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Used car tests

Used Audi A7 (Mk2, 2018-date) review: a classy and comfortable motorway cruiser

A full used buyer’s guide on the Audi A7 covering the A7 Mk2 that’s been on sale since 2018

Verdict

The Audi A7 is quite costly to buy and it can be expensive to run, but it really is one of those cars that does everything so well that, if you can afford one, there’s no reason not to consider it. The Audi will transport five people in comfort over huge distances, it’s fast, refined, well equipped and easy to drive, well made and has safety covered with all of the latest hi-tech equipment. The A7 is also an accomplished tow car, because it can pull around two tonnes with ease. Plus with most examples featuring the security of quattro four-wheel drive, this is a year-round executive express. What the A7 can’t do is provide thrills, because in typical Audi fashion its steering is rather inert, while the car’s sheer size means it will never be that much fun to hustle along your favourite B-road.

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Whereas hatchbacks have been the staple of many European brands for years, the big three prestige German car makers (Audi, BMW, Mercedes) failed to really embrace the breed until relatively recently.

BMW and Audi first tackled the mass market with the 3 Series Compact and A3 respectively back in the nineties, and in time both would adopt the bodystyle further up their model ranges, with the 5 Series GT and A7 Sportback. Both of these were a response to Mercedes introducing its swoopy CLS four-door coupé in 2004, a car that achieved far more success than its maker had hoped for or expected.

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Audi aimed to raise the bar further with a car every bit as capable and luxurious, but with the added practicality of a fifth door, and the A7 hit the spot magnificently.

History

The A7 Mk2 arrived in the UK in April 2018. At first there were two engines – a 335bhp 3.0 TFSI V6 petrol unit or a 282bhp 3.0 V6 TDI diesel – but by June 2018 a 227bhp 3.0 V6 TDI had joined the range. Two months later the 201bhp 2.0 TDI arrived, then a 2.0 TFSI option was added in spring 2019. The first hot edition arrived in summer 2019: the 345bhp S7 TDI, with the familiar 3.0 V6 engine boosted by mild-hybrid tech. This was followed by the 591bhp RS 7, with a twin-turbo 4.0 V8 engine, in January 2020.

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For those who wanted greater economy, a plug-in hybrid arrived in summer 2019, with either 295bhp (50 TFSI e) or 362bhp (55 TFSI e). A facelift in August 2023 brought refreshed styling front and rear, along with extra standard equipment.

Which one should I buy?

There are no poor choices that you should be wary of; the V6 engines (both petrol and diesel) provide the punch that you’d expect from a car of this size, but the four-cylinder units are far from weak.

Half of the A7s on the market are S lines, and most of the rest are Black Editions. The entry-level Sport model is rare; this comes with LED headlights, 19-inch alloys, leather trim, LED ambient cabin lighting, a powered tailgate, navigation, a digital dashboard, plus front and rear parking sensors and a rear camera. S line adds sport suspension and front seats, matrix LED headlights, a bodykit and 20-inch wheels.

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Predictably, the options list was long. Key extras to look out for include adaptive air suspension, a panoramic glass sunroof, Milano leather and heated rear seats.

Alternatives to the Audi A7

The BMW 5 Series GT is the A7’s natural rival, and it’s an impressive car with an incredibly spacious cabin that feels truly premium, and a range of efficient engines.

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No less desirable is the Porsche Panamera, which is sleek, beautifully built and practical, but unsurprisingly you’ll have to dig deep to buy and run one. There also aren’t many for sale, so you’ll probably have to wait and travel to find the right one.

The car that started the four-door coupé trend was the Mercedes CLS. This lasted for three generations and it’s a great alternative to the A7, thanks to its luxurious cabin and powerful engines, although its saloon configuration means it’s not as practical as the Audi with its hatchback.

What to look for

Power trip

For those who don’t feel that 591bhp is enough, the RS 7 Performance was fitted with a 621bhp 4.0 V8 from April 2023.

Engines

The 45 and 50 TDI have a 3.0 V6 (227 and 282bhp), the 40 TFSI uses a four-cylinder engine, and the 55 TFSI has a 335bhp 3.0 V6.

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Reliability

So far there don’t seem to be any major fault patterns, but electrical glitches are the most common bugbear, so check everything.

Four-wheel drive

Most A7s on the market have a quattro drivetrain, but with some engines this is a full-time system, whereas in others it’s part-time.

Interior

The A7 sits high in the Audi range, and its cabin is every bit as good as you’d expect when it comes to the quality of everything from the tactility of the switchgear to the materials used on the seats and panels. Despite lots of standard equipment, the dashboard is user-friendly, although you’ll need to spend some time getting used to it.

Cabin space is also impressive, with plenty of room for those in the back, and reasonable headroom despite the plunging roofline. Boot capacity is equally good, with 535 litres capable of being stowed with the back seats up, or 1,390 litres with them folded down.

Prices

It’ll come as no surprise that the marketplace isn’t awash with used A7s, but we found almost 250 of them, so there’s a reasonable number available. Plug-in hybrids are unusual and there’s an even split between 50 TFSI e and 55 TFSI e models. There aren’t many S7s, but the RS 7 is significantly more common.

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To check prices on a specific model head over to our valuation tool.

Running costs

All A7s come with a choice of fixed or variable maintenance schedules, with the latter the default option. The car flags up when work is due, but the most an A7 can go between services is two years or 18,600 miles, with the work alternating between minor and major.

Services also alternate between minor and major on the fixed-maintenance regime, but this allows only 12 months or 9,600 miles between pit stops. A minor service costs £255 and the major is £465, and on top of this the brake fluid needs to be replaced every other year at £90. Only the 2.0 TDI features a cambelt, which has to be replaced every 140,000 miles at £699; all other engines are chain-driven. The standard warranty runs for three years or 60,000 miles, but can be extended.

Recalls

Audi has recalled the A7 Mk2 three times so far. The first was in June 2020, because almost 35,000 Audis of varying types were fitted with problematic starter-alternators; moisture could get inside them, wreaking havoc. Cars made up to March 2020 were affected and the fix was to fit a replacement unit.

Faulty passenger airbags led to the second recall; this time, A7s made up to December 2020 were affected, along with some A6s. In the event of a collision the airbags could fail to inflate correctly. The most recent campaign was launched in June 2021, because more than 10,000 Audis made between November 2019 and February 2021 left the factory with sub-standard axle components. This recall also included the A4, A5, A6 and Q5, as well as the Q7, Q8, A8 and e-tron.

Driver Power owner satisfaction

The A7 is a niche product that hasn’t appeared in any Driver Power survey, and even the more mainstream A6 has failed to register in either our new or used-car polls. However, this is because relatively few A6s are sold, rather than a result of major shortcomings keeping the car out of the top scorers; last year’s New Car survey included seven Audis, but the brand’s highest-ranking model was the Q3 in 43rd.

Looking to sell your current car quickly and for a good price? We’ve partnered with Motorway to bring you the best offer from its network of UK dealers...

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