2019 Audi A7 55 TFSI review
Toby Hagon’s 2019 Audi A7 55 TFSI Review With Price, Specs, Performance, Ride And Handling, Ownership, Safety, Verdict And Score.
In a nutshell: Second-generation of Audi’s large coupe-inspired A7 sedan brings fresh design and tech thinking along with a more convincing driver’s car in a package that focuses on value.
2019 Audi A7 55 TFSI Specifications
Price $131,900+ORC Warranty 3 years, unlimited kilometres Service Intervals 12 months, 15,000km Safety N/A Engine 3.0-litre V6 turbo Power 250kW at 5000-6400rpm Torque 500Nm at 1370-4500rpm Transmission 7-speed twin clutch automatic Drive All-wheel drive Dimensions 4969mm (L), 1908mm (W), 1422mm (H), 2926mm (WB) Kerb Weight 1815kg GVM 2470kg Boot Space 535L Spare Space saver Fuel Tank 63L Thirst 7.3L/100km (premium unleaded)
The formula hasn’t changed, but Audi has injected more value into its second-generation A7 by plumping it full of gear. More features and sharper pricing give the coupe-inspired four-door an edge over its German rivals, combining with solid driving credentials to create a genuinely impressive luxury sedan.
What’s in the range and how much does it cost?
Within months there will be three models in the A7 lineup, each adhering to the naming strategy introduced with the A8. The most affordable 45 TFSI is powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo making 180kW and 370Nm.
The 50 TDI is the sole diesel in the range, powered by a 3.0-litre turbo diesel V6 making 210kW and 620Nm. Until the arrival of the sportier S7 and RS7, the 55 TFSI sits at the top of the A7 tree, with a 250kW/500Nm 3.0-litre V6 petrol turbo.
As well as simplifying the model offerings by reducing the number of options Audi has sharpened its pencil with the pricing of the A7. It’s as much about attracting new customers as it is simplifying the cars dealers are ordering.
The 45 TFSI sells from $113,900 and gets 20-inch alloy wheels, Valcona leather (it’s more supple than the regular stuff), electric front seats, electric tailgate, head-up display, three-zone ventilation, dual multimedia touchscreens, 360-degree camera, wireless phone charging and various active safety systems, including auto braking. There’s also adaptive suspension, allowing driver adjustment of the stiffness of the suspension.
The 50 TDI and 55 TFSI are each $131,900 and get matrix LED headlights (for superb adaptive high beam operation that actively blanks out other vehicles, allowing for better illumination in most situations) and a Bang & Olufsen sound system. Each also gets the S-Line styling pack with unique front and rear bumpers. The S-Line theme flows through to the interior, too, with a flat-bottomed steering wheel, illuminated door sills, shift paddles and darkened aluminium inlays.
There’s still a range of options, although they’ve been seriously trimmed, with the emphasis on the Premium Plus package. At $8000 it adds 21-inch wheels riding on adjustable air suspension. There’s also a panoramic sunroof, four-zone ventilation, leather on things such as the dashboard, tinted windows and an LED ambient lighting package inside.
Those wanting to up the dynamic capabilities can choose the $4200 dynamic steering package, which includes rear-wheel steering.
For this review we’ve only driven the 55 TFSI; we’ll do more on the others as they arrive.
What’s the interior and practicality like?
While it’s not a coupe, the two-door thinking extends beyond the basic silhouette, with the windows doing without frames for a sleeker look. That’s more noticeable when opening and closing doors, accentuated if you have the windows down.
There’s a mix of technology and tradition inside and it’s the driver that is the focus, the centre stack tilted towards the person in charge. It’s an elegant cabin, albeit one very different to recent Audis. The familiar Audi MMI controller has been ditched, with an extra colour touchscreen included to operate infotainment functions.
In the rear there’s a penalty with rear headroom courtesy of the swooping roof line, but it’s only very tall people who will find their heads grazing the nicely trimmed roof. Even getting there requires some stooping to slip in under the sloping roof.
While there are three seatbelts out back, it’s best left to two derrieres, such is the bolstering of the outer pews. That also allows use of the generous folding arm rest that incorporates a storage binnacle and a pair of cupholders.
Legroom in the rear is also decent, making use of the additional 21mm afforded by the slightly longer wheelbase. A relatively high window line means kids may feel hemmed in, but there are twin USB outlets for easy connection of tablets or phones.
