There is no doubt that the A7 has an impressive array of talents. It’s handsome, spacious, and practical, too. The 3.0-litre TFSI injects the Sportback with character, and provides class-leading performance. The only slight chink in its armour is price, as there are plenty of Audi models lower in the range which provide the same blend of comfort and quality.
It's Audi’s answer to the Mercedes CLS! Auto Express has already driven the diesel A7, but how does the flagship V6 petrol stack up?
Well, as with all A7 models, there’s a clean simplicity to the fastback design that’s really desirable. We love the distinctive tapered rear end, which borrows its retractable spoiler from the TT coupé and adds a sporty edge to the whole shape.
Video: watch CarBuyer's video review of the Audi A7 Sportback
On the move, you’re struck by both the supple ride and the cabin’s eerie hush. It’s supremely quiet and composed – although that’s thanks to the optional (£2,000) adaptive air-suspension. Whether cruising on the motorway or charging through corners, this keeps the A7’s long body tightly controlled – which makes the Sportback an ideal grand tourer.
Fit and finish are immaculate, and hi-tech optional kit such as the beautifully integrated £1,175 MMI sat-nav, £300 LED ambient lighting and £2,100 night vision camera make the A7 feel like a slimmed-down A8. The roomy individual rear seats, meanwhile, allow passengers to lounge in space and luxury.
The supercharged 296bhp 3.0-litre V6 is a charismatic unit with 440Nm of torque. It propels the car from 0-62mph in only 5.6 seconds, has a deliciously smooth delivery and emits a pleasingly raucous exhaust note.
This is no frugal diesel, of course, yet with stop-start as standard it manages 34.5mpg combined. On the road, the steering feels too artificial to make the A7 a true driver’s car, but with plenty of grip from the quattro four-wheel-drive system and a seamless seven-speed S tronic auto, the Audi is capable of covering distances in comfort and safety at speed.
At £47,000, the A7 is more costly than, say, BMW’s 535 GT. That’s before adding options – and with 95-plus available, it’s easy to get carried away...