Whereas some vehicles are love at first sight, other grows on you with time. The Audi A7 3,0-litre biturbo had a weekend to put me under its spell – which it did very successfully. Here are the reasons why you should ask for its number:
The local A7 range has just been bolstered with Audi’s latest high-performance, biturbo-diesel engine that delivers 230 kW and 650 N.m. Two turbochargers supply boost pressure in a two-stage, sequential frame to reduce lag. Oil jets cool the pistons and the timing and lift of the intake valves can be varied to optimise volumetric efficiency (how much air enters the combustion chamber) over the entire speed range.
Power is delivered to an eight-speed ZF-developed automatic transmission and fuel consumption is claimed at a remarkably low (given the performance potential) 6,3 litres/100 km. A weekend’s worth of mixed cycle, enthusiastic driving returned a figure of around 9,0- litres/100 km.
This engine suits the character of the elegant cruiser to a tee. The clattering diesel noise has been greatly reduced and a sound actuator amplifies the brawny V6 soundtrack in the exhaust system. A7s tend to ride better than most large Audis and this car continues in that vein. With eight ratios to choose from, apart from a slight bit of hesitancy from the transmission during pull away, the A7 gets up to speed effortlessly. Before you realise it, you’re travelling much faster than the speed limit with no straining noises emanating from under the bonnet. Audi’s famed Quattro all-wheel-drive system ensures that even large amounts of torque can be safely deployed without fear of excessive wheelspin.
From the outside the distinctive styling portrays a message of performance and elegance (think Audi R8 meets Bentley Continental). It offers the buyer a slice of individualism which is rare these days in an overcrowded market place. Inside it is pure Audi design, being classy and simplistic. The quality of materials used and switchgear are exceptional. The only negative is the low roofline that limits headroom both front and rear.
Fitting a family and its gear is easily done as the massive boot (with large opening) comfortably swallows all paraphernalia. Apart from all the usual luxuries, child locks on the rear doors are electronically activated by buttons on the driver’s door panel.
BMW may claim the highest output from a 3,0-litre turbodiesel engine in production (280 kW in the M50d models), but Audi has more than a few Le Mans victories using turbodiesel technology to silence any detractors.
Price: R855 000
Engine: 3,0-litre, V6, biturbo-diesel
Power: 230 kW/3 900 r/min
Torque: 650 N.m/1 450 r/min
0-100 km/h: 5,3 secs
Top speed: 250 km/h
Fuel consumption: 6,3 L/100 km
CO2: 166 g/km
Maintenance plan: 5 years/100 000 km
All manufacturer’s claimed figures