Big, bold, and beautiful, Audi’s fastback A7 sedan receives a major makeover for model year 2019, the first since its introduction in 2012. Sharing the architecture of Audi’s new flagship A8, the A7 continues to feature a sleek hatchback design—Sportback, in Audi speak—in contrast to the three-box formal sedan look of the A8.  Elements of the update include an expanded grille that sits slightly lower in a more vertical front end treatment, flanked by narrower headlamps at the top and large air intakes down low.

Wider fender flares, sheltering alloy wheels up to 21 inches in diameter, and a strong lower body character line lend a more athletic look to the exterior, while pruning just over a half-inch from overall length (195.6 inches on a fractionally shorter 115.2-inch wheelbase) reduces front and rear overhangs. Width is 75.6 inches, and the tallest point of the sloping roof is 56.0. A new taillamp spans the entire rear of the car, just below a retractable rear spoiler.

Also, a new S Line option package lends a more aggressive appearance with revised front and rear fascias and rocker panel extensions.

Powertrain changes

The power source is familiar: Audi’s turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 (340 horsepower, 369 lb-ft of torque in Euro tune). However, a new 7-speed dual clutch automated manual transmission replaces the previous 8-speed automatic, sending thrust to a Quattro all-wheel drive system that includes optional torque vectoring.

Audi anticipates 62 mph acceleration of 5.3 seconds, and combined urban-highway fuel economy of almost 35 mpg. Top speed, like most German sedans, will be an electronically limited to 155 mph.

The 3.0-liter turbo six will be the only engine at launch, but it will be followed by others as the new design matures, fours and sixes, including a mild hybrid system, diesels, and more a powerful V6. How broad the engine selection will be for U.S. customers remains to be seen.

Another update: a combination alternator/starter motor feeds a 48-volt lithium-ion battery. The auto stop/start system has also been upgraded, with a link to the car’s forward-looking camera system that allows the engine to restart when the traffic ahead begins moving. There’s also a freewheeling feature that shuts the engine down when the driver steps off the throttle and coasts at speeds between 35 and 100 mph.

Dynamic enhancements include a new variable ratio steering system that can be racecar quick, an available pneumatic suspension, a 4-wheel steering option, and an optional sport suspension that adds roll stiffness and reduces ride height by 0.4 inch.

Also: Get your first look at the new and redesigned cars of 2018

Technology Galore

Like the A8, the A7 raises the electronic and infotainment ante with a new version of Audi’s MMI system that includes two touchscreens, one at the leading edge of the center console, the second on the dashboard. The center console screen controls HVAC, while the 10.1-inch dashboard version governs infotainment and connectivity features, as well as navigation.

The old control knob is gone, and owners will look in vain for knobs or switches—everything operates by touch or voice command. Optional electronic elements include Audi’s 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit gauge array and a color head-up display.

Available comfort and convenience features include self-parking that can navigate the car into or out of a garage, ventilated front seats with a massage function, and even a subtle fragrance dispenser.

The new A7 goes on sale in Germany in late February. It’s expected to reach U.S. showrooms in late 2018.

Audi has made no mention of pricing for the new A7. The current version starts at just under $70,000.

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