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Second-generation Audi A7 Sportback debuts. Image by Audi.

Second-generation Audi A7 Sportback debuts
All-new Audi A7 showcases its latest design and technology
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2018-02-07: First drive: 2018 Audi A7 Sportback

What's all this about?

The all-new, second-generation Audi A7 Sportback has made its debut, and like the recently introduced A8, this model will also feature an all-hybrid powertrain offering. It retains a similar silhouette to its predecessor, but Audi has softened off its look to make it a bit less divisive. Most notably, that sloping, low rear-end no longer appears as low.

So, all A7s are going to be hybrid?

Yes, but in this case, to give its official name, mild hybrid electric vehicles or MHEVs. This type of setup comprises a smaller capacity battery that is topped up through energy recuperation, rather than having to be plugged into the mains. During certain driving situations, namely when cruising on the motorway for example, the car can shut off the combustion engine and allow the car to freewheel or coast.

The on-board battery takes over powering the necessary systems like the steering, brake servo as well as keeping the automatic transmission primed. It can do this for up to 40 seconds at a time. Then a belt alternator starter system is employed to restart the engine in a near-seamless fashion.

Will there be a plug-in version?

While it is unlikely to be launched until after the A7 is introduced around March 2018, Audi is working on a plug-in hybrid version of the A7, and this may also feature the wireless charging capability that has already been shown on the new A8. We expect the electric-only driving range to increase slightly over existing average ranges.

OK. What has changed on the exterior?

Every single panel on this latest A7 is new and when viewed side-by-side with the pervious model you can clearly see the differences. Like the A8, it now has a more prominent single-frame grille on the front, and the headlights adopt a sharper style. The A7's headlights have a distinct daytime running light design and laser headlights - distinguished by a blue 'X' design - are available as an option.

One of the more dramatic design elements is the more defined shoulder line, which has moved right down the side of the car and runs through the door handles. It's an interesting feature and lowers the bulk of the car right down to give it a noticeable presence. The roofline is sloping and the liftback tailgate remain.

It's at the rear where the new A7 differs a great deal from the previous model. One single light element runs the full width of the rear, integrating the tail lights. LED lights are standard, but the optional OLED setup brings a novelty animation that plays through the lights upon locking and unlocking of the car. It sounds a bit gimmicky but it also looks pretty cool at the same time.

What about the interior?

Almost all of the physical buttons inside the cabin are gone, replaced with a collection of high-definition touchscreens. Starting with the driver's seat, the familiar Virtual Cockpit display has come in for a revamp and looks as good as ever. Similar to the arrangement in the new A8, the centre console carries a 10.1- and 8.6-inch touchscreen setup. However, the top section of the console in the A7 is angled more towards the driver. As for the rest of the cabin it appears to be finished to a very high standard, something that Audi has a solid reputation for doing.

When will it arrive?

The new Audi A7 will be available to order early in 2018, and full pricing will be revealed closer to that time.

Dave Humphreys - 19 Oct 2017

2018 Audi A7 Sportback. Image by Audi.2018 Audi A7 Sportback. Image by Audi.2018 Audi A7 Sportback. Image by Audi.2018 Audi A7 Sportback. Image by Audi.2018 Audi A7 Sportback. Image by Audi.

2018 Audi A7 Sportback. Image by Audi.2018 Audi A7 Sportback. Image by Audi.2018 Audi A7 Sportback. Image by Audi.2018 Audi A7 Sportback. Image by Audi.2018 Audi A7 Sportback. Image by Audi.    - Audi road tests
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