Official Audi A7 Sketch

We can debate whether the "four-door coupe" is a genuine segment or merely a bit of marketing piffle, but that isn't stopping the genre from swelling at an impressive rate. The next chapter in the burgeoning niche looks to be written by Audi, as the German automaker has just confirmed that a conceptual version of their new A7 will debut next month at the Detroit Auto Show. As its nomenclature would suggest, it is expected that the A7 will slot in between the A6 and the A8 in both mission and price, likely with running gear derived from the former.

The neither-fish-nor-fowl A7 will take on the soon-to-be-refreshed Mercedes CLS and potentially the denied-but-apparently-still-being-developed BMW CS.

According to Automotive News, Audi hopes to shift about 40,000 units of the slippery A7 worldwide, but it is unclear if this figure is model-range wide (a hardtop convertible is expected), or just the standard A7. In either case, sales are expected to commence in late 2009 or in the first quarter of 2010.

[Source: Automotive News subs req'd]]