By on October 19, 2017

Audi A7 sportback

One of the biggest problems with buying a new car is that it’ll start looking dated in a few year’s time. Audi doesn’t have this problem. By keeping a relatively consistent design language for over a decade, you really have to squint to pin down which models are new and which ones aren’t. That effect is lessened when you actually climb inside one, though.

Such is the story with the new A7 Sportback. First glances leave you mumbling to yourself, “That certainly is an Audi.” But it’s the finer details that point to it being something wholly unique and modern.

This leaves us in a gray area, wondering whether Audi’s styling decisions are incredibly lazy or absolute genius. The company doesn’t wow you with flamboyant newness or dramatic bodywork but the fact remains that it continues to deliver exceptionally handsome cars that are inoffensive enough to remain relevant several years on. 

Audi A7 sportback

For the A7, that translates to a model that looks quite a bit similar to its predecessor despite being completely redesigned both inside and out. During its unveiling, CEO Rupert Stadler claimed the 2019 Audi A7 represented the company “fulfilling a promise” to provide a new design language.

While we’re not about to claim the new model looks all that different from the previous generation, we will submit to how similar the A7 looks to the new A8. The two share a similar single-piece taillight, grille, and headlights — though the smaller Audi’s is a bit more slanted. This makes sense as both cars are based on the latest evolution of the company’s MLB platform.

Audi A7 sportback

The taillight sits beneath a retractable spoiler that springs to life above 75 mph, while the headlights come with distinctive LED graphics in one of three possible designs. Both sources of illumination put on brief shows whenever the car starts up or shuts down.

With shorter overhangs front and rear, the new A7 sees a 0.6-inch reduction from the previous car’s overall length. Audi also saw fit to add some creases to the vehicle’s flanks, giving it a touch more drama when viewed from the side. There’s also an optional S line body kit that provides more aggressive front and rear fascias, sills, and unique trim pieces.

Audi A7 sportback

Like the A8 flagship, Audi’s A7 features a new 48-volt mild-hybrid powertrain in every incarnation. Upon launch, the first models will use the familiar turbocharged 3.0-liter V6. However the automaker is replacing the eight-speed automatic with a new seven-speed dual-clutch. Audi says it should be good for 340 horsepower and propel the all-wheel-drive “hatchback” with four-door coupe styling to 62 mph in 5.3 seconds. Its top speed will be electronically governed to 155 mph.

Meanwhile, the combination alternator and starter is able to regenerate up to 12.0 kilowatts of energy. That power is routed into the vehicle’s 48-volt system, which helps lessen overall fuel consumption. The 2019 A7 also has an automatic start/stop system linked to predictive autonomous capabilities, allowing the car to creep through slow-moving traffic. A fuel-saving mode shuts down the engine when coasting at speeds between 34 and 100 mph.

Audi A7 sportback

The interior takes plenty of suggestions from the A8, providing an uncluttered look that’s heavy on technology. There is a 12.3-inch digital instrument display, with a 10.1-inch infotainment touchscreen integrated within the center of the dash. Below that is a secondary 8.6-inch unit mounted closer to the base of the center console. Both of the center screens offer standard touch control with haptic and acoustic feedback.

Audi claims interior comfort has been upgraded via 21 millimeters (eight-tenths of an inch) of added legroom and improved seating with gobs of adjustable vectors and massage capabilities. The automaker claims it placed a stronger emphasis on building a quieter cabin with more space for rear occupants. Cargo capacity remains unchanged from the previous generation, however.

Audi A7 sportback

Optional extras include a heads-up display unit, voice control, four separate sound systems (including a Bang & Olufsen unit with 3D surround-sound), Matrix LED headlamps with laser projection, remote parking pilot and, remote garage pilot. Unavailable at launch, the remote garage pilot autonomously drives the A7 in and out of parking spaces without a driver present.

The Sportback will have additional autonomous capabilities, including up to five radar sensors, five cameras, a laser scanner, and 12 ultrasonic sensors. Depending on how it’s equipped, Audi says the car will include 39 driver assist systems. But even the more basic trims will include things like adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking.

The all-new Audi A7 goes on sale in Germany before spring and will reach North American showrooms by the end of 2018. Pricing is unannounced as of yet, but expect it to come in above $70,000 even before adding bells and/or whistles. 

Audi A7 sportback

[Images: Audi]

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38 Comments on “First Look: 2019 Audi A7 Sportback...”


