• All-new 2nd-generation model
  • New turbocharged V6 with 7-speed dual-clutch transmission
  • Standard 48-volt mild hybrid
  • Standard power liftgate
  • Loaded with driver-assistance features
  • LED-Matrix headlights
  • Pricing starts at $68,000

 

It’s tough to update designs that are universally loved. Just ask Mercedes-Benz. When the CLS (the original coupe-like sedan) arrived, everybody fell for it. But when the 2nd-gen CLS came on the scene, well, let’s just say most people agreed that it had lost some of the magic (which has been recaptured to a certain extent by the new 3rd-generation 2019 CLS).

Now, Audi is updating its A7. Has this all-new 2nd-generation 2019 Audi A7, with its requisite sloping roofline and handy liftback configuration, managed to hold onto the head-turning appeal of the indisputably sensual original?

We think it has. The 2019 Audi A7 is a stunner. From its sharply creased hood and widened grille to its Quattro-esque fender flares, wide shoulders, and full-width LED rear lighting, this new Audi A7 succeeds. It looks low and wide (particularly with 21-inch alloy wheels), even though the rear deck has been raised by more than an inch. While the look is clearly more aggressive than the original A7, the all-aluminum body hasn’t lost any elegance in this significant update. Of note, the new A7 doesn’t share a single body panel (or glass panel) with the A6 sedan upon which it’s based.

Some specifics

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Like the new A6, the 2019 Audi A7 is an all-wheel-drive (AWD) 5-seater built on a version of the steel-and-aluminum chassis used by the Q7 SUV. While we’re smitten by the A7’s fastback roofline, it does have a price: reduced rear headroom. If you’re 6-feet-tall or taller, your head will touch the headliner, even though it has been scalloped for added headroom. On a positive note, driver-assistance and safety technologies abound in this new German-built Audi, which has an obvious competitor -- the more expensive BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo xDrive, another liftback design. The Porsche Panamera is another far pricier (and sportier) German liftback.

A turbocharged 3.0-liter V6, mounted longitudinally, sends 335 horsepower and 44 lb-ft of extra torque (for a total of 369 lb-ft compared to the 325 in last year’s supercharged V6) to all four wheels via Audi’s latest Quattro all-wheel-drive system. Called Quattro Ultra, this new AWD arrangement contributes to better overall fuel economy because the rear wheels aren’t driven in all situations (such as on the highway) to reduce parasitic losses. EPA Highway fuel economy is an impressive 29 mpg. But don’t worry that this new system may sacrifice some of Audi’s legendary Quattro stability: Quattro Ultra is more anticipatory than reactive, so it sends power to the rear wheels before it’s needed to ensure control in a variety of conditions.

Also: Get your first look at the new and redesigned cars of 2019

One transmission is available in the new S7: Audi’s S-Tronic 7-speed, a paddle-shift dual-clutch automatic optimized for performance and efficiency. Also notable: All 2019 Audi A7s have Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle (MHEV) technology. The 48-volt system uses a 10Ah battery stored under the rear cargo floor, from where it powers a belt alternator starter used in the A7’s fuel-saving stop/start system. Of note, the only time the Audi’s conventional pinion starter is used is for initial cold starts.

Driver-assistance features

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It’s a long list, folks, but appropriately fitting for a tech-focused German car that starts at nearly $70,000. Besides active cruise control and a top-view camera system that provides a nifty 360-degree view to help you maneuver this Audi in tight spaces, the 2019 A7 is fitted with standard Pre Sense City, which can initiate braking if a collision with a vehicle, pedestrian or cyclists is expected. Strangely, Side Assist, Audi’s blind-spot warning system, isn’t standard across the A7 line -- it’s standard only on the Premium Plus and Prestige trim levels.

Other available driver aids on the 2019 Audi A7 include Intersection Assist (which notifies the driver of potential hazards at intersections), Turn Assist (which uses automatic brake intervention to keep the A7 in its own lane when turning left), Active Lane Assist, and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (which warns the driver of potential perpendicular fender benders when you’re backing out of a parking spot). Last, Vehicle Exit Assist helps prevent A7 occupants from getting hit by vehicles from behind upon exiting the car. In addition to an LED light and an acoustic warning, the A7 won’t let the rear door open for up to two seconds if traffic from behind is sensed.

What does the 2019 Audi A7 cost?

The 2019 Audi A7 Premium starts at $68,000. Like all Audis, it carries a $995 destination charge. Moving up, the A7 Premium Plus model starts at $72,400, while the flagship Prestige model starts at $76,300. The Prestige distinguishes itself with Audi MMI navigation and high-def Virtual Cockpit, plus a Bang & Olufsen 3D sound system, a phone box with wireless charging, a head-up display, power-closing doors, and complex HD-Matrix LED headlights that feature laser lighting elements with more than 200 (!) individual parts.

2019 Audi A7 Premium ($68,000)

Quattro AWD
MMI Navigation with 8.8-inch screen
Sunroof
Contrast-stitching on dashboard

2019 Audi A7 Premium Plus ($72,400)

Audi Virtual Cockpit
Matrix-design LED headlights with dynamic DRLs
LED taillights with dynamic turn signals and animation
Bang & Olufsen 3D Premium Sound System
Top-view camera system with Virtual 360 view

2019 Audi A7 Prestige ($76,300)

Head-up display
Vented front seats with 4-way lumbar support
HD Matrix-design LED headlights with Audi laser light
Four-zone automatic climate control
Power door closers

 

Inside the new A7

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If you’re familiar with the interior of the new A6, you’ll immediately recognize the cabin of the A7. The driver-focused environment is awash in attractive leather, with handsome wood trim and highly configurable interior lighting serving to enhance the already luxurious aura.

Perhaps the most significant update to the new A7 is this: Audi’s all-new MMI Touch Response system has replaced the familiar rotary dial and conventional infotainment controls of the previous A6 and A7. Audi’s Multi Media Interface, with two high-res touch displays that offer haptic feedback, is designed to function like your smartphone. An 8.8-inch touch screen is at the top of the A7’s center stack. Right below it is an 8.1-inch screen that controls the climate and serves as the pad for text inputs drawn by your finger.

2019 Car Reviews: First takes on new models

While we prefer the simplicity of the previous A7’s rotary dial, the touchpad is remarkably skilled at deciphering poor printing. Also impressive is the Audi’s 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit, with navigation from Google Maps. Your traditional analog instruments can be presented on a scrolling background featuring vivid imagery from Google Maps. Not quite as cool, but much appreciated, is the A7 Prestige’s standard head-up display, which appears directly in the driver’s line of sight.

Final thoughts

As we mentioned, it’s tough for a company to properly update a classic. But with the all-new 2019 A7, Audi clearly has succeeded. The Ingolstadt company has built a new A7 that’s true to the original, a car with the versatility of a hatchback, the seductive lines of a fastback, and (almost) all the utility of a sedan. The new turbo V6 is blessed with noticeably more torque than the previous supercharged engine, and the 7-speed dual clutch gearbox shifts almost imperceptibly in daily operation while firming up beautifully when drivers use the paddles on their favorite sinewy roads. The new 2019 Audi A7 is a hatchback sedan that belies its 4,332-pound curb weight, and its timeless style will continue the long-lasting legacy of the original.
 

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