Audi has just revealed its new A7 Sportback, a “four-door coupe” in the European fashion that slots between Audi’s A6 and A8 sedans. The A7 will debut in Europe this fall, starting around €50,000, and will likely launch in the US sometime next year with the S4′s 3.0 supercharged V6 making 300hp. Which makes the A7 something of a larger S4 (or smaller A8) for fashion victims, a general strategy Audi largely got right with its A5 Sportback. The big question going into today’s reveal: would Audi’s stylists be able to pen a distinctive enough vehicle to differentiate the A7 from its closely-packed siblings. Based on our first peek, we’d say they pretty much pulled it off, as the A7 looks sharp enough to hang with the Jaguars, Panameras and Quattroportes of the world. But just how many sales will be pulled into Audi by a cab-rearward take on the A8′s perhaps overly-bland looks still remains very much to be seen.
Forget car design awards. Forget internet polls. The perfect automotive barometer is the filling station. And if barometers could wet their pants, this one would need its jeans urgently back in the washing machine, as our oranger-than-orange Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Ralliart (that’s a handful) pulled into the fuel station. The second time this hour, actually. Faster than you could say ‘Premium Unleaded’, the fuel attendant stormed our tester with cries of joy and wonder, proceeding to proudly recite its technical specification better than we could. After failing to receive a positive answer for his honest attempt for a ‘short spin’, he documented this automotive phenomenon with enough photos to create a 3D rendering and proclaimed that we should fill ‘er up with Regular Unleaded.