Audi cars demand attention, exude power

Audi makes some of the sexiest coupes on the road today. Among others, these include the almighty badass R8, which is particularly awesome because Ironman drives one.

Trouble is, when more than one passenger requires a ride, you might be out of luck. Some Audi coupes have small back seats, and others, like the R8, have none at all.

For some shoppers, Audi’s new A7 might be the solution. A departure from the chiselled, chunky and muscular looks of many recent Audis, the A7 is soft, sweeping, smooth, elegant and graceful — albeit capped off with a demanding, intimidating scowl that’ll stare lesser machinery into submission.

It’s like a rolling sheetmetal Miranda Priestly.

That face, as one of the most glaring on this side of six-digit territory, is a striking bit of styling. All said, this four-door coupe looks like a seriously big deal rolling down the road.

The tester’s cabin contrasted starkly with the detailed and expressive body. Simple colours and shapes left this writer wishing for some more flair and energy to match the exterior look — but even if this isn’t Audi’s most exciting interior, it’s still virtually perfectly assembled and trimmed.

The sleek, coupe-like roofline means rear headroom is limited for taller occupants, though it’ll handle four adults of standard height with no concern.

There’s a surprising level of utility, too. The wide, long trunk is accessed by a motorized tailgate and should offer up plenty of room for your gear. And with standard Quattro All Wheel Drive, it’s a sporty bit of elegant utility you can use confidently, even in the middle of a blizzard.

With just three litres of displacement, the A7’s V6 uses direct injection and a so-called ‘mechanical turbocharger’ to boost power output. We Canadians call that a supercharger, by the way.

Drivers get 310 horsepower, handled by an automatic transmission with a quick-reacting manual mode. The 8-speed box helps the A7 perform strongly while enabling mileage figures which suggest otherwise.

Opened up, it’s got a restrained, delightful howl that calls a Porsche flat-six to mind. The supercharger operates in silence, but helps crank out liquid-smooth, linear and robust power output at any r.p.m. And the nearly-startling levels of off-the-line thrust feel as if they came from a much larger engine.

Handling is planted, stable and composed, even ripping up corners at high speed. In its ‘dynamic’ mode, A7’s steering is heavy and quick —encouraging dialed-in exploration of the A7’s limits. Note that the optional up-sized wheels and low-profile tires may result in a rough ride on some surfaces.

But the A7 offers a satisfying all-around performance here.

Those after a machine that’s equal parts luxury, high-tech, year-round supercharged sportiness and utility should check out this sophisticated multitasker.

Audi A7 3.0T

Engine: 3.0 litre V6, direct injected, supercharged, aftercooled, 310 horsepower.

Drivetrain: Quattro AWD.

Observed Average Mileage:  10.9L/100km.

Transmission: 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters.

Starting Price: $68,600.

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