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  1. Join Date
    May 2008
    first time posting a review...i hope i did it right

    2011 Audi A7 Sportback Concept First Drive

    While we're still living with the effects of the Mercedes-Benz R-Class and prepping ourselves for the impending arrival of the BMW 5 Series GT, we now need to add the latest entry in this category of premium German people-and-stuff carriers, which would be the 2011 Audi A7 Sportback. While all three candidates work really well at their given tasks, the difference here is that the A7 Sportback is actually pretty ***y and is shooting unashamedly for premium adult comfort.

    First introduced at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show (in fact, the car's internal designation is "D09," which stands for "Detroit '09"), this is actually a version of the showcar made ready for the streets of Beverly Hills, where we've just driven it, complete with earnest police escorts and all. It was 10-4s from the motorcycle cops all around, and while this experience really showed us only a limited amount of the ample list of day-to-day things an owner of an actual production 2011 Audi A7 Sportback will be able to do, passing time at the wheel within this new A7 space tells us a lot.
    The Real Competition
    Talking with Audi engineers and designers at this special event, it was clear that even they sense how special the 2011 Audi A7 Sportback Concept is, in that this is a whole new category for them as well as for North America. They're just hoping that people see as clearly as Audi does just how much more pleasant the A7 Sportback will be to live with compared to those aforementioned rivals with their aesthetic challenges and functional compromises.
    Seeing as the North American market has summarily rejected every outstanding German premium station wagon in the past, Audi is thinking that this new configuration might be the solving of the riddle of the Sphinx and we honestly hope that it's right. We love driving around wagons and good hatchbacks, and this large 'tweener-size Sportback is a pleasant piece of work.
    A range of these Sportback niche-fillers will combine qualities from different vehicle types.
    The 2011 Audi A7 Sportback sits on a modified version of the next-generation A6 architecture and thus is the first to use this new platform. The intention is to turn this new Sportback culture (which Audi is nurturing for its odd-numbered models) into the North American equivalent of the Avant culture (even-numbered Audi models) that has been so successful in Europe.
    This new offering is going to be competing for the fence-sitters and empty-nesters who no longer need either an SUV or a minivan or a wagon. The A7 is still pure practicality in its packaging, though, and space is ample, with cargo capacity ranging from 17.7 cubic feet behind the second-row seat to 56 cubic feet with the rear seats down. But the business-class style and space transforms the experience; it's really good and in the class of British Airways or Lufthansa, though not Continental or Delta.
    Have It All
    When you cross the next A6 chassis with the optional A8 20-inch tire set and the Q7's 3.0-liter V6 turbodiesel, you get a steadfast cruising package with a theoretical maximum highway range of 875 miles on a full 22-gallon tank. It's a great strategy to support Audi's promotion of diesel power in the U.S.
    Yet this is not to say that once the 2011 Audi A7 Sportback goes into production it won't get gas engines, as the supercharged 3.0-liter V6 and 4.2-liter FSI V8 will be the first engines to be offered for the Q7. Meanwhile, the big carbon-ceramic brake discs on this prototype are showcar excess, but we love the stopping power they afford on this nearly 4,000-pound car.

    As first seen just recently in the new Audi A8, the latest pop-up MMI interface is here in the A7 in addition to a fully digital instrument panel. We're also assured by the A7's exterior design caretaker, Achim-D. Badstübner, that the whole Sportback family will be associated with an options list as long as your arm. As spotted during our recent drive of the 2012 Audi E-tron Concept, the instrument panel has two dials flanking a central screen, an arrangement that we'll soon be seeing on all Audis.
    For the concept car we're driving, tailgate load-through is not easy since there is a lip 4 inches tall that rises up to meet the hatch, but Badstübner tells us that the production car will have a hatch that will come down to floor level. Despite this, the look of the tail end will remain intact and all the LED lighting cluster designs you see here are ready for production.
    High-End Intentions
    The 2011 Audi A7 Sportback will also profit from the development of a new seven-speed dual-clutch S-tronic transmission that will be made available with every engine trim from Audi in North America. This is particularly good news from a driving standpoint, since we're getting tired of the widely used six-speed Tiptronic automatic. Matthias Seer, Audi's engineer in charge of concept car technologies, confirms for us that the A7 will, in fact, be the first model to use this new transmission.
    The turbodiesel powertrain has been pulled straight from the Q7 SUV and 406 pound-feet of torque at low revs makes it a lovable piece, and it gets us to 60 mph from a standstill handily in less than 7.0 seconds. The new seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox manages the power and torque curves better than the old automatic while providing a really long-legged overdrive 7th gear for more low-rev comfort and even better mpg.
    Don't get too excited about that glass roof, since it's only for show while the planners debate whether to include a panoramic sunroof on the options list. For the production A7, the roof height also will be 0.4 inch higher and the base-model wheel will be a 17-incher, though options will include the 20-inch item from Quattro GmbH that you see here. And the pronounced SUV-style front and rear bumpers will be toned down. The spacious four-seat configuration seen here is the way the A7 is going to stay, with no five-passenger setup to be offered: perhaps a risky choice, but we applaud it.
    In the end, the 2011 Audi A7 Sportback drives in a suitably A8-esque manner thanks to this new chassis, as the wide track helps smooth the car's road manners and the substantial width of 76 inches enhances interior spaciousness, especially compared to the Audi A6 Avant. A good option from the Q7 in evidence here is continuous damping control, which adapts itself to the drive mode selected via Audi's drive-select feature. Since the cross streets of Beverly Hills have deep gutters, this came in handy during our informal tour within the city limits and the A7 Sportback traversed these frequent dips with notable aplomb.
    A Product Crossroads
    Audi is banking big on a range of these odd-numbered Sportback niche-fillers, which will combine several qualities from different vehicle types in an attempt to come as close as possible to being most things to all people with a little bit of money. When it lands on U.S. soil in June 2011, the base price for the 2011 Audi Q7 Sportback should come in just above the A6 Avant but less than the Q7, so in the upper $40K range. Say, $47,000 for a 3.0T with no options dolling it up.
    Spy shots of the A7 in production trim have elicited evil comments from many regarding the added front overhang and taller roof line. We'd advise you to hold off on the torches and pitchforks, though. The new A6 platform moves the front axle forward by 6.1 inches and the added wheelbase will ensure that the front end and passenger cabin retain the proper proportions. If you need reassurance, refer to the really sharp A5 Sportback.
    When you consider rivals like the BMW GT strain and the R-Class style attempts from Mercedes, the 2011 Audi A7 Sportback Concept should help Audi finally realize its sales dreams in the U.S. Sure, we know that North America still gets the creeps over anything that looks like a hatchback or traditional wagon, arguably the two most practical body styles ever invented. Hopefully some simple good looks will help the A7 Sportback catch on, and its practicality and serious comfort will do the rest.

  2. Join Date
    May 2008
    [ame=""]YouTube- Audi A7 Concept Car - The new Audi A7 Sportback Concept Car[/ame]

  3. Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Official Photos of the Audi A7:

    It's like a Audi A5 Sportback, only chaka-ier. What? I said "chaka" because of the rear view.

2011 Audi A7 Sportback