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New details on upcoming Audi A7 Sedan and Cabrio

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As part of its new model blitz to drive its offerings up from th
current 23 cars to a total of 40, Audi is augmenting its lineup wit
new coupes, soft-roaders and sedans. Late last year Audi revealed th
new S5 and A5 Cabrios and the Q5 SUV is already priced an
safety-tested for North America. One of the next models Audi plans t
bring to market is its A7 four-door coupe. The latest details reveal
car targeted at premium buyers with a taste for style and power, wit
both hard-top and cabriolet versions planned.

Production is a certainty now that Audi has decided to put millions o
euros into the plant in Neckarsulm in order to make the necessar
upgrades and changes to build the A7 there. Production will star
toward the end of next year, Audi boss Rupert Stadler told Automobil
Woche, leaving launch timing up in the air, but likely for a very lat
2010 or early 2011 launch. Previous hints at a launch date ha
mentioned the second half of 2010 as the target, but the with th
intervening global recession and corresponding downturn in the ca
market, the A7 program appears to have been pushed back a few months.

A very wide range of powertrains will be offered in the A7 and its S
and RS7 sport-focused variants. Everything from diesel-electric hybrid
to 600hp V10s will be found under the hood of one variant or another
The hybrid drive is expected to show up first in the companyís Q
soft-roader. A diesel-electric version is rumored, but the company ma
end up using a gasoline engine instead.

The more ordinary A7 variants will be powered by a pair of V6s. Th
first, a 204hp 2.8L engine is the base model, while the 3.0
supercharged engine making 300hp will be the first step up. An upgrad
to S7 trim will bring with it another 94hp in the form of a 4.0L V8
The RS7ís 600hp 5.0L twin-turbo V10 is the range-topper. The S7 and RS
will be released two years apart, with the S7 arriving first in lat
2010 or early 2011 and RS7 after that.

A six-speed manual gearbox and eight-speed automatic will be availabl
in the lower-spec models, while a seven-speed dual-clutch unit is als
expected to be offered in the higher-performance variants. Nort
American models are also expected to get Audiís quattro AWD standard
though it is not known if European market variants will have a RW
option. Audiís new torque-vectoring system will also be part of th

Air suspension will replace the standard spring-based system found i
other Audis. The change is designed to help the car compete with th
progenitor of the four-door coupe genre, the Mercedes CLS. Sales of th
car are only expected to reach the 40,000 mark, but the image boost i
will offer with its high-tech features and glamorous look - especiall
in the soft-top variant - are important for Audiís development as

Audi released several official sketches of its future lineup late las
year, including one of the A7, and our preview fleshes that sketch ou
into a three-dimensional look at what could be.


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