Audi to target key rival with its new A7 coupe
THESE are busy times for Audi as their stunning new A7 -- a rival for the likes of the Mercedes CLS -- is unveiled and the three-litre diesel version of their A8 arrives.
The A7 takes Audi into new territory and confronts the dominance of Mercedes, in particular.
Designed to fill a niche between the A6 and A8, it is pencilled in for arrival here late this year, to go on sale next January.
The coupe lines and five-door combination made an icon of the Mercedes CLS.
The A7 follows the trend set by the A5, which has slowly matured into one of the best-looking cars on the road.
The A7's aluminium and steel body is around 15pc lighter than if it had been made of all steel.
It is 4.97 metres long -- slightly longer and wider than the A6 but more low-slung.
There are two V6 petrol versions -- 2.8 FSI (240bhp), 3.0 TFSI (300bhp) -- and two V6 TDI diesels -- 3.0 TDI (204bhp, 245bhp).
There are also multitronic CVT automatic options for front-wheel-drive versions, with seven-speed S tronic twin-clutch transmission for quattro models.
The greenest of the engines is the 204bhp 3.0 TDI multitronic, which does 0-100kmh in 8.1 seconds, has a combined mpg 53.3 and emits 139g/km CO2. That puts it in band B with €156 road tax.
There is a huge range of options, including parallel park assist, all-LED headlights, head-up display and adaptive air suspension.
The quattro all-wheel-drive system has a 40pc/60pc rear bias but can vary pulling power between the front and rear axles more widely for even greater agility.
Drivers can select the dynamics they want for the car (fine-tune steering weighting, throttle response and transmission shift points at the touch of a button).
All engines have stop-start technology.
The A7 is built on a new platform, which has a five-link front and trapezoidal link rear suspension system. You can also order a firmer, 10mm lower sport setting.
There is plenty of cabin space for up to four adults, with a good-size boot.
Central to the cabin is the multi-media interface (MMI) system with retractable 6.5ins monitor.
It has, thankfully, a large central control knob and -- again thankfully -- a reduced number of buttons.
An option worth mentioning is the 'head-up' display, which projects key information, including economy, speed and navigation routing, on to the windscreen.
Meanwhile, pricing for the new 3.0TDI version of the flagship A8 has just been announced.
Prices start from €91,900 ex-works, with first deliveries from September.
This is the 'practical' version of the series -- they expect it to account for 75pc of purchases -- with emissions of just 174g/km and an annual road tax of €630.
With the help of stop-start technology, emissions are reduced by 50g (22pc), compared to the previous generation, even though power is up 17bhp to 250bhp.
Standard equipment includes the MMI navigation system, the new MMI interface -- which uses driver handwriting -- Valcona leather upholstery, adaptive air suspension, Xenon lights with LED daytime driving lights, 18ins alloys and Bluetooth interface. The three-litre TFSI petrol costs from €91,900, ex-works.