MEGA AUDI A7 turns up the power while its new Ultra-diesel returns over 60mpg

By Philip Hedderman

tHE biggest buzz in the car world of late is the news that Audi will be launching a range of new technologies for piloted driving before the end of the decade.

For anyone who hasn't heard the term "piloted", it basically means driverless.

In fact, to showcase just how good the software is, the Vorsprung Durch Techniks hooked it up to an RS7 and tore around the Grand Prix circuit at Hockenheim at speeds of up to 240kpm.

Very impressive, I'm sure you'll agree, but utterly pointless.

You see, there are two reasons why this whole exercise was a bit futile.

First, it's an Audi, which means that super gizmos will function perfectly - even on the autobahn at crazy speeds.

Second and most importantly, it was put to work in an A7 - probably the most stylish and best driving coupe money can buy.

Who in their right mind would shell out for such a magnificent car and have a computer drive it for you?

Imagine never getting to feel the raw power from the 272 horses lurking under the hood of this 3.0 litre V6 or experiencing the awesome grip of the Quattro all-wheel drive set up as this savages corner after corner on country roads?

Or just sitting back and enjoying the luxuriously plush cockpit as the two-tonne beast wafts along in near silence gobbling up motorway miles?

And even more so now that the A7 has had a mid-life refresh which is much more than a tweaked bumper or door crease.

LED lights are now standard across the range while the revised front grille and wider chrome exhausts give it a more aggressive look.

Inside there's a fresh choice of colours and trim including Valcona leather. Tech-wise, the infotainment system gets a major overhaul.

Called MMI Navigation plus with MMI touch, the infotainment system and sat nav hooks up to the internet through 4G, giving the driver access to google Maps and the latest traffic info.

You can even scroll down through your favourite news channels for all the latest stories which are accompanied by colour pictures.

But the biggest change will be in your pocket as the A7 gets the Ultra treatment - upping the power while reducing fuel consumption.

The new 3.0 TDI ultra is now returning an eye-watering 60mpg (4.7l/100km) with CO2 emissions of only 122g/km (road tax of €270)

The top-end 320bhp BiTurbo is mated to a sublime eight-speed tiptronic transmission while all other engine configurations work with an equally fabulous seven-speed S-Tronic transmission.

Either is top class and a fantastic all-rounder for the coupe-loving speedsters.

Only one tip - it's best driven from the front with yourself at the wheel.

The Audi A7 starts at €67,550.