The Audi That Grew A Trunk
Issuing time:2022-03-18 18:25
What is it?
One of the most well-known phenomena in the Chinese car market is the seemingly endless appetite for long wheelbase versions of luxury vehicles, which brings us to the subject of today’s review. No, the vehicle pictured above is not an Audi A6 or A8, it is an Audi A7…L. That’s right, Audi has taken the slope-backed A7, extended the wheelbase and put a trunk on it.
Good bye, liftback
The A7L’s exterior design doesn’t differ very much from the standard A7, apart from a slightly reworked grill. That is, until you get to the back. Instead of the signature raked rear roofline of the A7, you get this, well, trunk. At first glance, it’s a bit disconcerting, and the car was met with a lot of skepticism when it debuted last year.
The trick is to stop thinking of this as a variation of the A7, and start thinking of it as a completely new model. We have a feeling that Audi would have loved to give it a different name, but they’ve kind of worked themselves into corner at this point. A1 through 8 are already taken, and they can’t call it an A9, as that would put it above the flagship A8 in their lineup. So, they had to go with A7L, even if it doesn’t make much sense.
Everything but the space is optional
The interior styling of the A7L is even more indistinguishable from the regular A7, the only difference being a bit of extra space in the back seat, but we’ll get to that in moment.
First, let’s discuss some of the things that don’t come as standard equipment on a car whose price starts at 72,000 USD. Things like cooled and massaging seats, adaptive cruise control, and even a wireless charging pad are all optional on the A7L unless you’re willing to pop for one of the higher trim cars that start at nearly 110,000 USD. Actually, wait, the wireless charging pad and adaptive cruise control only comes standard if you get the highest trim version, which costs 123,000 USD.
As for the back seat, well, that extra wheelbase might not have helped trunk space, but it definitely helps legroom. Rear occupants will find it noticeably more comfortable than a standard A7. Headroom is also better than the A7, but still not great. Adjustable rear seats, you guessed it, are optional.
You might think the extra 10cm or around 4 inches of wheelbase would result in more trunk space, but since the regular A7 is a liftback, rear cargo space is actually smaller. The A7L offers 384 liters vs the 535 liters of the standard A7.
The A7L can be equipped with a familiar array of engines. Namely, a low output and high output version of the turbocharged 2.0L, or the turbocharged 3.0L V6 that we have in this car. That engine makes 250 kw and 500 Nm of torque (340 hp and 370 lb-ft.). All engines are partnered with a 7-speed DCT.
That 500 Nm of torque is available from just 1370 RPM, meaning the A7L offers more than enough passing performance despite its extra length. Speaking of extra length, the added wheelbase means added ride comfort for occupants both front and rear. Put simply, the A7L drives like a slightly softer A7.
That doesn’t mean there is no driving pleasure to be found. The steering is very direct, offering some road feel through both the steering wheel and the seat of the pants. The A7L also comes with DAWS, Audi’s rear-wheel steering system, which provides both greater stability at high speeds and a smaller turning radius. That second one really comes in handy in a long-wheelbase vehicle.
The rear seats are still very comfortable once you’re on the move, though not quite as comfortable as the back seat of an A6L, and there is a more noticeable amount of tire noise back there thanks to the 21-inch wheels on our car.
One of the many reasons Chinese buyers love long-wheelbase versions of luxury vehicles is because they are often locally produced, allowing them to avoid the hefty taxes levied on imported models. It’s hard to call the A7L a value proposition, however, considering its high price (nearly as much as an imported A7), lack of standard equipment (charging pad is optional?!), and polarizing design. As such, we can’t see the A7L being much a sales leader.