  • avatar
    Cactuar

    Can you please provide pictures of the older A7 side by side? It would make the comparison more meaningful.

  • avatar
    BrentinWA

    Is this picture of the new one or the old one? I can’t tell.

    • 0 avatar
      TonyJZX

      there’s a reason for that – if you’re on a winner, why change

      it also helps preserve resale if the old one isnt suddenly made yesterdays news

      i really like it – and i hate VAG products

      i would call it rampant conservatively attractive

      there’s no design feature at all objectionable, well done audi

      this is like the starkley beautiful blonde

      • 0 avatar
        threeer

        This…especially if you are an owner of a previous gen. I’d think it would help keep values (relatively speaking) high, since your older variant wouldn’t look 20 years removed from the current one.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Can easily tell the 2 apart and the new one is kinda disappointing exterior-wise.

      The shape of the hexagonal grille is more ungainly and don’t like what they did to the headlights and taillights.

    • 0 avatar
      uofsc93

      The rear of the old one looked like Darth Vader’s helmet. This one looks like a Cylon Raider.

  • avatar
    TheDoctorIsOut

    As long as you’re focused on the front or rear the difference is discernible, unlike the A4 where you really have to squint hard and look at where the tailpipes are to really know.

  • avatar
    willhaven

    “One of the biggest problems with buying a new car is that it’ll start looking dated in a few year’s time. Audi doesn’t have this problem.”

    I beg to differ. Every new Audi model looks exactly the same as its predecessor and I’m sure this doesn’t help depreciation.

    I’m personally bored with Audi’s design scheme. It’s a little too generic, though their interiors are very much intriguing.

  • avatar
    bking12762

    This is going to go over like a fart in church, but I’m going to say it anyway; So, the 2018 Accord is an fugly, chrome-unibrowed, hideous, disfigured beast, but the Audi is something to behold….

  • avatar
    Ermel

    Sigh. Audis. They’re supposed to be the antidote to what a Citroen fan like me should want, aren’t they? So I don’t want to like them.

    But I do.

  • avatar
    eyeofthetiger

    What is so sporty abou tit? 340 HP is piddly these days.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Kids today may not know this but there was a time when Audi’s designs were fresh and original. This is the saddest case of design paralysis I can remember in a long time. As good as Audis are it’s not like they are so iconic they have to preserve the design…. and even with cars like the 911 there are clear differences from generation to generation. What a shame

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      And yet, I find them about the best looking cars on the road. So why mess with success?

      Sadly, I don’t like how they drive, so I have never owned one.

      • 0 avatar
        gmichaelj

        Except for the ridiculously large air intakes(?) under the headlights, which seem to be all the rage these days, I would agree the Audi looks sharp.

        Given they have a style perhaps they are going for a “style reputation”?

        • 0 avatar
          Cactuar

          Are the plastic intakes made of superior plastic on an Audi? The part probably costs a whole lot more than the Civic’s plastic intakes. Is it “premium” plastic though?

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        @ krhodes – Yep, we’re in an era of overwrought design. Gigantic wheels and squinty headlights in the first photo notwithstanding, VW/Audi seems to be the one company consistently bucking that trend.

        In a world of Jukes and 4th-gen Priuses, the current Jetta, for example, is a clean, refreshing design.

  • avatar
    Tele Vision

    There might be a method to their madness. My Mom; my sister; my friend’s Mom; and two guys I know from work have all bought new A6s. My Mom is on her second A6, after an A4. My friend’s ( he’s a former S8 owner ) Mom is on her fourth A6 ( she gave one to another son and bought the same car in a different colour ) and my sister is on her second A6, after an illegal Q7 and, long before, a Gen I TT. The two guys at work have each had two A6s.

    Perhaps the styling, such as it is, is more of a brand unto itself than just pretty new bodywork every few years that might dissuade current owners.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    It’s stunningly beautiful in my opinion.

  • avatar
    pmirp1

    The front view and rear view are stunning. The side rear profile could be better. May be not as beautiful as the original, but a looker nonetheless. The interior is fantastic, except for stupidity of having no knobs or buttons for AC/Heating and radio. Ahh well. I guess they are going after the Tesla model S customer with a starting price of 70k. I think at those prices, I take my model S over this, but if there is a great lease, this may have a chance.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    I would like to own an Audi – love their design language up ‘n’ down the range – but my VW experiences make me shy away. And this from a 4-time BMW (and MINI) owner!

