In terms of exterior design, the new car is an evolution rather than a revolution, but this is a very good thing. The original A7's lines were so clear that it upstaged its bigger brother, the flagship A8, leading many to think that this coupé-esque sportback version of the company's BMW 5-Series competitor was actually its top model.
Nevertheless there are some clear changes. The grille is in line with the company's new design language, but thankfully it's resisted the temptation to make it as large and as prominent as on the recently launched A8. The car is more angular and aggressive and, thanks to keeping the wheelbase long (2.9m) but the roof low (it stands just 1.4m tall), it still looks very much like a premium sportscar.
Inside, there is a complete lack of clutter and genuine space for five to travel from 0-100km/h in just 5.3 seconds -- not bad at all for a mild hybrid 3-liter, turbocharged V6 with 340hp on tap. And of course, these performance figures will improve significantly as other sportier, more potent versions of the car come to market during 2018.
It comes packed with every technological bell and whistle that Audi currently has to offer, from its digital cockpit -- which does away completely with traditional dials and gauges in favor of two high-resolution adaptable touch-sensitive displays -- to car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure communication. What's more, there's an AI-powered set of active driver aids including automated remote parking where the driver need not be in the car, and this is alongside a claimed 39 distinct semi-autonomous functions from highway pilot assist that can also contribute to steering and fuel economy to cross-traffic monitoring in urban environments.
Away from digital aids, Audi has actually managed to improve analogue elements of the car such as rear legroom by a full 21mm and has increased the trunk opening to over 1m so that it really could be presented as a practical family long-distance cruiser.
However, all of these features, digital and otherwise, are a result of Audi realizing, just like its closest competitors Mercedes and BMW, that it's no longer appropriate to keep a company's best innovations exclusively for the flagship model, especially if a large boxy sedan isn't something that is bought from a state of desire. There is no logical reason to buy the A7 other than you love the way it looks.
The Audi A7 will make its official debut at the LA Auto Show in December and will go on sale in early 2018.