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Taking on a new breed of vehicle

Audi enters the hybrid market with the massive and gadget-heavy A7 Review by Adrian Ion

May 2011 - From the Print Edition

2 Photos
Following the trend of car manufacturers of stepping into the hybrid car segment, Audi is expanding its model portfolio with the new A7.
As the number of the model says, this fits right between the A6 and the A8, to convince those picky customers who think the A6 is too common and the A8 too executive.
This is a large car, but looks sleek and sporty as a coupe and is certainly betting a lot on the charm factor when appealing to the buyers. This model challenges the Mercedes CLS, the inventor of the four door coupe.
The test drive car was the A7 quattro fitted with the 3.0 litre diesel engine, 241HP pushing out 369lb-ft of torque and the S-tronic seven-speed transmission. The car shares the modular platform of the A8 that will also be used in the new A6.
The interior is exceptionally well crafted with the high quality materials that one would expect from Audi. The designers have succeeded in creating a special sporty and luxurious feeling for both the driver and passengers. The dashboard surrounds the occupants like a cocoon, creating a feeling of protection.
Top optional extras include the hi-fi Bang & Olufsen sound system, the adaptive air suspension, head-up display, adaptive cruise control, which employs four radar sensors, a video camera, and ultrasonic sensors to determine when to accelerate. But these are just a few of the gadgets that are a must-have for this level of clientele.
On the road, the car feels a bit on the rigid side, with a suspension setting created for sporty driving. The suspension can be adjusted to individual preference if a driver opts for the smart air suspension.
The same choice of automatic or manual applies to the gearbox. Gearshifts can be set to automatic or they can be controlled via the paddles behind the steering wheel. The 0-100 km/hr sprint can be done in a bit over six seconds, while fuel consumption is less than 9.0 L/100km
There is a generous space in the A7 for four adults and the long boot has a load capacity of 535-litre – I mention this if a driver also needs a practical reason to buy this model.
This model is a love-or-hate car, some find it charming and will pay a premium to be behind its wheel, others will just find it an impractical and strange breed. As cars at this segment are bought with the eyes and the heart, it is worth giving this a try.

Vital statistics
Tested car version: 2,967cc 90-deg V6 turbodiesel, seven-speed twin-clutch automatic, four-wheel drive
Power/torque: 241bhp @ 4,000rpm/ 369lb ft @ 1,400rpm
Top speed: Electronically limited to 250 km/h
Acceleration: zero to 100 km/h in 6.5 sec
Fuel economy: 6 l/100km (Combined)
CO2 emissions: 158g/km
Price/ on sale in Romania: starting at 61,250 Euro including VAT

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