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      I’m curious as to B&B Audi owners’ collective experience. I had an aunt and uncle who owned four or five Audis from ~1984 until ~2016. They never seemed to have any issues, but they weren’t a good test case. Neither of them drove to work, so the cars just got weekend & evening and roadtrip duty.

      The VW owners I know have not had great experiences:
      – a relatively problematic B5 Passat
      – a very problematic Passat CC
      – an A5 Beetle convertible in which the passenger window regulator failed about one month into ownership. In fairness to that car, it’s been fine for the two years since then.

      The cynic in me also says that VW/Audi is intentionally dragging its feet on bringing dual injection to its US-market cars, lest it be seen as a mea culpa for the carbon buildup issues its DI-only engines have had.

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        Coming up to six years of ownership on my 2012 model. So far one rattle on driver’s side window (warranty), and one broken trunk hinge cover (out of warranty, $20 on eBay). Previous two Audis (1997 and 2004 models) were decently reliable, one set of coil packs notwithstanding, but this one has been near flawless.

  • avatar
    33873

    The front ends looks like the new Accord, but classy and well done.

  • avatar
    4drSedan

    Nailed It!

  • avatar
    Fordson

    “This leaves us in a gray area, wondering whether Audi’s styling decisions are incredibly lazy or absolute genius.”

    Leaves me wondering if we could get Adderall scripts for the design teams at Toyota, Lexus and Honda. Time-release, please.

    Also, why is “hatchback” in quotes? It IS a hatchback.

  • avatar
    cdnsfan27

    Matt, personal pet peeve of mine, it is a head up display and not a heads up display.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    I’ve always liked how Audis look even without ever wanting to own one. I feel as though I don’t have the personality required to pull one off. This is another clean design which doesn’t rely on garish lines and weird angles a la Toyota, Nissan and Honda (specifically with the Civic – which doesn’t seem like it’ll age well at all).

    When Kia poached Audis design boss their cars started looking conservatively handsome, if nothing too special (I owned one for awhile and appreciated its clean lines). Now they’ve turned into amorphous blobs again and make me wretch.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    I think it looks fantastic, and I liked but didn’t love the first gen.

    I didn’t realize it was only going to be available as a hybrid. Don’t love that, since IMO it adds unneeded complexity for very little real-world gain. Plus I am wary of their ability to integrate everything smoothly, but I guess we shall see. I’m not in the market for a car this $$$ anyways, so what I think doesn’t much matter.

  • avatar
    EX35

    What’s the latest on Audi reliability? If you go by consumer reports it seems to be Audi has really improved reliability in the last few years. Parsing through Audi blogs makes me think there are less issues with recent Audi models (A6 in particular) than comparable BMWs. Of course no Audi is going to be as reliable as a Lexus, but is the delta between the two makes still huge?

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      My mom abandoned her beloved Lexus for an A6 because Lexus was taking forever with the new ES350. Her decision was partially based on the idea that Audi had shot to the top of the reliability rankings.

  • avatar
    slap

    I used to think that the front grill on the Audis were horribly ugly. But now that Toyota/Lexus has come out with their grills, the Audi grill is barely noticeable.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Looks like a big Hyundai to me, it’s not ugly as much as underwhelming.

  • avatar
    SilverCoupe

    I think it’s gorgeous; they seem to have solved the slightly droopy tail lamps on the previous generation. Unfortunately, it is most likely too long for my small garage, so I will have to eventually replace my A5 with another one or an S5 when the time comes – not that there is any problem with that!

    Regarding consistent styling, people still think that my ’08 A5 is new, not a bad problem to have. Of course, I only have 40K miles on it.

  • avatar
    7402

    “One of the biggest problems with buying a new car is that it’ll start looking dated in a few year’s time.”

    Wow. Just wow. There is an incredible leap from a car “looking dated” to that being a “problem”.

    Of course cars look dated after a few years. This has never stopped me from buying used cars or buying new cars and driving them until the wheels fall off 15+ years later.

    By no stretch is looking dated a problem.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      As long as you keep it nice cosmetically I’ve never considered a car looking “dated” to be a problem.

      In fact if I see a car that is a several years old but cosmetically nice I don’t think “cheapskate” I think “nice car.”

    • 0 avatar
      eyeofthetiger

      “Looking dated” is a self-fulfilling prophecy that causes manufacturers to “refresh” and usually ruin perfectly good designs.

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