Part of Audi's plan for expansion includes taking the Mercedes-Benz CLS, BMW's upcoming 8-series and the Jaguar XJ replacement (due next year) head on. The automaker is convinced that the future of flagship sedans revolves around the "four-door coupe" body style and the A7 will be an attempt to dominate in that segment.

According to Autocar, the A7 will be 4,900mm long, underpinned by a stretched version of the A5's Modular Long Platform (MLP) that will also be used on the next A6. The platform puts a premium on optimum weight distribution, and while the A6 will feature a traditional coil-sprung suspension, the A7 is expected to ride on an air-spring setup.

Power is expected to come from a variety of gasoline and diesel powerplants, including a host of direct-injected engines ranging in displacement from 2.8- to 4.0-liters, along with a 2.7-liter diesel V6 and a twin-turbocharged version of the 3.0-liter TDI V6. Naturally, S7 and RS7 variants are planned, with the latter receiving the twin-turbo'd 5.2-liter V10 found in the RS6, delivering 600 hp to all four wheels through a new torque distribution system which will debut on the new S4. The base transmission on most models will be a six-speed manual, while a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox and a traditional automatic will also be offered.

Audi aims to sell 40,000 A7s each year, with the majority finding their way to the U.S. market. Look for the A7 to debut in 2010.

[Source: Autocar]