I say this because our test car - the A7 Sportback 3.0 TDI BiTurbo, which is already a mixed bag in the design department (and that’s not a bad thing) - recently received something different: a biturbo diesel engine.If diesel was the enemy, then Audi’s gotten into bed with it and the result is an astonishingly impressive combination of frugality and performance.
This is the first car from the luxury German manufacturer to house this unique powertrain, but it won’t be the last, with the new SQ5 TDI also set to have it under its skin.
It produces a healthy 230kW of power and a monstrous 650Nm of torque from its 3.0-litre V6 biturbo engine, impressive figures for an oil-burner. But where a gleeful inappropriateness arises, is the 0-100km/h time, as this car can go from being a green-fingered socialite to a wild hooligan at the stomp of the loud pedal. Yes, you’ll be forgiven for thinking you’re in a high-revving petrol vehicle as it dispatches the 0-100km/h sprint in 5.3 seconds and boasts a limited top speed of 250km/h.
Diesel has always been a dirty word among petrolheads, but when you get behind the wheel of a car that - while having the heartbeat of a diesel - emits a rather satisfying harmony from the rear tailpipes with a euphoric growl, it changes your entire mindset.
It can go from being docile in city traffic, where Audi claims a combined fuel consumption of 6.3 litres/100km to being a quick-flying saloon on the highway. No matter the conditions, the clean linear power delivery complements its composed and balanced road handling abilities thanks to the Quattro all-wheel-drive.
Clinging to the strict luxury attire we associate with Audi, the A7 Sportback 3.0 TDI BiTurbo remains unchanged from the rest of the line-up. It upholds the same underpinnings, which make it a comfortable cruiser. But that’s exactly what it is - a cruiser - and while it’s almost two-tonne physique looks good, bringing it to a standstill and manoeuvring it around the bends at speed do take some doing.
The spacious interior retains that typical Audi polish of minimalist design and well-appointed finish and with an abundance of cabin space, anyone should be able to get comfy, although the rear might be reserved for the vertically challenged.
Audi’s done a good job of bringing a performance diesel to its menu with such powerful credentials and a lack of thirst. The A7 Sportback 3.0 TDI BiTurbo should appeal to your inner greenie that still craves the fun factor.
A downside is the price tag of R855 000 and with an extensive options list, you have to be careful not to go overboard.