Audi Stretched The A7 Sportback For Comfort-Loving China

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The lengthened A7 does away with the Sportback's key design feature.

It's no secret that Chinese buyers can't get enough of lengthened luxury cars. Automakers have taken to creating long-wheelbase derivatives not only of larger vehicles (such as the S-Class and 7 Series) but smaller sedans, too. What's more, BMW has even introduced a China-only X5 Li, a longer version of the midsize SUV that focuses on rear legroom and comfort.

Ingolstadt-based rival Audi also offers an assortment of elongated offerings, including a stretched version of its A6 sedan. Positioned between the mid-size A6 and full-size A8 is the rakish A7, a plush alternative for those who don't mind sacrificing a bit of space and practicality in return for style and design flair. But, curiously, Audi China has elected to create a long-wheelbase derivative of the svelte model, doing away with its most distinctive feature in the process.

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While consumers and journalists in the US will never get to experience this automotive anomaly, China-based Wheelsboy has been lucky enough to slide in behind the wheel of the lengthy Audi. From the front of the A7L to the C-pillar, everything remains the same. After that, the sleek roofline of the regular model disappears, flowing into a more conventional trunk, as seen on the A6 and A8. The presenter notes the car was "met with a healthy amount of skepticism" when first seen in 2021.

He notes, however, the trick is to look at the A7L as a completely different car, rather than a variation of the conventional model. What the long-wheelbase model gains in rear legroom, it loses in overall cargo space. The conventional Sportback design offers up 24.9 cubic feet of luggage space, for example. Priced in China at around $72,000 to $123,000, the A7L isn't even well-equipped. The entry-level model doesn't even receive a wireless charging pad as standard.

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Several engine choices are available: a 2.0-liter in two different states of tune or a 3.0-liter V6 with 335 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. Despite the large proportions, it's still able to hit 62 mph in 5.6 seconds. The ride is improved over the regular A7, which is likely a result of the increased wheelbase. Measuring 199.8 inches front to rear, it's not as lengthy as a regular A8 but does boast a longer wheelbase, at 119.1 inches.

The first Chinese-made Audi (the A7L is a product of the SAIC Volkswagen joint venture) is a curious thing. The A7 appeals to style-conscious buyers but, by removing the fastback design, you're removing the main selling point. What's more, you're removing practicality in the pursuit of more legroom, already available in the cheaper and more sensible A6L. As the presenter of the video notes, he doesn't expect sales to be high. Then again, the Chinese place rear legroom above all else so, who knows? It may prove to be immensely popular.

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