The Audi A7 Sportback
Aesthetic and athletic, emotion-packed design, sporty character and innovative technology: Audi is entering a new market segment with the A7 Sportback. The large five-door model with the dynamically flowing rear end brings together the best of three vehicle concepts: the sporty elegance of a coupe, the comfort of a sedan and the practicality of a station wagon.
The A7 Sportback features the entire, wide-ranging technological expertise of the Audi brand. Its body is very lightweight thanks to numerous aluminum components. The elegant interior shows a craftsman’s level of workmanship. The assistance, infotainment and safety systems come from the luxury class. The four V6 engines combine refined power with groundbreaking efficiency. The 3.0 TDI with 150 kW (204 hp) and multitronic has CO2 emissions of just 139 grams per kilometer (223.70 g/mile). The sporty chassis offers attractive new solutions, such as electromechanical power steering.
In early 2009, Audi gave a preview of the A7 Sportback at the North American International Automobile Show in Detroit with the Audi Sportback concept show car. The differences between it and the production model were slight, lying primarily in the headlights, the single-frame grille, the air inlets, the exterior mirrors and the rear end. Many details in the interior of the A7 Sportback are reminiscent of the Detroit concept car. Audi frequently has show cars go into production nearly unchanged. This practice expresses one of the brand’s particular strengths, demonstrating how deeply the Board of Management and all areas of the company support the creative ideas of the designers.
The Audi A7 Sportback is a moving sculpture – a large, five-door coupe with a sporty body and harmonious proportions, a long engine hood, a long wheelbase and short overhangs. It marks the next step in the evolution of the design language of Audi, the leading brand for automotive design. The latest large Audi model is 4.97 meters (16.31 ft) long and has a wheelbase of 2.91 meters (9.55 ft). 1.91 meters (6.27 ft) wide, it is only 1.42 meters (4.66 ft) tall.
The A7 Sportback radiates a powerful attraction and presence. With its low, dynamically accentuated roof line and its balanced proportions, it looks like a coupe. The rear doors are subtly integrated into the silhouette. The design is consistent and presents the aesthetics of modern technology in every detail – in the precisely drawn lines, the athletic tautness of the surfaces, but also with the components in the engine compartment, the wheels and brakes, or the tailpipes of the exhaust system.
The large, flat single-frame grille is angled at the top and tightly integrated into the sculptured front end. The slats of the grille are painted high-gloss black; the chrome applications emphasize their quality. Its horizontal posture underscores the width of the A7 Sportback, as does the design of the wide and low air inlets with two horizontal struts.
The athletic play of the surfaces and lines characterizes the side view of the Audi A7 Sportback. The roof arch is a flat dome; the C-pillar stretches endlessly to the rear and flows into the shoulder of the body. Integrated into the pillar is a third side window with an upward pointing tip – a small homage to the Audi 100 Coupé S from 1969. The ratio of sheet metal to greenhouse is two-thirds to one-third – that, too, is typical for Audi.
Viewed from the side, the most important design element of the A7 Sportback is the sharp tornado line. It stretches across the entire flank and defines the proportions, giving the body the powerful shoulders of a high-performance swimmer. The tornado line starts at the headlights and extends along the fenders, the doors and the rear side walls as it gently slopes toward the tail lights. Above the side sills is the dynamic line, which runs slightly upward before turning sharply and almost vertically upward at the rear.
The tautly drawn wheel wells filled with wheels between 18 and 20 inches in diameter underscore the powerful, sinewy character of the A7 Sportback. As with a sports car, the exterior mirrors with the integrated LED turn signals are mounted on the doors.
Window capping strips in anodized aluminum and black bezels for the B-pillars subtly accentuate the greenhouse.
The elegant line ends in a sharply dropping rear end that forms a distinctive spoiler lip – another sports car feature. The sculptured rear end makes it seem like the A7 Sportback is in motion even when at rest. The long luggage compartment hatch has a subtle spoiler at its lower end that extends electrically at 130 km/h (80.78 mph) and retracts again at 80 km/h (49.71 mph). The diffuser insert is painted in the body color and frames the two large, round tailpipes of the dual-branch exhaust system, which sport elegant chrome applications. This solution also underscores the width of the Audi A7 Sportback.
