There's a new automotive segment being born as we speak. Previewed by the Porsche Panamera, Aston Martin Rapide and BMW 5-Series Gran Turismo, modern four-door sportback sedans combine the functionality of a hatchback with seating for four or five, all wrapped in a shapely, sleek package. Audi previewed its own offering at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show by way of the Sportback concept, and now the production model has officially been unveiled in Munich.
From a design standpoint, it's obvious that the A7 Sportback was penned alongside the all-new flagship A8 sedan. Audi's signature LED running lamps are intact up front, in a more angular shape than what you'd see on the A4 or R8, and the chopped rear deck is not only a throwback to fastback sedans from many decades ago, but its design mimics that of the larger A8, as well. The most striking view, however, is the side profile, which looks to be one part shooting brake and one part coupe, though if we're honest, we wish the A7's front overhang were reduced just a bit. Interestingly, at one point, Audi refers to the A7 has having a boattail, which initially made us cringe, but staring at it a bit more, this notion makes a degree of sense.
Powertrain details are slim as of this writing, but Audi says that the A7 Sportback will debut with four different V6 offerings, two petrol and two diesel. Expect the 3.0-liter supercharged V6 from the S4, S5 and A6 to be on hand, as well as the 3.0-liter TDI V6 found in the Q7 SUV. Audi will offer the A7 in both front- and all-wheel-drive configurations, with the Multitronic CVT and seven-speed S-tronic transmissions being used, respectively. Interestingly, unlike the A8, the A7 will make use of electric power steering, so we hope Audi's boffins have done their homework on dialing in feel and linearity.
Inside, we expect the standard raft of Audi amenities, including the automaker's new MMI Touch infotainment interface. From there, the latest in Audi technology will be on hand, including wireless internet connectivity. The interior is very much akin to that in the new A8, and we fully expect that it will offer premium creature comforts while still being driver-focused.
No official confirmation for North American consumers just yet, but we expect an all-wheel drive model to make it to these shores - presumably with a gasoline and S-tronic gearbox only configuration.
Hit the jump to read the full details in Audi's press release, and click through the attached gallery for high-res shots. We fully anticipate that Audi will open the floodgates on further information and images in the near future, so stay tuned.