The engine is a fuel-sipping diesel that saves roughly 25-30 percent over a conventional gasoline engine…

Audi is one of the luxury brands under the massive Volkswagen Group, which includes Lamborghini, Bugatti and Porsche.

By sharing engineering knowledge, platforms and engines across several different brands, (including the mainstream Volkswagen brand) enables VW to reduce costs and develop more products. One area of importance, in Canada, is the introduction of more and more diesel, or TDI engines, into the marketplace.

The 2014 Audi A7 TDI is a perfect example of what the VW Group is doing right. The engine is a fuel-sipping diesel that saves roughly 25-30 percent over a conventional gasoline engine, yet still supplies the dynamic ride Audi owners look.

Looks

The body of the A7 TDI is the same as the gasoline versions and it could be one of the best-looking four-door luxury vehicles on the road. Actually, the A7 could be considered a five-door model, as the rear cargo rear is accessed through a massive hatch. This, is in combination with the sleek coupe-like silhouette is what makes this car different than much of the competition. Buyers who like the idea of a big luxury car but also want something a bit sportier will enjoy the dynamic stance, especially combined with the oversized sports wheels. Oversized is also a good way to describe the A7s grille, which is framed by an aggressive set of headlamps and deep front spoiler. The back is much more subdued and the rear lights look almost Aston Martin-inspired.

Inside

The downside to the swept roofline and large hatchback is the amount of headroom for rear seat passengers. Taller passengers might find it a bit snug and big items might not fit in the cargo area. This is why Porsche produced the Panamera sport-back, with a much higher roof for full-sized adult passengers. The reality is that many professions who can afford this car will more than likely have a family SUV for those times when larger adults or cargo needs to be moved. The front seats enjoy a view to a sumptuous dashboard and luxury filled experience. The best material are used and I find Audi’s computer controller to be one of the easiest on the market.

Drive

Audi uses a variation of its 3.0L direct injection turbo diesel in five of its models from the practical Q5 and Q7 SUVs to the A6, A7 and A8 sedans. This A7, along with the Q5 and A6 get the newest version of this engine sporting a bump in torque from 406 lb.-ft. to 428 lb.-ft. Torque is what it is all about with diesel engines. The ability to get away from a traffic light and cruise along at highway speeds makes a diesel engine a rewarding vehicle to drive. Put the throttle down and this big luxury sedan just rockets away, the way a huge V8 would have in years past. The up side is that the driver gets all that power but also impressive fuel economy, something that had eluded luxury buyers in the past. The A7 is rated at 8.7L/100km in the city and stingy 5.3L on the highway. In comparison, a 2014 Honda Civic is rated at 5.0L/100km on the highway. For fuel savings and power the diesel is the way to go.

Verdict

The Audi A7 is a lovely car; filled with sex appeal, performance, luxury and prestige but it all comes at a price. Starting at $72,900, the diesel is a $2,500 premium over the base A7. The owner could recapture that additional money over several years of driving thanks to the improved fuel economy. This technology is also available in other, less expensive models, so don’t be too shocked by the starting price. One thing Audi does not have is a 4-cylinder diesel for the smaller and less expensive models, something both BMW and Mercedes offer. I suspect there will be one coming in short order, but for now the A7 is a prime example of Audi’s expansion into diesel transportation.

Contact: zack [dot] spencer [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

The Lowdown

Power: 3.0L turbo diesel with 428 lb.-ft. of torque.

Fill-up: 8.7L/5.3L/100km (city/highway)

Sticker price: $72,900

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