As always with Audi, all surfaces at the rear of the car are vividly modeled; the tips of the divided tail lights point inwards. With the exception of the reversing light, the lights are realized entirely with LED technology as a standard feature. Their light pattern appears three-dimensional. The tail lights form a homogenous band that forms a broad, U-shaped arc.
The brake lights, which are in the form of a helix, are located inside the arc, with the turn signal extending as a straight line at the upper edge. The third brake light is a delicate LED strip that extends over the entire width of the rear hatch.
Customers seeking even more visual dynamics will find them in the S line exterior package. With this package, the bumpers, the grilles of the air inlets, the side sills and the diffuser insert are more pronounced. The diffuser and the center edge of the front spoiler are painted Platinum Gray; the fenders and the door sills sport S line badges.
Audi offers a choice of eleven paint finishes for the A7 Sportback. The two solid colors are called Ibis White and Brilliant Black. The six metallic colors are Dakota Gray, Ice Silver, Havanna Black, Moonlight Blue, Oolong Gray and Quartz Gray. Completing the palette are the three pearl-effect finishes Phantom Black, Garnet Red and Impala Beige. Audi also offers the A7 Sportback with a customized paint finish according to the personal wishes of the customer.
Design is much more than an elegant outer skin at Audi: it is a core element of the brand. “It is important that the customer can experience the emotion and passion for the automotive sculpture. An emotional aesthetic means a successful synthesis of sense and sensuousness,” says Wolfgang Egger, Head of Design for the Audi Group. “That is an organic and living part of our brand culture.” According to Stefan Sielaff, Head of Design at AUDI AG: “Audi design is the harmony of form and function. It is the perfect interaction with technology and an expression of beauty; the aesthetic staging of highly developed technology.”
The great attention that the Audi designers pay to the smallest of details continuously poses new challenges in implementation. Audi’s aspiration for perfection can be seen in supposedly minor details: in the sharpness of the tornado line with its even, tight radii, in the harmonious tension of the surfaces, or in those particularly demanding areas where two edges come together perfectly – such as where the tornado line meets the cutout for the tail lights.
The door grooves of the A7 Sportback are another important component in its precise appearance. They run exactly parallel and are only 3.8 millimeters (0.15 in) wide. Above the tornado line, the groove between the front fender and the door is another tenth to two-tenths of a millimeter (0.004 to 0.008 in) narrower. The smaller dimension compensates for the fact that the gap is more apparent to the viewer here due to the inclination of the sheet metal.
The headlights of the Audi A7 Sportback are small, technical works of art presenting the lead that the brand enjoys in lighting technology on a brightly lit stage. The headlight’s flat design widens toward the fenders, shifting the optical focus outward. The lower edge is in the form of a wave, with the wing – a classic Audi feature – structuring the interior.
The A7 Sportback comes standard with Audi’s xenon plus technology with the new all-weather light. Integrated into the headlight, it replaces the fog lights, whose traditional location in the air intakes is now occupied by the radar sensors of the optional adaptive cruise control with stop & go function.
Available as an option is the adaptive light system, which always provides the appropriate lighting, whether driving in the city, when turning, on inter-urban roads or on the highway. It includes variable headlight range control, which uses a small camera on the interior mirror to detect the lights of communities and of other vehicles. The system adapts the vehicle’s own lights by swiveling the modules with soft transitions.
In a technological breakthrough, the control unit for the headlights works closely together with the optional MMI navigation plus. The navigation system reads the route data in advance and forwards them to the light computer, so as to activate highway lighting while still in the approach lane, for example. The system automatically switches on the cornering light before entering an intersection, and in countries like the United Kingdom, it automatically switches the headlights from driving on the right to driving on the left.
The A7 Sportback is also available with optional LED headlights – another groundbreaking innovation from Audi. With a color temperature of 5,500 Kelvin, their white light resembles daylight, which is easier on the eyes at night. The LED headlights are maintenance-free, long-lived and extremely efficient. The low beams consume just 40 watts per unit, which is even less than with the xenon plus units.
With their special structures, the LED headlights generate unmistakable graphics, day or night. Two three-chip LEDs per unit generate the low beams. They are installed in separate chambers in the upper section of the headlight. Next to them are the high beams, which likewise comprise three-chip LEDs and a free surface reflector system. The turning light, the all-weather light and the highway light round out the system.
