as standard which is useful when you've got armfuls of shopping.
From behind the wheel there are plenty of similarities with the A8 with new controls and a fresh layout. The quality of the finish is really incredible with almost craftsman's levels of attention to detail. Every switch and button is solid and perfectly fitted, making the interior feel every inch the high-end luxury vehicle the A7 Sportback. There's a range of finishes available including a lovely veneer of layered oak which wouldn't look out of place on a luxury yacht. It really is one of the best interiors designs around.
Like the A8, the interior of the A7 Sportback isn't cluttered by buttons which helps the modern appearance. Instead systems such as the stereo, Bluetooth and satellite navigation are controlled via what Audi calls its MMI system (or Multi Media Interface). This features a dial (situated in front of the gear lever) for scrolling through the various functions and a large colour screen that neatly slides out of the dash top. It's very intuitive to use and although the sheer number of functions can seem daunting at first, it only takes a short time to familiarise yourself with it. The standard leather seats are perfectly placed to provide a great driving position and they're incredibly comfortable yet supportive. Both front seats are electrically adjustable and heated too.
New innovations include an optional head-up display similar to the system BMW introduced a few years ago and is available on the latest 5 Series among others. This projects key data (such as fuel economy and speed) onto the windscreen so that it cleverly appears as if it's floating around 2.5 metres ahead of the driver. There are also LED lights for the headlights and rear light clusters.
Among the more indulgent options available are comfort seats with heating, cooling and massaging functions, acoustic glazing, supple leather trimming for the centre console, a 15-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system with 1300 watts of power, TV reception and various connectivity upgrades for the MMI system. However, perhaps the most impressive option is the park assist system. This is much more than simply parking sensors and a camera, it will actually take over the steering for you and manouevre the car into a parallel space or one at 90 degress, like in a supermarket car park, so all you have to do is worry about the accelerator and brake.
Standard equipment from launch (January 2011):
SE has 18-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights with daytime running lights, an electrically operated tailgate, the Audi Drive Select system, Bluetooth, DVD navigation, DAB digital radio, Milano leather upholstery, Audi Parking System Plus, music interface, electrically adjustable heated front seats, cruise control, electric windows, two-zone climate control, four-spoke multifunction steering wheel and a front centre armrest.
S line adds 19-inch alloys, S line body styling, sports seats in valcona leather, S line interior styling, inlays in brushed Aluminium, black cloth headlining, a three-spoke multifunction steering wheel and lowered sports suspension.
There are 11 paint finishes available for the A7 Sportback. The two solid colours are called Ibis White and Brilliant Black. The six metallic colours are Dakota Gray, Ice Silver, Havana Black, Moonlight Blue, Oolong Gray and Quartz Gray. Completing the palette are the three pearl-effect finishes - Phantom Black, Garnet Red and Impala Beige.