Few cars have made more of a dramatic design statement in recent years than the Audi A7. Like rival Mercedes-Benz’s CLS, it helped usher in the era of the coupe-like sedan, though few have come close to capturing the Audi model’s elegance.
What to do for the next act? We’ve just found out, Audi introducing the new 2019 A7 Sportback during an event in Germany and, if anything, it seems to have found ways to improve the original model’s proportions.
But the 2019 remake is about more than just new styling. As with its new, top-of-the-line A8, the new Audi A7 is brimming with the latest in digital technologies. Indeed, it shares many of the infotainment and advanced driver assistance systems, or ADAS, found on the brand’s new flagship.
It would take a good eye to recognize that the 2019 A7 makeover actually loses a bit of length – at 195.6 inches, it’s 0.6 inches shorter, nose-to-tail – and height. But that only enhances the proportions and has no impact on usable interior or cargo space. In fact, there is more of both rear knee and headroom, a welcome note for anyone who has spent time in back of the outgoing A7 coping with the curve of its coupe-like roof.
Visually, you might also need to take a close look to recognize all the exterior changes on the 2019 model. The basic silhouette is nearly identical, though there’s a bit less of the slab-sided sheet metal Audi had preferred in years past. Credit Marc Lichte, who took over as the brand’s design chief in 2013 and is only now getting his new vision into production with the new A7 and A8 models.
The new A7 gets a sharp lower crease, as well as a shoulder line that flows off the front fenders, subtly vanishes, mid-side, and then re-emerges, flowing into the wide new haunches. Indeed, from front or back the 2019 model appears far wider than the old Sportback.
(Audi cutting $12B from budget to accelerate electrification plans. Click Here for the story.)
Nose-on, you’ll spot a larger version of the familiar Audi Singleframe grille, framed by new LED headlamps. And the S-model gets new, larger front air intakes in the lower fascia. Audi actually will offer three different headlight options, including new, long-range laser lamps, though it is unclear if it will get the needed NHTSA approval to bring them here, a challenge that has so far thwarted other competitors, such as BMW.
The rear, often an afterthought for automotive designers, has clearly been top of mind at Audi. The full-width taillights are the most distinctive feature, and consist of 13 individual LED strips.
Inside is where Audi has long made a name for itself, and the new A7 lives up to expectations with a strong and dramatic look that carries over what auto stylists like to call “brand DNA” while adding some distinctive Lichte touches. There’s an emphasis on horizontal lines, with sharp creases adding dramatic relief. If you’ve seen the new Audi A8 you’ll immediately recognize the similarities.
Two touchscreens anchor the center console and immediately signal the range of technology introduced on the new A7. The upper screen measures 10.1 inches, the lower one 8.6 inches. Meanwhile, the reconfigurable gauge cluster is now a 12.3-inch display.
(Click Here for details about Audi’s executive changes.)
Among the many new tech features, Audi is trying to future-proof the new 2019 A7. It introduces Vehicle-to-X services as part of the upgraded Audi Connect technology. This allows the car to send and receive information about things like road conditions and weather. Eventually, all vehicles are expected to chatter away, alerting drivers to potential problems. And there’ll be an infrastructure network, as well.
Like the A8, there’s a range of ADAS technology onboard, including an updated active cruise control here able to maintain you in your lane. Audi apparently decided not to completely steal the new A8’s thunder, however, so the A7 won’t get the big sedan’s new, near-autonomous Traffic Jam Assist technology which can work all but hands-free at speeds up to nearly 40 mph.
The 2019 Audi A7 will be powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter V-6 making 340 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. The engine will be paired to a new seven-speed dual clutch automatic. That’s enough to hit 100 kmh, or 62 mph, in 5.3 seconds. Other engine options will be offered in different markets, and we’ll have to wait for details on the S7 and inevitable RS7.
Like the A8, the coupe-like sedan is a mild hybrid. Here that means using a 48-volt electrical system paired with a lithium-ion battery. You won’t be able to switch to EV mode, but it will allow the engine to completely shut off while coasting at speeds between 34 and 99 mph. And its Stop/Start system will be smart enough to use the ADAS system’s camera to detect traffic, automatically starting back up if it sees a vehicle moving ahead.
(To see more about Audi concept cars revealing an autonomous future, Click Here.)
Audi will roll out the new A7 in Europe in February 2018, but we’ll have to wait until late in the year, at the earliest, for the American version.