The daytime running lights comprise 18 LEDs and appear as a homogenous strip at the lower edge of the headlight due to a plastic body in front of the LEDs. Below them are the turn signals, another continuous strip of LEDs – 11 in this case. Fans and heat sinks moderate headlight temperatures and prevent fogging. The integrated high-beam assistant switches between the low and high beams.
The five-door coupe from Audi combines supreme, long-distance comfort with a sporty character. Thanks to the sophisticated aeroacoustics and elaborate insulation, the interior noise level is very low even at fast highway speeds, with the V6 engines providing refined acoustic feedback as their power unfolds. The excellent vibrational comfort likewise contributes to the luxurious atmosphere on board. This is the result of painstakingly tuning all components, systematic hydraulic damping in the axle and drivetrain bearings and the extremely stiff body.
The body of the A7 Sportback is light, safe and strong thanks to the intelligent lightweight construction technology from Audi, which combines various materials. The steel-aluminum hybrid body weights around 15 percent less than a comparable all-steel body, placing it at the head of its class. Minus the driver, the 3.0 TDI model with 150 kW (204 hp) and multitronic weighs just 1,695 kilograms (3,737 lb).
Aluminum components make up more than 20 percent of the body. The strut mounts in the front of the car are aluminum castings; the struts in the engine compartment and the crossmembers behind the front and rear bumpers are aluminum sections. All add-on parts, such as the front side walls, the engine hood, the rear hatch and the doors, but also the bulkhead and the crossmember in the luggage compartment, are made of aluminum panels.
High-end steels of various strength classes also play an important role. The best of them are the hot-shaped steels, which get their extreme tensile strength from a dramatic temperature increase during the shaping process. These steels are used in some areas of the passenger cell and at its transition to the front end of the car.
Audi also uses tailored blanks in many areas. These are panels of various thicknesses that are thicker and stronger in areas subjected to higher loads.
Thanks to painstaking aerodynamic fine-tuning, including on the lined underbody and with the flow of air through the engine compartment, the base version of the Audi A7 Sportback achieves a cD value of 0.28. It has a front surface area of 2.29 square meters (24.65 sq ft). The large rear hatch is lined with high-quality carpeting, is easy to load and offers excellent functionality. Its 535-liter (18.89 cu ft) capacity swells to a volume of 1,390 liters (49.09 cu ft) with the split rear seatbacks folded down. The long rear hatch opens widely and comes standard with an electric drive.
Air and light, sleek shapes and bright colors: the interior of the A7 Sportback is an emotional space full of lightness and expanse. Its lines take up the powerful, sinewy sportiness of the exterior. The frame of the door opener, for instance, invokes the shape of the rear side window.
The salient element of the cockpit is the “wrap-around” – a horizontal line encircling the driver and the front-seat passenger. The arc extends from the driver’s side across the instrument panel to the passenger’s door. The instrument panel has a wave-shaped application strip and generates significant tension.
The utmost care has been devoted to every last detail in the interior. Workmanship is on a craftsman’s level. The rotary controls shine in an aluminum-look material. Both the shift gate and the start-stop button feature subtle red backlighting. The optional ambient lighting accents the interior with tiny highlights. Audi offers a wide range of upholsteries, including a leather package, to upgrade the entire interior. The inlays are available in a choice of two aluminum variants and two types of wood. A veneer of layers of light and dark oak – another innovative feature – will be available later.
The front seats of the Audi A7 Sportback are mounted sportily low. They are optionally available with sophisticated adjustment, air conditioning and message functions – ten air chambers and five different programs are a treat for the back. Sport seats with pronounced side bolsters are available as an option for dynamic customers. In the back of the A7 Sportback are two comfortable individual seats. Thanks to the long wheelbase, even large passengers will find plenty of space and enough headroom. Access is comfortable.
The A7 Sportback offers a new level of technical intelligence with logical, intuitive ergonomics and self-explanatory operation. The further enhanced MMI operating system with its central menu button and reduced number of buttons is standard. The control terminal is located on the wide center tunnel.
The electromechanical parking brake leaves a lot of room for a comfortable, continuously height-and-pitch-adjustable center armrest, a telephone and a large storage compartment. The central on-board monitor with its high-gloss black frame extends electronically from the instrument panel when the system is started.
The driver information system, located on the display between the large dial instruments, is controlled via the multifunction steering wheel. Four different versions are available. The standard on-board computer with efficiency program provides tips for fuel-efficient shifting. Among the options available for the Audi A7 Sportback is a newly developed head-up display, which projects the most important information onto the windshield. It appears to float at a distance of 2.5 meters (8.20 ft) and can be ideally read.
