Five doors, four rings and a whole load of power, the new Audi A7 Diesel Sportback is the poster boy for the A7 range. It’s a rip-roaring Hatchback/Sportback that, despite some pretty insane speeds, is pretty darn practical.
Fast, powerful and usable? Sexy. It’s also got a few unusual “gimmicks”, such as a hatchback boot combined with the fact that it’s a slick exec car. Does this sort of thing work? Is this head turner of a car actually capable of surviving in the real world?
OSV takes a closer look at what it’s all about with our 2018 Audi A7 Diesel Sportback review.
On The Road
The way the Audi performs on the road is a bit of a weird one. On the one hand, we can’t complain about the way it handles. On the other hand, just because it handles well, that doesn’t mean it’s fun to drive. Because it really isn’t and enthusiasts might refer to its steering as “boring.” We’d much rather call it positive and body lean is minimum.
If you need more excitement, you can always tweak the Audi Drive Select System settings. Auto will likely be the most satisfying setting as it reaches the middle ground between dynamic and comfort. For everyday driving, it just feels right.
Dynamic mode, on the other hand, is ideal for when you want to have some fun on b-roads.
There’s a titanic amount of grip available which is good for your confidence. Basically, to have any sort of scare at the wheel, you’d have to be driving it like a hooligan. The car is, despite the amount of performance on offer, well-behaved and feels smooth most of the time.
The brand’s torque vectoring traction control system helps the car stay stable, as does an excellent chassis and suspension setup. Overall, despite its fearsome reputation, the A7 Sportback is safe and controlled.
In terms of the engines, the 201bhp diesel comes without Quattro four-wheel-drive, and you’d, therefore, be forgiven for not expecting too much from it. However, it feels superbly smooth and we highly recommend it.
However, the 3.0-litre TDI diesel is the most exciting engine here. It gets you from a standstill to 62mph in just 5.6 seconds, which makes it one of the fastest models in this class by some distance.
There’s also a Quattro version of the 3.0-litre TDI diesel engine available, and it’s got enough power in its tank to haul you from rest to 62mph in 6.3 seconds. Topping the range, meanwhile, is a 3.0-litre BiTurbo V6 diesel engine that develops 309bhp, and which covers the 0-62 dash in 5.3 seconds.
Audi A7 Diesel Sportback Interior, Design & Build
Inside, it’s pretty much as you were with Audi and the A7 feels and looks exactly like the upmarket exec car it is.
The way the seats cocoon you and your passenger is impressive and gives the car a very driver-focused feel. The centre console is high and wide, and while there are lots of controls on display, Audi has designed a smart-looking layout that makes it easy to locate everything.
Moreover, there are the brands MMI infotainment system that clears a few buttons away. It’s easy enough to use, but perhaps the most surprising thing about the A7’s dashboard is that there’s no touchscreen.
In terms of how practical it is, the A7 Sportback has no doubt been designed to accommodate five adults, but anyone unfortunate enough to be sitting in the middle will have to contend with a very awkward seat. If there are just four adults present, the Audi is much more pleasant.
Space up front is absolutely fine, and while visibility is decent, we thoroughly recommend specifying the Parking Pack.
The boot, meanwhile, is one of the car’s trump cards, and it measures an impressive 535-litres and comes with a big tailgate for easy loading. Fold the rear seats and you can extend it to 1,390-litres.
Equipment & Safety Of The Audi A7 Diesel Sportback
Standard kit across the range is good, with the SE Executive model getting the likes of Xenon headlights, Audi Drive select, Milano leather, 19” alloys, a powered boot lid, Bluetooth, electric windows front and back, a digital radio and a retractable rear spoiler.
The S Line model adds even classier leather upholstery, a three-spoke steering wheel, front sports seats, brushed aluminium inlays, lowered sports suspension and 20” alloys.
The Black Edition rounds things off with a 3-spoke leather-trimmed multi-function flat-bottomed Sports steering wheel, piano black interior trim inlays, a Bose stereo and 21” alloys.
Is the Audi A7 Diesel Sportback safe? It was awarded all five stars when crash-tested by Euro NCAP, while its standard safety kit includes ISOFIX child seat mounts, electronic stability control and airbags. The chassis is made from high-strength steels while aluminium was used on the body, so the car should stand up strong in the event of an accident.
Costs Of The Audi A7 Diesel Sportback
Prices for the new car start out from £48,045 and rise to £61,305. For more information on our leasing deals, check out our page here.
In terms of its running costs, the 3.0-litre 215bhp TDI diesel should prove to be the most popular and it’s also impressively economic, despite its power. It returns 60.1mpg while emitting 122g/km of CO2.
The Quattro version of the 3.0-litre diesel unit, meanwhile, is good for returns of 45.6mpg. Both models will set you back £140 per year in road tax, though any model that costs over £40,000 to buy will be penalised with a surcharge of £310 after year one.
Insurance-wise, the less powerful diesel sits in group 38 while the bigger Quattro 3.0-litre diesel occupies group 44.
