Looking at the exterior, the relationship to the A8 is unmistakable. The A7's hexagonal grille and matching headlights look nearly identical to its bigger, more prestigious kin. There are differences, though. The headlights slant downward more, and combined with the LED daytime running light accents, the car has a sullen, angry scowl. The lower grilles in the bumper are plain black and provide a sportier look.
Moving around the side, the trademark fastback hatch profile remains. The flanks look a bit more taut and athletic, in part thanks to the creases that now only show up over the wheel arches, exaggerating the width of the car at those points. The glass area is larger now, especially at the trailing end. The rear quarter window has been made much larger and with a shallower kink. The greenhouse also doesn't appear to taper as much toward the back, leaving less of a distinct shoulder than on the previous model.
The most dramatically different and distinct part of the exterior is the tail. The individual lamps of the outgoing A7 have been ditched for a full-width bar with 13 individual LED elements on each side. This taillight fits below an arching crease that marks the end of the hatch lid and wraps around to the quarter panels. The edges of the light match this crease, which also flows into the seam of the bumper. This arching shape is echoed in the faux diffuser panel in the rear bumper.
The inside of the A7 is also massively changed, and it again pulls heavily from the A8. This is immediately evident by the dual touchscreens for infotainment The main upper screen is a 10.1-inch piece used for music, navigation and such, while the 8.6-inch display below it is used for climate control. There is no MMI wheel for controlling it. Where the setup differs from the A8 is in the fact that the screens are canted toward the driver. Audi also gave the interior a sportier feel by playing with the hexagonal motif of the grille on the dashboard, dropping in a greater number of more angled shapes.
The high-tech interior is matched with many high-tech convenience and mechanical features. Lane-centering assist as well as autonomous parking spot and garage parking features will be offered on the new car. The latter of those will allow the driver to hop out of the car and let the car park itself or extricate itself from a space.
Mechanical technology starts with the introduction of the new turbocharged 3.0-liter 48-volt mild-hybrid V6. It's the same one as in the A8, which means the hybrid component comes in the form of a combination starter and generator that allows for more frequent, longer, and smoother engine start-stop cycles. It also produces 340 horsepower and 368 pound-feet of torque, allowing it to reach 62 mph in a claimed 5.3 seconds. For reference, the current model hits 60 mph in 5.2 seconds. This V6 will be the only engine at launch, with a variety of gas and diesel V6s and four-cylinders coming later. However, we wouldn't expect any other engines in the U.S. outside of a gas four-cylinder option, and perhaps high-output V6 and V8 models for hypothetical S7 and RS7 variants.
The V6 is coupled to a seven-speed transmission and an all-wheel-drive system. This system can be augmented in a few ways. A torque-vectoring rear differential will be available, and four-wheel-steering becomes an option. The four-wheel-steering can turn the rear wheels up to 5 degrees. At speeds below about 37 mph, the wheels turn opposite of the front wheels for improved maneuverability, and they turn with the front wheels above that speed for better straight-line stability.
Details such as pricing and final fuel economy numbers have yet to be released for the U.S. market. In Germany, the A7 will start at €67,800, which at current exchange rates is about $79,700. But pricing typically varies among countries. Since the current A7 starts around $69,700, we would expect to see a base MSRP closer to that. The car goes on sale in Germany in February 2018, while it will reach the U.S. in late 2018, possibly early 2019.