THE latest A7Sportbacklaunched earlier this year is without question the best looking car in the Audi range.
Sometimes it is hard to distinguish one Audi from another but the A7 is a real looker which offers all the benefits of a large saloon with the looks of a streamlined coupe.
The luxury end of the market may currently be dominated bySUVsbut the A7Sportbackprovides an alternative for those who want to stand out from the crowd.
Based on its sibling A8 Saloon theSportbackis designed to compete against the likes of the MercedesCLS, PorschePanameraand the BMW 6 Grand Coupe.
Its stylish looks are great from any angle and its sculpted bonnet, fluid lines and dramatic lights along with the traditional Audi grille combine to give it real presence. Huge alloys and rear lights that go all the way across the rump as well as a spoiler that lifts when you reach 75mph add to the appeal.
The A7 is crammed with all the latest Audi technology including a mild-hybrid system that is standard across the range.
I recently had a short spell with the 3.0-litre turbocharged diesel which offers six-cylinder smoothness plus improved economy thanks to that hybrid tech. It also boasts the quattrofour-wheel-drive system and an eight-speed automatic gearbox. A range of other petrol and diesel engines are also available.
Performance is really impressive and the 282bhp powerplant is limited to 155mph with a 0-62mph time of just 5.7 seconds.
It may be a big car but theSportbackfeels really agile and well planted thanks to the quattrosystem and improved steering. The ride is excellent and the only thing that lets it down is the auto gearbox which feels slow to respond and almost jerky at times.
TheSportbackis surprising practical with enough room for four adults to travel in real comfort even with that sloping rearroofline. The hatchback allows easy access to the large boot and up to 1,390 litres is available if you collapse the rear seats.
Audi cabins are famous for their quality and this one is no different. It is superbly built and everything is digital. Two screens dominate the centre of the fascia and an even larger 12.3-inch display features as the instrument cluster. There is also an optional head-up display and there is a distinct lack of old-fashioned buttons.
The infotainment system is superb and the equipment list is lavish and just what you would expect for a car costing this kind of money. The leather electrically adjustable seats are comfortable and heated and it is easy to find a good driving position.
Not surprisingly the A7 has all the latest safety tech to keep its occupants safe. Most of it is designed to prevent an accident happening and the top versions are fitted with five radar sensors, five cameras, numerous sensors and even a laser scanner. If you fail to brake for a pedestrian or another vehicle the system will step in and do it for you and if you wander out of your lane on a motorway the car will take you back.