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Audi A7: Test Drive Review

Date: 07 January 2011   |   Author:

Category: Executive
P11D price: £46,807
Key rival: Mercedes-Benz CLS

If there's a niche, Audi seems determined to fill it at the moment - the German firm's model range has multiplied like rabbits from 17 a decade ago to a huge 35 now with the arrival of the A7.

Entirely as you'd expect, it slots into the range between the executive A6 and the luxury A8 saloons, meeting the Mercedes CLS head-on in the domain of swooping four-door coupe-styled premium machines.

The A7 certainly turns heads, with the most common flattering comment being the resemblance, inside and out, to something close to a Jaguar. From the front, the family likeness to the A5 coupe is clear, while the squat almost retro rear end lends some much-needed style and aggression to a brand that's traditionally quite conservative on the looks front, at least with its core products.

The Audi A7 has been designed to squeeze in between the Mercedes CLS and BMW's take on how to fill this gap between executive and luxury sectors - the 5-series GT, a car that is a more upright, almost premium Nissan Qashqai or of faux-off-roader or people carrier, and significantly more boxy than its German rivals. The A7 has a hatchback rather than the Merc CLS's saloon boot, but retains a coupe style not evident in BMW's GT. That boot is actually larger than either of its rivals, if a little on the shallow side, but with the seats down, the boxy BMW out-points the A7's 1390-litre space by 310 litres.

But you certainly pay for the style. This A7, powered by the 245hp 3.0-litre diesel that will account for 70% of sales, costs around £8500 more than the new A6 saloon with the same engine. Audi hasn't yet released full spec details for its new A6, but it's safe to presume that the A7's specification will be higher, with the SE trim level including navigation among the array of goodies in what's an unusually generous equipment list for a premium brand. And the A7 is cheaper than its Mercedes rival and records a better depreciation figure too.

To drive, the A7 is exactly how you'd expect it to be: refined, comfortable and with excellent performance from the 3.0-litre diesel that still manages at 158g/km to get below the 161g/km CO2 emissions boundary.

Although the BMW has a better cost per mile thanks to a significantly lower P11D price, we'd still choose the Audi. At this end of the market, the latter's superior style, equipment and appeal will count for enough that it will be a car that executives will look to get their hands on - if they can afford it.

Audi A7 3.0 TDI SE
P11D price£47,790
Model price range£43,755-£49,860
Fuel consumption47.1mpg
CO2 (tax) 158g/km (22%)
BIK 20/40% per month£179/£359
Service intervalvariable miles
Insurance (1-50)group 42
Boot space min/max535/1390 litres
Engine size/power2967cc/245hp
Top speed/0-62mph155mph/6.3secs
On sale October 2010
VerdictHigh P11D makes it
an emotion-led decision


High P11D makes it an emotion-led decision