New Audi A7 Sportback 55 TFSIe 2019 evaluate

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Audi actually is stepping up its electrification recreation at current – not solely with the e-tron pure-electric SUV, but additionally with an in depth vary of recent hybrids, together with this: the A7 Sportback 55 TFSIe. 

The definitive UK line-up for the plug-in A7 Sportback remains to be being finalised, however we’d anticipate the 55 TFSIe to be supplied in two trim ranges – Competitors and Competitors Vorsprung. There’s additionally a much less potent 50 TFSIe, with 295bhp, that shall be supplied with a wider vary of trim ranges.

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By the way, all the above also needs to apply to the plug-in hybrid variations of the A6, which may even arrive shortly.

The powertrain selection is an fascinating one, as a result of within the case of the hybrids not less than, it reminds us that the A7 is extra carefully linked to the A6 than it’s the A8. For whereas the range-topping limo (and the Q7) use a system based mostly on a six-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, the A6 and A7 make do with a four-cylinder turbocharged petrol motor.

That engine produces 248bhp, and when mixed with a single electrical motor, the whole system output is 362bhp – sufficient, Audi claims, for the A7 Sportback to achieve 62mph in 5.6 seconds and a high velocity of 155mph. And this in a automobile that may journey for about 26 miles on electrical energy alone, keep in mind, because of a 14.1kWh battery that’ll take about two and a half hours to cost by way of a 7kW home wallbox.

These efficiency figures are spectacular sufficient – and as close to as dammit a match for the present quickest ‘non-S7’ model of the Sportback, in actual fact. However in follow, the hybrid powertrain falls a little bit wanting the type of brilliance that somebody spending what’s prone to be virtually £80,000 ought to anticipate.

It’s not that the TFSIe feels gradual total; somewhat that you just do should dig a little bit deeper into its reserves of efficiency than you’ll on an enormous diesel motor (or a six-cylinder hybrid just like the A8’s). And whenever you do that, the noise from beneath the bonnet isn’t any higher than you may hear on a daily sizzling hatchback; the four-cylinder motor spools up easily sufficient, however its notice remains to be a great distance from the character of Audi’s super-refined V6. Describing it as an ‘equipment’ can be too robust, however you get the concept.

Equally, the dual-clutch auto gearbox isn’t fairly as achieved a performer because the single-clutch eight-speed auto that options within the Q7 and A8. And it retains typical DSG quirks, such because the occasional jerky shift.

It’s maybe stating the apparent, subsequently, to say that the A7 TFSIe’s finest moments are these performed on electrical energy alone. It’s solely real looking to deal with a 15 or 20-mile commute, together with not less than a little bit of motorway mileage, with no need the petrol engine in any respect. And in that setting, the A7’s intelligent hybrid tech – which makes use of navigation knowledge and site visitors circulate to assist handle the battery cost degree – makes it a really interesting and astonishingly refined companion.

The cabin helps with this too, in fact. As in different A7s, you possibly can’t assist however be impressed by the standard of the supplies, the rock-solid construct high quality and the quantity of gadgetry and expertise aboard. Audi’s Digital Cockpit appears to be like as crisp and slick in operation as ever – however the haptic-feedback touchscreens (which require a prolonged prod out of your finger as an alternative of a faucet) are a little bit extra fiddly to make use of, particularly on the transfer.

The remainder of the A7 expertise stays the identical – the steering is correct and has some weight to it, nevertheless it’s fairly uncommunicative, so whereas the automobile is fairly straightforward to position on the highway, it by no means comes near being involving to drive. The trip isn’t good, both; as with the non-hybrid editions, we suspect this shall be a automobile that’s notably vulnerable to adjustments in wheel measurement. Select probably the most excessive diameter alloys at your peril.

The counter to our issues in regards to the powertrain, in fact, is that Audi says A7 Sportback clients are extra targeted on effectivity than patrons of the Q7 and A8. And there’s no denying that the effectivity figures are spectacular for a automobile of this measurement and velocity; relying on wheel measurement and trim degree, the 55 TFSIe quattro has official rankings of 149mpg and simply 44g/km of CO2 emissions. These numbers alone ought to make the hybrid A7 Sportback one of many extra interesting fashions within the line-up – even when it does really feel a little bit brief on soul in contrast with a few of its stablemates.