2011 Audi A7 spy shots – click above for high-res image gallery
Brace yourselves for another round of swoopy coupe time boys and girls. Er, let's make that swoopy four-door coupe, which is, of course, a contradiction in terms, albeit an increasingly popular one. Of course no one wants to drive the Audi Oxymoron, which is why the brand with the four linked rings is calling their hyper-styled new offering the A7. And here's some shots of it mushing around Germany's famed Nürburgring.
Our impressions? It looks pretty good on the track of all tracks, with just a bit more body lean than you might expect. However, this is probably not the RS7 (or whatever they're going to call the high performance variant). That said, why would the base model have a pop-up, downforce-generating rear spoiler? We love the fact that zee Germans seem to be creating new automotive niches out of thin air. Anyhow, the upcoming A7 seems to be carving out an entirely new space.
We know that the original push behind the A7 was to compete with the Mercedes-Benz CLS, the O.G. four-door coupe. But what's with the Audi's hatch? Yes, the roof seems to slope off at a precipitous angle, but there's quite clearly a hatch – just like the Porsche Panamera. But unlike the biggest on-road Porker, the A7 rides not on a bespoke chassis but instead on a version of Audi's modular aluminum chassis that currently underpins the new A8 and will support the upcoming A6.
Curiously, and perhaps wisely, Audi didn't go down the BMW rabbit hole of creating a high-riding station wagon (like the 5 Series Gran Turismo), either. Best we can figure, the A7 will be just like a Jaguar XF – only with a fifth door. Why, then, would one be compelled to purchase the A7 over, say an A6 Avant? The A7 will probably be a bit larger than the A6 (perhaps just marginally bigger, but bigger nonetheless) and to some, size still matters. Besides, lots of folks simply don't want a two-box wagon form, preferring the added flash of a more streamlined form. And if you're Audi, you'll probably get bigger margins out of something like this than an estate, too – especially when the A7 is rumored to be priced just under the A8.