Mercedes was the first to offer a racier executive choice with the striking 2004 CLS, but Audi has taken up the idea with most zeal, giving us first the A5 Sportback, a five-door coupé derived from the A4, and now the A7, whose arrival pre-empts that of a new A6.
The CLS is a saloon and BMW’s 5-series GT is a somewhat bulky-looking hatchback, whereas the A7, like the A5, is a low-roofed five-door coupé. Indeed, so close is the A7 to the A5 that you could almost consider it a 105.5 per cent recreation of the same car, this percentage being the difference in length between them, although the price hike is rather larger. Audi is certainly driving its new models into tight niches these days.
The A7 range starts at £43,755 and is relatively compact for now, consisting of a pair of V6 petrols – a 201bhp 2.8-litre and a 296bhp 3.0-litre – and 3.0 TDI diesels of 201bhp and 242bhp, all offered in either SE or the pricier S-line trims. Quattro four-wheel drive is standard on all but the lower-powered 3.0 TDI, and it’s the £48,000 3.0 TDI quattro SE we test here.