Twin overhead map lights are the start of some nice lighting touches, too (some of them optional), from the LED ambient lighting strips on each door and the centre console to the Quattro badge that illuminates on the dash.
What are the controls and infotainment like?
Instead of traditional gauges there’s a 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit (Audi’s name for a digital instrument cluster), which allows for tailoring of the display. Press the “View” button and it toggles between large and small speedo/tacho, in turn changing how much space is left for whatever it is you want to display between them; it could be what music is playing, the trip computer or navigation maps.
Many of the main controls in the centre stack are housed in two touchscreens. The upper touchscreen measures 10.1 inches and controls everything from the navigation and audio to the phone and major settings.
The lower 8.6-inch screen is focused on the ventilation controls, allowing customisation of air flow around the three or four zones and setting of heating and cooling functions for the seats. Each screen has haptic feedback, whereby the screen jolts slightly when you touch it to mimic the movement of a button. It’s subtle stuff and lacks the tactility of a physical button, but combined with a clicking noise is better than the lifelessness of most touchscreens.
It takes some familiarisation to learn about the functionality, but once you’ve spent a few hours with it it’s a relatively easy way to dart between major functions and delve into the finer details of the infotainment system.
Those in the rear get their own ventilation controls (with Premium Plus quad-zone ventilation) with sliding touchpad controls for temperature and fan speed on each side. You can also adjust where the air is sent, from the B-pillar side vents to the centre ones and even your feet.
What’s the performance like?
We’ve only tried the 55 TFSI, for now the most powerful A7 on offer (the S7 and RS7 will comfortably outpunch it when they eventually arrive). Its 3.0-litre V6 is stout and flexible, with 500Nm of torque available across a broad range. That generous torque easily shifts what is a weighty (1.8-tonne-plus) body. It drives cleanly through a seven-speed twin-clutch automatic, its slick shifts adding to the punchy engine.
While there’s a hint of zingy excitement as revs rise – in turning punching out the 250kW peak – it’s the mid-range that is most usable, the effortless urge an ever-present accompaniment. It’s an impressive engine and one that gels beautifully with the style of vehicle, providing punch when you need it and graceful pace the rest of the time.
The official fuel consumption figure is 7.3 litres per 100km, although enjoy all that enthusiasm and it’s easy to slip into double digits.
What’s it like on the road?
Fitted with the Premium Plus pack our car was riding on 21-inch tyres, which were the start of a solid dynamic story. They deliver serious grip and, combined with the standard Quattro all-wheel drive system, ensure the A7 can maintain some serious pace through bends.
Our cars were riding on air suspension, something that contributed to a terrific ride, one that stumbles only on some of the shorter, sharper bumps that Aussie councils do so well. Generally it was well controlled and impressively supple, the Sport mode setting tensing things slightly for more precision when you’re pressing on.
There’s some remoteness to the steering, but it points faithfully and makes the most of all that grip. While there’s some tyre roar on more aggressive bitumen surfaces, noises are generally well contained, with A7 living up to the comfort expectations nicely.
Does it have a spare?
There’s a skinny space saver spare tucked under the boot floor. It’s very much a temporary use unit limited to an 80km/h top speed.
Can you tow with it?
No. The A7 is not designed to tow.
What about ownership?
As with most luxury brands, the warranty only covers the first three years of ownership with no limit to the kilometres travelled.
Servicing is every 12 months or 15,000km and you can purchase a service plan to cover the first three years and 45,000km. It’s currently priced at $1930.
What safety features does it have?
There’s a full complement of eight airbags as part of an extensive safety system that works to reduce the likelihood they’ll be needed. Two forward facing radars are positioned prominently in the grille, their raised height compared with other models allowing them to fire further down the road.
It’s enough to ensure the auto emergency braking system now operates up to 250km/h when responding to other vehicles, or up to 85km/h with pedestrians. There’s also blind spot detection and mild self-steering as part of the lane departure warning. Those systems can also be used to detect potential crashes, providing some steering assistance in an effort to avoid an impact. Other handy additions include tyre pressure monitoring to warn of a puncture and a 360-degree virtual overhead camera.
One particularly innovative feature is the Exit Warning System, which monitors cyclists and pedestrians arriving from behind when the car is parked. If it detects you’re about to open the door on someone it not only warns you with flashing lights, but also momentarily delays the opening of the door.