Audi will initially offer the A7 Sportback with a choice of four powerful and cultivated V6 engines: two gasoline and two TDI units. Their power output ranges from 150 kW (204 hp) to 220 kW (300 hp), and all of the engines feature direct fuel injection. The powerful 3.0 TFSI uses a mechanical supercharger for forced induction, the two TDI diesel units use a turbocharger.
In the normally aspirated 2.8 FSI, the Audi valvelift system adjusts the lift of the intake valves in two stages depending on need. This allows the throttle valve to remain fully open most of the time, increasing torque and lowering fuel consumption.
The efficiency of the A7 Sportback sets impressive new standards in the vehicle class. The new 3.0 TDI with 150 kW (204 hp) with multitronic and front-wheel drive multitronic consumes on average just 5.3 liters of fuel per 100 km (44.38 US mpg) – corresponding to CO2 emissions of 139 g per km (223.70 g/mile) that no rival can match. All engines use Audi’s innovative thermal management system, a recuperation system and a start-stop system. Many aspects of the engines, particularly the internal friction, have been painstakingly optimized. The two 3.0 TDI diesel units are new developments.
2.8 FSI quattro with 150 kW (280 hp)
3.0 TFSI quattro with 220 kW (290 hp)
3.0 TDI quattro with 180 kW (240 hp)
3.0 TDI with 150 kW (170 hp)
The standard automatic transmissions also play a large role in the high efficiency of the Audi A7 Sportback. Audi offers two different types depending on the engines: the comfortable, continuously variable multitronic delivers the engine’s power to the front wheels. The sporty S tronic dual-clutch transmission is paired with quattro permanent all-wheel drive.
Both transmissions are characterized by low internal friction and high efficiency. They feature a wide spread with long gear ratios for high-speed driving. The transmissions are integrated into the engine’s thermal management system and can access the predictive route data from the navigation system. Both the multitronic and the S tronic have the differential upstream of the clutch, i.e. directly behind the engine. The front axle is correspondingly farther to the front, which allows for a long wheelbase and a harmonious distribution of axle loads.
The latest generation of quattro permanent all-wheel drive with the crown-gear center differential is used in the A7 Sportback. The new component distributes torque particularly flexibly and dynamically between the axles, and is also compact and lightweight. The integrated torque vectoring function recognizes when the inside wheels threaten to lose their grip during fast cornering. It brakes the wheel very slightly – almost imperceptibly – before this can happen, making the handling even more fluid and traction even stronger. Audi offers the sport differential, which actively distributes the power between the rear wheels, as the perfect complement to quattro drive.
The wide-tracked chassis of the elegant five-door model also combines sporty precision with luxurious comfort. The Audi A7 Sportback rolls on large wheels measuring from 18 to 20 inches in diameter shod with tires that have been optimized for low rolling resistance. Powerful brakes sit behind the wheels. The wheel control arms and many other chassis components are made of aluminum. The front suspension is a five-link construction; a track-guided trapezoidal-link suspension is used at the back.
The newly developed power steering has a very direct 15.9:1 steering ratio. Its electromechanical drive is very efficient because it does not have to draw any energy while driving straight ahead. The degree of servo boost varies as a function of driving speed. The steering works closely together with the optional Audi active lane assist system.
The Audi A7 Sportback comes standard with a comfortable steel-spring suspension, with two sport suspensions available as options. Audi also offers an optional air suspension with four electronically controlled shock absorbers. The adaptive air suspension has been redesigned, with struts up front and separate air springs and dampers in the back. The system sets the ride height of the body to one of three different levels. It lowers the body on the highway for improved stability and lower fuel consumption.
Another high-end feature is the driving dynamics system Audi drive select. The standard version incorporates the automatic transmission, the electromechanical power steering and the engine control unit. The driver can vary the function of these components in four stages. Additional modules can also be integrated, including the adaptive air suspension, quattro with sport differential and adaptive light. Dynamic steering, which changes its ratio as a function of demand, will follow later.
