Introducing the Audi A7 Sportback
You know a car has impact when both criminal and policeman stop, mid-arrest, to admire you driving past.
That was the rather bizarre scene last month in South Africa as I joined a convoy of pre-released second-generation Audi A7 Sportbacks cruising around suburban Cape Town.
Why Cape Town, you ask? It’s a question I would have asked myself, had I not instantly said ‘yes’ in order to spend
26 hours behind the wheel of an impressive grand touring coupé in some of the world’s most glorious countryside.
So, like any efficient German company, Audi has done its homework. The African cape boasts some truly glorious coast-hugging roads that weave in and out of postcard-friendly scenery. From the imposing backdrop of Table Mountain to the verdant fields of wine country, it is for locations like this that cars like the A7 exist — it’s no wonder that 250,000 of the first generation were sold.
As someone who has never really understood the appeal of cars, the writing of this column has been enlightening. My typical jaunt involves taking out a million-dirham sportscar and nervously testing it in the UAE’s forest of speed cameras, before eventually squeezing into a cramped Spinney’s parking space while running household errands. Cape Town was different. A clear two days where the schedule simply read: Get in car. Drive.
That said, ‘drive’ is a relatively elastic term when it comes to the new A7. The tech inside makes it more akin to a luxury saloon. The higher-end of the new model comes with adaptive cruise control, night vision, and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, all of which allows you to take the hassle out of that ‘driving’ malarkey. When I forgot to signal as I changed lanes to overtake, the car’s steering fought back to ensure that it wasn’t a case of me veering out of my lane by accident. Always signal. Lesson learnt.
Aesthetically, it’s very masculine, with the sporty look of a coupé, and a rather sexy long sloping back, which also affords it huge boot space (enough to fit two golf bags) thanks to its hatchback design. The redesigned front grille and the menacing design of the headlights will likely have your friends drop what they are doing for a closer look — much like the aforementioned copper.
Inside, the A7 is all business, although dressier trims can sport things up a bit for those who want something different. The horizontal layout puts controls within an easy reach, including Audi’s slick MMI infotainment system, which operates via a touchpad and came pre-loaded with GPS routes around the beautiful areas of Stellenbosch, Chapman’s Peak and Betty’s Bay. Fitting scenery for hour-long cruising in limousine-like luxury, added to by the Bang & Olufsen system, which I was all too happy to crank up.
The one thing that kept playing on my mind was just who this car is targeted at. The refined finish, driving aids and approx. price of AED 270,000 (without VAT) says upper management, but the sporty coupé-cool exterior suggests someone more adventurous; someone who needs the boot space and the hungry eyes of others.
Then it hit me: The new Audi A7 Sportback is for people who wouldn’t think twice about jumping on a plane to Cape Town to spend a week revelling in the good life. A life in which the A7 very much belongs.