Pros and Cons Of The Audi A7 Diesel Sportback
Say what you want about Audi, but they put together some genuinely brilliant cars.
It’s a large car that’s got plenty of interior space for the family. Five seats are a bonus.
It might seem insulting to call a car that costs £48,000 “inexpensive” but compared to rivals – as we’ll see below – the A7 is a steal.
Visibility Is An Issue
It’s not the easiest car to park.
A6 Is Cheaper
This might be cheaper than its rivals, but the Audi A6 exec saloon is cheaper still.
Audi A7 Diesel Sportback vs BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe Diesel vs Mercedes CLS
Let’s see how the car fares against its rivals in the comparison section of our 2018 Audi A7 Diesel Sportback review.
Audi A7 Diesel Sportback vs BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe Diesel
The new BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe Diesel is ostentatious, expensive but very, very fun.
Indeed, in terms of the way it handles, there’s no better car in this sector. The chassis comes stuffed with tech that’s turned it into a proper driver’s car, but there’s also a degree of comfort on offer, too. The suspension is sporty and the materials used are impressively lightweight.
Thanks to its rear wheel drive layout, the Gran Coupe performs well in corners and the chassis mostly holds its nerve. The only time it really gets flustered is when you push the car super hard.
Each model comes with the brands Driving Experience Control system that allows you to switch between four different settings, starting with Comfort and ending with Sport +.
Engine-wise, there’s only one diesel and it comes with turbochargers, which some buyers will hate. It’s also paired up with an 8-speed automatic ‘box. It’s a 3.0-litre engine that develops 311bhp, powers the 640d model, and although it sits at the bottom of the range, it’s not exactly left wanting for speed. 0-62 is dispensed within 5.4 seconds and top speed is 155mph.
It’s an interesting engine that comes fitted with a system that amplifies its roars into the cabin. It’s a thrilling sound.
Running costs? Not bad. The sole diesel engine returns 52.3mpg at best and emits 147g/km of CO2. It has a BiK rating of 30%.
Inside, the Gran Coupe is surprisingly comfortable. Variable dampers come as standard, but even if you switch to its firmest setting, ride quality will still be acceptable.
Insulation is also good, the seats are comfortable, and the quality of the materials used is top notch. It’s probably not the car to go for if you want an out-and-out cruiser, but there are a few luxuries on board, such as a concierge service and optical wi-fi.
Is the BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe diesel practical? Its boot measures a respectable 460-litres, it sports a useful 4+1 layout, but headroom is a bit limited in the rear.
Audi – £48,045 – £61,305
BMW – £62,435 – £85,645
Audi A7 Diesel Sportback vs Mercedes CLS
The new Mercedes CLS is a sumptuously put-together car that boasts excellent build quality and strong performance. However, it’s strictly four seats only.
The Mercedes manages to be both comfortable and fun. Adaptive damping comes with all models which boosts ride quality, while AIRMATIC air suspension is an optional extra.
The steering is well-weighted and direct, body control is good and there’s a reasonable amount of body lean on offer. It feels smaller than it really is, and this improves its drivability.
There are two diesel models available with the CLS, starting out with the CLS 220 BlueTEC that’s powered by a 2.1-litre engine. This power plant develops 168bhp, which is enough to get you from rest to 62mph in 8.5 seconds.
If that seems too slow, the other diesel is a 3.0-litre engine that powers the CLS 350 BlueTEC. This unit comes with a 9-speed automatic transmission, develops 201bhp and has a 0-62 time of 6.2 seconds. This means that the Mercedes isn’t quite on par with either the Audi or the BMW in the speed stakes.
The 9-speed auto ‘box helps the CLS 350 BlueTEC keep running costs down, and it can return 52.3mpg, which is par for the course in this class. However, the CLS 220 BlueTEC is significantly cheaper and can return 61.4mpg economy while emitting 122g/km of CO2. It’s the cheapest to insure too, sitting as it does in insurance group 43 while the bigger diesel sits in group 48.
Inside, comfort and luxury is the order of the day. The leather seats are fantastic to sit in for longer trips, the dashboard is plush and the interior, on the whole, has a sporty feel to it. The steering wheel is a bit far away but it’s a minor criticism.
Is the Mercedes CLS practical? Its 520-litre boot is pretty large but it still falls 15-litres short of the Audi, and folding rear seats don’t come as standard. And whereas the Audi can accommodate five adults, the Mercedes is strictly a four-seater.
There are lots of useful storage spaces in here though, while leg and headroom are good for four people.
Mercedes – £57,560 – £57,660
Verdict Of Our 2018 Audi A7 Diesel Sportback Review
If you liked the look of the Audi A6 but need even more space and bigger engines, the beefed-up A7 might be just the ticket. It’s got four doors, five seats, a good amount of legroom and a hefty boot. It’s also got Audi’s typically svelte looks, a well-appointed interior and lots of desirabilities. As a bonus, the new Audi A7 Diesel Sportback is considerably cheaper than its rivals.