The A7 will be the first model to use Audi’s new mid-size platform, which the next A6 will also use when it goes on sale next year.
The 4,950 millimeters-long A7 will compete against the new Mercedes-Benz CLS, also to be premiered in Paris, and the 2012 BMW Gran Coupe. The top of the range will be the RS7 model, powered by the same 5.2-liter V10 engine from the current RS6 and R8 models. The unit will put out 580 horsepower and will be mated to a new seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
Other models in the A7 line-up will use a range of V6, V8 and V10 petrol and diesel engines. Among the engines expected to account for the majority of European sales are the new 330 hp supercharged 3.0-liter V6 direct injection petrol and the 250 hp 3.0-liter V6 common-rail diesel.
Previewed by the Sportback concept shown at last year’s Detroit show, the production version of the A7 Sportback will have a sleek four-door fastback body, similar in style to the A5 Sportback. There will also be some design features to remind of the Audi 100 S coupe made between 1970 and 1976.
“The overall look is less formal than that of the A8,” Audi design boss Stefan Sielaff was quoted as saying by Autocar. Inside, the A7 Sportback receives a unique dashboard and seating for four. A three-person rear bench will be offered as an option.