Lack of a centre-rear seat? Fixed. New 650Nm, 7.0L/100km twin-turbo diesel? Excellent. Odd steering sorted? Unfortunately not. Audi’s MY13 A7 delivers most of the things an MY12 owner might wish for, plus some bonuses, but the steering’s still a bit weird.
The biggest news for this year’s A7 – and the MY13 A6, both in showrooms as you read this – is the most-powerful, torquiest, and quickest variant yet – the 230kW, 3.0-litre Biturbo diesel V6.
The workings of its sequential twin-turbo system are almost as impressive as the 650Nm on tap from 1450-2800rpm. A pair of water-cooled turbochargers – one small, one large – are plumbed in series. That is, the smaller one feeds the bigger one. At first, the small turbo feeds the engine (as much as 3.2bar!), but from 2500rpm a valve connecting the turbos lets the variable turbine geometry primary begin feeding the secondary. Between 3500 and 4000rpm the valve opens wide, and only the larger turbo operates.
A sound actuator, which amounts to a speaker of sorts in the exhaust system, does its thing when ‘engine sound’ is set to dynamic via the Drive Select system. It superimposes a ‘defined oscillating pattern’ over the engine’s exhaust, resulting in a more substantial note. But the oiler's tune is a bit like your average 2Day FM hit – the vocals sound marginally better with synthesised effects, but it’s not real music.
In comfort mode, the A7’s steering is light, the transmission’s eager to slot the torque converter auto into eighth, and ride quality is reasonably comfortable. The A7’s steering is its least impressive quality. It suffers from lost motion just off centre, is artificial, with little feel, and its self-centring effect is weak. It makes it difficult to know how much lock is dialled on, or how much grip there is, which is a pity, because the 255/40R19 Goodyears provide plenty.
There’s a sensation of understeer, in part created by the steering, but mostly because of the nose-heavy Audi’s understeer. But trail-brake, and get turn-in out of the way, before deploying twin-turbo shove via the sport differential, and AWD to quell mid-corner push, and this quicker, five-seater MY13 A7 is its own brand of fun.