WHO could have imagined some years back that auto manufacturers would need to add hybrid technology to their line up to meet stricter, cleaner guidelines? But in some cases, it really works - the Audi A7 is a perfect example of that.
By mating a 2.0-litre petrol engine to an electric motor powered by a 14.1kWh battery for a total output of 367ps Audi has created a Sportback model that can complete the 0-62mph sprint in just 5.7 seconds and has a top speed that is limited to 155mph.
The fuel economy figures will make any critic of plug-in hybrid technology sit up and listen with a combined 141.2mpg and carbon emissions of 46g/km which in itself brings plenty of savings to the business driver.
Clearly that sort of fuel efficiency could only be achieved if the maximum EV-only range of about 25 miles was fully utilised and the car was charged regularly in-between. But, they are still impressive figures for a car that looks like a rocket and has a driving performance to match.
With the practicality of four doors along with the styling of a streamlined coupe, the A7 looks stunning from every approach thanks to its LED headlights with LED rear lights, gloss black radiator grille and black air intakes.
There is the additional charge port so the car can be plugged in, privacy glass, and the 20-inch alloys along with red brake callipers and Tango Red metallic paint simply added to the all-round charm.
Move inside and the interior oozes class with top quality fixtures and fittings. Techno treats include full leather upholstery, powered seats that can be heated, twin touchscreens - one 10.1-inches and the other 8.6-inches - with haptic feedback. The only difference on this model is that you are offered additional information regarding the electric driving range, energy consumption and the likes.
The 12.3-inch virtual cockpit tft display can be personalised to suit with superb 3D graphics for the sat nav.
The climate control is easy to adjust on the fly which is a blessing and connecting a smartphone via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto takes a matter of seconds. The wireless charger beneath the centre armrest is another plus factor.
The A7 starts up in complete silence if there is enough charge in the battery and the power and acceleration is instant with rapid gear changes through the seven-speed S tronic automatic transmission. There are steering wheel-mounted paddles for extra driver engagement, along with a Drive Select feature to switch through the various driving modes called Efficiency, Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and Individual. No prizes for guessing that Dynamic is the most exhilarating choice.
In addition, there are buttons to easily access the Hybrid, EV and Battery Save modes, which are pretty self-explanatory.
Out on the open road, this car is an absolute dream to drive as it glides through long sweeping bends with as much power as you dare make use of. The road holding is confident and assured with accurate steering that offers plenty of feedback. Then on motorways, it cruises effortlessly at the national speed limit.
The all-round visibility is akin to most coupe models, so not that great. That is mainly down to the narrow rear window, wide B pillars and low-to-the-ground driving position. But that was my only criticism and really does go with the coupe territory, so is to be expected.
Comfort levels are sublime with powered seats and memory settings so getting the perfect driving position is simple. And back seat passengers are treated to plenty of leg space too. They also have their own individual climate control system and storage options such as cup holders and a tray in the fold-down central armrest, door bins and nets in the seat backs.
Up front there are door pockets, a lockable glovebox, plus a small centre storage box where the wireless charger and USB ports can be found. The boot can accommodate 380 litres of kit although this limit increases to 1,235 litres thanks to 40:20:40 split folding rear seats.