WORLD PREMIERE: 2018 Audi A7 — Second Generation of Beauty

Audi A7 Sportback

With quite possibly the most overly dramatic car reveal intro I’ve ever seen, Audi debuted the new, second-generation A7 Sportback on Facebook today. After a trip through what seemed like space time, making me feel like Matthew McConaughey behind the bookshelf, the Audi A7 was finally revealed in front of a crowd in Neckarsulm. The first-gen Audi A7, despite getting a bit long in the tooth, was still quite the looker. This new second-gen A7 is even better looking, quite surprisingly, and follows Marc Lichte’s Prologue design language.

The new Audi A7’s face is far more aggressive than the car it replaces’. Its Singleframe grille is much larger, following the current Audi trend, and the headlights are angular with Matrix LED lighting and Audi’s very impressive laser spot technology. Though the best part of the A7’s new front end is its heavily sculpted hood, which looks sharp and angry. The front fenders swell out, giving it a muscular look, and the shoulder line starts at the front fender and makes its way down the length of the car.

In profile, you can see that while the shoulder line s quite aggressive, it’s also lower than expected, giving the car a lower belt-line and more of a greenhouse. It visually lowers the car and makes it seems sportier, more aggressive. That same shoulder line swells outward at the rear wheel arches, giving it muscular haunches that are more accentuated than on the previous-gen car. It makes it look powerful. A blacked-out B-pillar gives the sweeping roofline a floating look, which creates a really nice looking crease as it meets the rear. There also seems to be a carbon fiber roof on the car that Audi revealed, which is odd given that it’s just an A7 and not an RS7 or even S7.

The most exciting change might be at the rear, though. The taillights span the entire length of the rear end, with one continuous light bar that’s flanked by Matrix OLED lights, which are each made of 13 individual vertical segments. We’ve already seen these lights in action, pulsing outward toward the sides, in the teaser videos Audi released prior to its reveal. Those pulsing lights do their little dance when the car is locked and unlocked, too, which is kind of cool.

There’s also an integrated rear spoiler which extends at 120 km/h (74.6 mph). Admittedly, there is one aspect of the A7’s rump we dislike greatly and it’s the same complaint we have with most of Audi’s new cars — no exhaust pipes. We’re really sick of the lack of real exhausts coming from the back of new Audis. Maybe the flashy lights will distract us from it.

Inside the new A7, it’s clear that its cabin is heavily borrowed from the new Audi A8. So it gets the same dual touchscreen setup for its MMI and HVAC controls. While we’re still skeptical of how well it’s going to work, it looks very good and very high tech. The top screen, which controls the infotainment system, is integrated into a gloss black surround, so the screen sort of blends into it while off. That also blends into the dash trim, which is now multi-layered, with a bottom portion that sticks out further than the trim surrounding the air vents. This creates some interesting geometry on the dash, with a sort of aluminum shelf in front of the vents.

A new, optional three-spoke steering wheel sits in front of the driver, which differs from the four-spoke multi-function wheel of the A8, though that’s also available on the A7. The three-spoke wheel looks good and very high-tech. Ahead of the steering wheel lies the latest iteration of Audi’s ever-so-brilliant Virtual Cockpit display, which looks as good as ever.

Audi didn’t just stop at design, though. The chassis, suspension and steering have all been completely overhauled. The new Audi A7 sits on the same MLB-Evo platform that underpins the new Audi A8, Audi Q7 and even the Porsche Panamera. So it’s lighter and stiffer than before, while also being more dynamic. There’s optional air suspension and all-wheel steering systems, both of which are controlled by a new ECP (Electronic Chassis Program) that help make the new A7 sharper and more comfortable. It’s not designed to be a proper, all-out sports car but more of a sporty grand-tourer.

Most of the front and rear axles have been completely overhauled, with a new standard progressive steering setup. The steering ratio starts out quite sporty already, more so than the luxury-oriented Audi A8, and sharpens the more you increase steering lock. Being that the increase in steering response is fixed to how much lock is added, it should be far more intuitive than the current variable steering system Audi uses, which can often times feel sloppy and unpredictable. There will also be an optional sport rear differential, which should help improve handling performance even further.

Four suspension setups will be offered. The standard setup will be a steel coil spring setup, with an optional sport suspension that lowers the car 10 mm, adaptive dampers and the aforementioned air suspension.

As far as powertrains go, there will be two V6 engines available at launch. Both will be 3.0 liter turbocharged V6s, one petrol and one diesel. The former of which will be the same engine that powers the Audi S4 and will make 340 hp and 368 lb-ft of torque. According to Audi, 0-60 mph for the 3.0 TFSI engine will take about 5.3 seconds and have a top speed limited to 155 mph. Oddly enough, the Audi A7 3.0 TFSI will also use the brand’s seven-speed dual-clutch S-Tronic gearbox, not the eight-speed ZF automatic in the S4. That proves the reason for the S4 using an automatic and not a dual-clutch is actually about cost and not torque, as Audi previously said. All new Audi A7 models will also come with a 48-volt electrical subsystem and will all be MHEVs (Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle), meaning they will all have BAS (Belt Alternator Starter) systems. That means they will be able to turn their engines off at highway speed and use an electric motor to turn the crank, driving the car.

This new, second-gen Audi A7 looks better than the car it replaces, has a much more impressive interior and should be far more impressive, dynamically, while also being more luxurious. Now that the A7 has moved a bit upmarket, it shares more with the Audi A8 than the A6, as it previously did. So it should be better in every single way and we’re excited to get our hands on it.