Fusion of concept and class

I have resigned myself to the fact that car designers seem to have reached a creative glass ceiling, and are battling to break through it. I’ve seen it in BMW, Alfa Romeo, VW and now Audi – all these manufacturers’ latest models have started to resemble each other so much that one can’t even tell the difference.

This will be rather irritating to new car owners who fork out big in order to stand out on the road.

Take the latest Audi A7 for instance; it can be mistaken with more than just one model in the stable. From the front, it could be the flagship A8 or the less expensive baby brother, the A6. The grille and the headlights have become the unmistakable symbol of an Audi.

The A7 was first revealed as a concept car back in 2008, and true to Audi’s nature the end product isn’t far from its concept form. The Sportback is nothing new. Its roots reach as far back as 1971 with the Audi Coupe S being the first of its kind. The A7 pays homage to that car by incorporating the same design lines. It’s a four-seater, four-door luxury coupe that allows executives to contend with the Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

Launched with a 3.0-litre petrol TFSI engine and an almost silent 3.0?litre diesel TDI model, the A7 features a Bose sound system, all-wheel drive Quattro with sports differential, comfort and sport drive modes. It’s much more low-slung when compared to the A5 Sportback, with 19-inch wheels and has a sportier feel to it.

Inside, it looks like most Audis and there are elements from the A8 – the multimedia infotainment system with optional built-in navigation and touch pad features.

It’s difficult to dislike the A7 when the journey starts smack-bang in the middle of Chapmans Peak through Ou Kaapse Weg in Cape Town on a misty morning with the crashing waves of the ocean the backdrop. Twisty roads to Grabouw, Sir Lowry’s Pass and Franschhoek showcase the car’s sturdy handling with the seven-speed S tronic automatic gearbox.

With soulful music blaring from the optional R60 000 Bang and Olufson sound system while still hearing the blip on the throttle, one can’t help but enjoy the drive.

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