Audi's new A7 Sportback is a tech powerhouse, an LED light show and a potential economy champ
Stylish Seven: Audi's new A7 Sportback is a tech powerhouse The Audi A7 Sportback is equipped with a fully digital dashboard, with three high-definition touchscreen displays.

Audi's second A7 Sportback has a similar outline as the first. But almost everything else is different.

Body crease lines are sharper and hence more pronounced, the grille is wider and sits lower, and air intakes stretch to the extreme ends of the bumper, giving the front a seriously muscular look.

More obvious are the tail lights, which curve upwards at the edges and are connected by a light strip - like the Porsche Cayenne's.

And shockingly, you will not see the tailpipes. They point downwards before reaching the bumper, so you will need to look under if you ever want to make sure they are there.

The test-cars are fitted with HD Matrix LED with Laser headlights. Each headlamp unit is divided horizontally into two sections.

On the upper tier are 12 vertical strips of white LED modules functioning as day-time-running lights.

What looks like a black LED in the centre is in fact the low beam. Sharing the lower section with the orange scrolling indicator strips is the high-beam laser unit.

The rear lights are similarly intriguing, with 13 short vertical strips of red LEDs on each side.

The new car is practically the same size as its predecessor, except its wheelbase is 12mm longer at 2,926mm. This is clear once you get in. Built with typical Audi attention to detail, the cabin is surprisingly spacious front and rear.

A fully digital dashboard takes centre stage. Three high-definition touchscreen displays in the front - even the rear seat air-conditioner control is a touchscreen - replace the previous model's MMI knob and its array of selector buttons.

In terms of versatility in selection, adjustment and functionality, the new system is technologically far superior to the old one. The dashboard also looks super high-tech.

It does, however, take a while to understand all of the features and how to use them.

In the original MMI unit, you needed just 10 minutes of driving to be familiar with the location of all the switches. Not so in this newfangled control system - you need to look at the screen to make selections. This is somewhat distracting.

The only knob left on the new A7's console is the audio volume control. Thank you, Audi.

So get all your personal preferences sorted before you set off so that you can enjoy the drive. With all-wheel-drive, the A7 is incredibly surefooted. Its 340hp/500Nm turbocharged V6, while not eye-watering, is still pretty punchy.

The all-new power plant has a single turbocharger and is mated to an exceptionally smooth seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

The car sprints from zero to 100kmh in 5.3 seconds. More impressive, though, is its 48-volt lithium-ion electrical system, which shuts off the engine when the car is coasting between 55kmh and 160kmh (to save fuel). The system, first seen in the new A8, starts up the engine when your foot is back on the accelerator.

And it does so flawlessly each time - at least, thankfully, in the course of this test-drive.