- Smooth shape, newly chiseled
- Touchscreen-driven cockpit of the now
- Promise of plug-in hybrid
- Succeeds an arresting shape
The 2019 Audi A7 buffs up a winning shape and smooths over the cockpit with touchscreens galore.
The 2019 Audi A7 arrives in showrooms next year with retuned styling, a heaping dose of new technology, and a trio of powertrains.
It's the second generation for the fastback (a hatchback, technically speaking), and it precedes the arrival of a new A6 sedan that shares its mechanicals by a few months.
Audi design chief Marc Lichte and his team penned the new shape, but derive most of it from the 2012 model. The proportions are similar, with a long hood, an elegantly draped roofline, and a long hatch marked by more sharply stamped lines, more trailing cues, and a six-sided grille.
The chiseled new looks extend to the cabin, where digital displays dominate and hard buttons have taken a back seat. The new A7 sheds Audi's old infotainment roller-knob system for one that relies on voice commands and wide touchscreens–a 10.1-inch panel that displays maps and other functions, and a secondary 8.6-inch screen that displays climate functions, drive modes, and accepts handwritten input.
On some models, a 12.3-inch reconfigurable display swaps in where gauges would otherwise fit. That driver-focused screen delivers a host of information, from navigation maps to infotainment functions.
For power, Audi will rely on a range of engines in the new 2019 A7. At launch, all U.S.-market cars will feature a single-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 with 340 horsepower. Equipped with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system, it should spawn a plug-in hybrid model at some point. Future S7 models will likely sport a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V-6, while a V-8-powered RS 7 may make a return.
The latest A7 is built on the Volkswagen Group's MLB II-Evo platform, which it shares with other new models including the Q7 and Q5 SUVs. By using lighter and stiffer materials, engineers have added a half-inch to its wheelbase, though overall length is down marginally and height hasn't changed at all.
An independent suspension and all-wheel drive will be complemented by new technology such as rear-wheel steering, which can dial in up to 5 degrees of countersteer to the rear wheels at parking-lot speeds to help the A7 corner more effectively. The countersteer is dialed down and out as the A7 reaches higher speeds.
Audi's latest self-driving technology will bow on the A7. The hatchback will follow Audi's A8 sedan with Level 3 autonomous capability, which means its Traffic Jam Pilot will be able to control the car without driver input at speeds of up to 37 mph. The system will be introduced, but Audi hasn't promised an on-sale date just yet.
Pricing and fuel economy haven't been announced either. The new 2019 Audi A7 goes on sale in mid-2018 in the U.S. Stay tuned for first drive impressions.