In America, “hatchback” is an automotive four-letter word. It reminds us of acute times, gas lines, delinquent inflation, ’70s malaise, and authoritative due with the bald minimum. Pinto, Vega, Chevette, and Gremlin memories still amble in 40- and 50-something minds like the alarming ring-around-the-collar.Baggage.
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No such four-letter accoutrements in Europe, though. Hatchbacks there accept consistently been apparent as applied and in no absolute faculty a alarming bargain of appearance for avarice and affordability. Why? They had bigger examples.
FIRST LOOK: 2019 AUDI A7
Taken to a comfortable extreme, Audi’s aboriginal A7, which debuted in 2011 as a 2012 actuality in America, gave avant-garde buyers a added applied and beautiful Plan B to the midsized affluence sedan. Based on the A6, it offered 4 doors, a big and avant-garde hatch, and added accumulator flexibility, but additionally a raffish, sportier contour with altered bodywork. Now, as the new 2019 archetypal debuts, able is prologue.
The A7 wears its acceptation with subtlety. If Frank Lloyd Wright were arcade for an Audi, he’d accept the A7. Compared to the A6 on which it’s based, the A7 sports a lower roof, frameless windows, greater accumbent accents, and alternating front- and rear-end treatments. It’s additionally a blow added and feels a bit added hunkered bottomward than the A6, both visually and as you drive.
Other affluence automakers accept additionally played in this nichey sandbox, Mercedes actuality aboriginal in the bazaar with its non-hatch CLS based on the E-Class. BMW has fumfered about with auto 5 Series and 6 Series models aback 2010 (the abysmally animal 5 Series GT actuality its first) and currently offers both a 6 Series Gran Coupe (a 4-door admitting the ambiguous name) with a accepted block and a 6 Series Gran Turismo with a bear rear, neither of which amalgamate both the brio and the acumen of the A7.
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We talked with the A7’s designer, Sebastiano Russo, about a few basic keys for the A7. “It charge be avant-garde,” Russo says, “but it charge additionally be romantic. And the rear charge accept a boattail-shaped rear like a archetypal speedboat.” Mission able then, admitting the adventurous allotment is added analytic than the others.
Only four small, specific items abode a aggregate bang adjoin the A7 visually. A duo of antiquated alarm assemblage bulges up avant-garde blemish the grille. Also, a brace of affected bankrupt outlets in the lower rear bonanza apish that joy-thing of car-nutty kids the apple over. The fauxhausts ability anticipate atramentous accession about the ablaze tips, but on a affluence car, it’s a faux-pas.
The new A7’s autogenous is about absolutely aggregate with the all-new A6 sedan, application a mix of top-shelf abstracts including open-pore matte accomplished wood, piano atramentous birr surfaces, brushed aluminum, and leather, with multi-adjustable seats in front. The rear bench accommodates three cartage and aback folded, opens up a big 49 cu.-ft. of burden space.
The added cogent change from the aftermost A7, though, is Audi’s new MMI touch-response infotainment interface. In abode of the aloft rotary punch selector on the centermost console, this new MMI uses two smartphone aggressive touchscreens, one in the centermost of the birr and one aloof beneath it, avant-garde on the console.
The 10.1-inch high awning focuses mostly on audio, aeronautics map, depicting alien cameras, and assorted beneath important accessory settings. All altitude functions are apparent in the lower, 8.6-inch screen. Tapping and annexation are the ascribe methods for both.
You can additionally address inputs at the lower awning by feel for Google or aeronautics searches and the arrangement recognizes abounding words, not abandoned letter-by-letter inputs. You can actualize up to 32 basic buttons in the lower awning as shortcuts, which alarm up your best often-selected radio stations, destinations for navigation, or buzz numbers. Actual convenient.
The abandoned actual accepted bulge anywhere controls volume, admitting that is additionally bombastic with the punch on the council wheel.
Swiping the high awning brings into appearance audio, navigation, buzz settings, and added functions. Each of these is color-coordinated as well, and if you hover a feel over, say, aeronautics after selecting it, the accomplishments glows dejected afore it’s selected. The apriorism actuality is your borderline eyes will analyze things while your eyes break on the road.
New articulation acceptance software enables added accustomed accent commands for audio, navigation, and altitude control. Shout “I’m cold” and you’ll be asked what temperature you’d like the berth (I absolutely activated that). Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, too.
The new A7 can save seven altered disciplinarian profiles, autumn up to 400 contour adjustments like bench and mirror placements, climate, and autogenous lighting. These profiles additionally accommodate admired radio stations, adopted accent settings, added Drive Select preferences (engine, transmission, and abeyance adjustments) and choices for apparatus array graphics.
The new A7’s ability comes from a 335-horsepower, 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 that additionally makes 369 lb.-ft. of torque, a bang of 44 lb.-ft. over the last-generation V6. Admitting this turbo V6 is quiet in operation, it’s additionally quick, extensive 60 mph in a claimed 5.2 seconds, admitting I’d action that it is absolutely a bit faster.
Audi’s twin-clutch 7-speed manual backs up the V6 area Audi has absolutely been axis aback to accepted torque-converter automatics over the able two years. This twin-clutch assemblage behaves for all the apple as calmly as a accepted automatic, yet responds like a twin-clutch aback active hard. It will backslide to automated approach if you leave the about-face paddles abandoned for any breadth of time, though. Of course, quattro all-wheel drive sends the ability to all four corners.
At a ample 4,332 pounds, the A7 is no lightweight, but allotment decidedly acceptable ammunition economy, at 22/29/25 mpg in city/highway/combined driving. It’s additionally a balmy amalgam (MHEV), autumn the added array business beneath the rear floor.
With the accommodating and alternative Sport abeyance that uses adaptive air springs and dampers, the A7 handled Northern California wine country’s arced anchorage like a able sports sedan. Body cycle in abrupt corners builds abandoned marginally, and again abundant braking additionally instills confidence. Even admitting the council is not the best candid on the market, it is still actual authentic and requires a abating atom of added accomplishment aback blame things.
Audi’s additionally at the beginning of avant-garde lighting technology, and the A7 uses either two-element LED headlights (standard on Premium trim), headlights application assorted LED segments (Premium Added trim), or HD matrix-design LED headlights (Prestige trim) that, with a software update, will accredit approaching adjustable and acute lighting that shades advancing drivers, aspersing dazzle. This closing arrangement is itself apprehension a blooming ablaze from U.S. government regulators. The A7 additionally uses across-the-board LED taillights that actualize motion from about-face signals and aback locking or unlocking the car.
Pricing for the A7 begins at $68,995, a advantageous $10,000 aloft the A6 sedan, and spans to $77,295 for the top Prestige trim. As ever, brio can be pricey.
Aboriginal Pictures: 2019 Audi A7 Sportback
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