MONT TREMBLANT, Quebec – Chances are, the most arduous duty the new Audi A7 Sportback will face is the occasional slippery on-ramp. The majority of its well-heeled drivers, gliding home through tree-lined boulevards, will be blissfully unaware of the technology underpinning its sleek frame.blog comments powered by Disqus
Although the A7 Sportback represents sumptuous luxury at its best – it’s also the culmination of 30 years of engineering. Audi presented its first permanent all-wheel-drive vehicle at the Geneva Motor Show in 1980. Today, that technology is available on every model from the A1 on up.
Audi recently held a “Fascination of Quattro” event at the Mecaglisse Testing facility near Mont Tremblant, showcasing a lineup of the latest models to feature its quattro all-wheel drive system. Participants drove a winding test track that resembled a rally stage; thanks to cold temperatures and little snow cover, the surface was a glistening icy ribbon of changing elevations and treacherous turns.
We were treated to a thrilling display of Quattro prowess, riding along with three-time North American Rally Cup Champion Frank Sprongl in his Group B Audi Quattro before heading onto the track under our own steam.
Crisp, clean, with flowing lines and beautiful proportions, the A7 makes a pleasing first impression. The sloping top line ends in a sharply truncated rear end and the sheet metal is sensuously sculpted.
Slotted between the A6 sedan and the range-topping A8, the A7 borrows much of its architecture from the A6. There’s less costly aluminum used in its structure than the A8, and more steel.
Under my tester’s long hood is a 245 hp, 3.0 L V6 TDI, that with any luck, will make it into the Canadian lineup. Other engine choices include the 300 hp TFSI found in the A6 and A4 – and a 4.0 litre turbo-charged V8 in the upcoming S7.
The cabin is a beautiful combination of opulence and simple good taste. The seats are butter-soft leather. Particularly striking is the use of real oak trim – subtly finished with an interesting grain, it adds a sense of timeless, hand crafted luxury.
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