Equipment and trim
The Audi A7 Sportback offers a wide range of innovative assistance, safety and infotainment systems. All of the systems are at the leading edge of technology. Audi offers a choice of four high-end music solutions, including a DVD changer, a digital radio tuner, the Audi music interface for the easy integration of a mobile player, and a TV module. The top sound system is the Advanced Sound System from Bang & Olufsen, which ups the ante with 1,300 watts of power. Its 15 speakers, which include two acoustic lenses that extend from the instrument panel when the system is switched on, have elegant aluminum housings.
The online services connect the five-door coupe to the Internet via the optional Bluetooth car phone online. Audi has partnered with the online services provider Google. A UMTS module delivers news and current information from the Internet to the A7 Sportback. It also puts images and information from Google Earth up on the monitor and combines them with the navigation route. A WLAN hotspot provides the connection to the mobile devices on board the vehicle. The driver can use all of these services with his or her existing cellular phone contract.
In addition to the standard MMI radio, Audi offers three optional systems: MMI radio plus, MMI navigation and MMI navigation plus. The top version includes, among other things, a 3D graphics chip, a high-resolution 8-inch monitor, a large hard drive, convenient voice control and a Bluetooth interface.
The most attractive feature of MMI navigation plus, however, is the groundbreaking touchpad – MMI touch. The driver can use the touchpad to perform numerous functions conveniently and intuitively, such as using his or her finger to write the letters of the destination or the digits of the telephone number. The system acknowledges each input with acoustic feedback so that the driver’s eyes can stay on the road. MMI touch also recognizes the characters of Asian languages.
MMI navigation plus works closely together with the optional driver assistance and safety systems in the A7 Sportback. It forwards the route data to the control units for the headlights, the automatic transmission and the adaptive cruise control with stop & go function. This enables these systems to recognize complex scenarios and predictively support the driver.
The Audi pre sense safety system, which is available in a number of different versions, can in many cases mitigate accidents and their consequences by warning the driver and autonomously braking the car with increasing intensity in the event of an emergency. It also closes the windows and sunroof, tensions the seat belts and moves the power seats into a more favorable position.
The driver assistance systems in the Audi A7 Sportback are tightly networked via an advanced and fast data bus system. The new Audi active lane assist helps the driver to keep the A7 Sportback firmly on course. The system uses a camera that detects the lines on the road. It intervenes gently in the steering, if necessary. The new parking system takes over steering from the driver when parallel parking or parking perpendicular to the road. Audi side assist makes lane changes safer by using radar to monitor the area behind the five-door coupe.
The speed limit display detects important traffic signs and shows them as graphics on the DIS display or on the optional head-up display. The night vision assistant works with a thermal imaging camera and highlights persons that it detects in front of the vehicle. It projects its black and white images onto the DIS display. If it detects a potentially hazardous situation, it marks the person red and optionally displays a warning symbol.
The adaptive cruise control with stop & go function (ACC) is the latest embodiment of a radar-based distance control system that accelerates and slows the A7 Sportback automatically within certain limits. The system uses the data from four radar sensors, a video camera and the ultrasonic sensors, incorporates navigation data and analyzes a multitude of additional signals. It is active through a range of speeds, from automatically controlled rolling in stop & go traffic to a top speed of 250 km/h (155.34 mph). The driver can adjust the function of the ACC stop & go in three stages.
Audi is launching the A7 Sportback with an opulent array of standard features. A selection includes the highly efficient deluxe air conditioning system, the engine start-stop button, the xenon plus headlights, the LED tail lights, the MMI radio with the 6.5-inch monitor, the electromechanical parking brake, the power rear hatch, the 18-inch alloy wheels and an acoustic windshield. The safety package leaves nothing to be desired, with two front, side and head airbags, four belt tensioners and the integral Audi head restraint system.
A wide range of optional equipment is available for even greater comfort, sportiness and composure. In addition to the features and systems mentioned above, there is also a four-zone automatic air conditioning system, an auxiliary heating system, insulating/acoustic glazing, a heated steering wheel rim, a power-adjustable steering column, sunblinds for the rear window, two ambient lighting packages, power-assisted closing for the doors and the convenience key for keyless vehicle access.
Audi has prepared a large number of special features for those who obviously appreciate the exceptional: a leather package, fine inlays, black window styling and an S line sport package that drapes the interior in black. It is combined with a taut sport suspension, 19-inch wheels, sport seats and a special leather steering wheel. A complementary S line exterior package is available as an option. A number of additional suggestions are included in the Audi exclusive program.
Delivery of the Audi A7 Sportback is scheduled to begin this fall at a base price of €51,650