By Clive Funizwe
Haptic feedback, hybrid, air suspension, four-wheel steering – are some off the terms you will be using to describe the A7 Sportback 55 TFSI S-Line. We can fill up this entire review just writing about its tech fest gadgetry – but thankfully, we are all about giving a summarized impression which won’t get your coffee cold.
Car aesthetics will always be a subjective matter – but the A7 is one of those cars that speaks to everyone’s taste. In the S-line guise, the car has an even sportier exterior that doesn’t scream after market. The A7 is exquisite and elegant, inside and out.
Let’s start with the inside – shall we.
Space and comfort creatures are in abundance. Front and rear space is large enough for any adult. Both the front and rear climate controls are operable by a touch sensitive interface. It’s worth nothing that all 4 passengers can set their desired temperature. Front passengers also get heated seats. Speaking of seats – the quilted Valcana sports leather seats are amongst the best we have sat on. This is both from a design, look and feel point of view. Adding to the overall comfort – is the air suspension and acoustically treated windows. The A7 is both whisper quiet and glides on the road – making any journey a relaxing and soothing one.
Upfront the driver has access to a plethora of viewing aids. The center console has a high-resolution intuitive dual touchscreen which operate the climate control and MMI Plus (Audi’s infotainment system). Both these screens have haptic and acoustic feedback. You also get a digital instrument cluster plus a heads-up display which is configurable. As if this was not enough drip the standard panoramic roof adds an extra flare to the package.
We managed to do a few short trips around JHB during our test period with the A7. The odometer gave a reading of 13.9L/100km as we couldn’t resist a little bit off spirited driving from the 3l Turbo Charged V6 which dropped to an impressive 7.7L/100km when we nannied the pedal. This is a testament to the hybrid system that boosts fuel efficiency. All in all – we feel that the fuel consumption is satisfactory for a car of this size and the power output it produces. The driver assist features also worked very well and were not gimmicky.One of the features that impressed us is the Night Vision Assist. If you select to drive with this feature on – you can see pedestrians/animals on screen highlighted in yellow. When you coast of your lane, the accelerator pedal has a slight vibration as a “nudge” to keep you alert. This also happens when you exceed the speed limit. The stop-start has an auto start when you’re at a traffic light and the car in-front of you pulls off.
We must also add that the B&O stereo system the car comes with is an aural pleasure. All types of music sounded great at low or loud volumes.
At a starting price of R1,298,000 into the range, is the A7 worth the asking price over a similarly priced SUV? If the outright practicality of an SUV and ride height are not at the top of your requirements – the A7 is a must in your short list. It’s a unique proposition and very practical by sedan (or is that 5-Door coupe) standards. The one thing to note is that taller passengers may find the head room a touch cramped due to the sloping roof at the rear. This would be people over 1.8m tall.
All new Audi’s come with Audi’s Freeway plan for 5 Years/100,000kms.
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