New model 2019 Audi A7 C8 at Detroit. The all-new, second-generation Audi A7 Sportback C8 Type-4K made its US debut in Detroit, at the North American International Auto Show. Tom Janiszewski was there to view the car at first hand…
The Audi A7 C7 Type-4G first arrived in the UK in 2010 and was followed by a mild facelift in 2016, but the 2019 model is all-new inside and out, with a more aggressive exterior and more spacious interior, and it features the latest technologies in performance, safety and comfort.
The exterior styling shares many design elements first seen on the latest Audi A8, with an athletic appearance featuring large surfaces, sharp edges and a low stance. Up front, the trapezoidal Single-frame grille, more dramatic than the outgoing model, is the dominant feature of the car’s more angular nose. The reduced height and increased width of the headlights – available in three different lighting technologies – add to the car’s more aggressive appearance.
The side profile is considerably more sculpted than the current model, with a raked body line extending above the lower sills. Two elegantly more subtle lines are also present, the first ties the door handles together while the second defines the rear wings.
‘THE EXTERIOR STYLING SHARES MANY DESIGN ELEMENTS FIRST SEEN ON THE LATEST A8, WITH SHARP EDGES AND A LOW STANCE...’
The rear of the car tapers a bit, and the roof line drops sharply for a more dramatic appearance. The tail-lights now extend the full width of the car, and are made up of 13 separate segments which (along with the headlights) perform a fast-moving animated lighting sequence when the car is locked and unlocked.
A key feature of the 2019 Audi A7 C8 is the large liftback tailgate, allowing for more convenient access to the cargo area, the width of which has been increased to 1050mm.The tail edge of the lid incorporates a speed-activated rear spoiler, which extends when the car reaches just under 75 mph.
Overall, the exterior is devoid of any chrome, and will be available in 15 colours (eight of which are new). An optional S line exterior package will be available, and includes modifications to the front grille, front air inlets, sills, and front and rear diffusers.
Exterior dimensions are actually quite close to the outgoing model. Interior length is increased by 21 mm, resulting in a little more legroom for rear passengers who will also enjoy more headroom. Seating is all-new, with multi-adjustable, customised contour front seats with ventilation and massage.
Customers have a choice of a 2+1 bench rear seat or individual rear seats, and a larger panoramic sunroof with larger glass panels to brighten the interior for all passengers.
Sitting up front, the seats were quite comfortable and allow an almost infinite amount of adjustment. The A7’s redesigned dashboard features angular styling in-step with the car’s exterior. Digitalisation of gauges and controls seen on the A8 make their way into the A7 with three digital displays. A 12.3- inch screen in front of the driver displays digital gauges, navigation and vehicle status. Two additional screens mounted in the centre of the dash, angled towards the driver, both employ Audi’s MMI touch response operating concept replacing the conventional buttons and controls found in the previous Audi A7.
Haptic and audible feedback provide inputs to the operator when using the screens. Infotainment features and settings appear in the upper screen while the 8.6-inch lower screen provides access to climate controls, comfort functions and text input.
While the MMI radio is standard, MMI navigation and MMI navigation plus are optional, as is a heads-up option which projects speed and other information onto the inside of the windscreen in the driver’s line of sight. Four different sound systems will be available, with the Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System as the top choice delivering 3D sound to the rear seats.
Customers can opt for Audi’s AI system, which provided autonomous parking. This allows the driver to exit then instruct the car to park itself using the my Audi smartphone app. Depending on the equipment level, up to five radar sensors, five cameras, 12 ultrasonic sensors and a laser scanner enable to car to pilot itself into a parking space or garage.
Thirty-nine driver assistance features are available, divided into three packages: The aforementioned AI parking package, the City assist package with Audi’s new crossing assist feature that warns of cross traffic, and the Tour assist package. Tour assist includes an efficiency assistant to optimise fuel efficiency and an adaptive driving assistant provides steering interventions to keep the vehicle within its lane.
Four suspension set-ups are available: A conventional coil-spring suspension, a lowered sport suspension that reduces the ride height by 40mm, electronically controlled damping, and a self-leveling adaptive air suspension. All-wheel steering is optional, and there’s a new electronic chassis programme, all of which promise improved handling and comfort over the previous model.
The A7 will launch with Audi’s 3.0- litre V6 TFSI petrol engine coupled to a 7-speed S tronic gearbox. This V6 turbo produces 250 kW (340 hp) and 500 Nm (368.8 lb.ft.) of torque, along with the quattro ultra drivetrain that transfers power to the rear wheels only when needed. The car accelerates from 0 to 100 kph in 5.3 seconds with a top speed of 250 kph (155.3 mph). In the NEDC test cycle, the base version of the A7 consumes 6.8 litres of fuel per 100 km, corresponding to CO2 emissions of 154 grams per km. Additional six and four-cylinder engines (diesel and petrol) will arrive later but regardless of which engine is selected, all will feature Audi’s new mild hybrid system to maximise fuel efficiency. At speeds between 55 and 160 kph (34.2 - 99.4 mph) the car can coast with the engine deactivated and then restart automatically. Audi has expanded the stop-start feature which activates at 22 kph (13.7 mph). At a stop, the car predictively restarts the engine when the front-mounted camera detects that the vehicle ahead begins to move.
All of these enhancements elevate the A7 to new levels of style, comfort and handling. With the all-new A7 set to arrive in February, we will not have to wait long to see for ourselves. In fact, we’ll be driving the newA7 at the international press launch in South Africa, just after this issue clears for press, for a full firsthand report in the March edition of Audi Driver.
‘ALL OF THESE ENHANCEMENTS ELEVATE THE A7 TO NEW LEVELS OF STYLE, COMFORT AND HANDLING...’