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By Nick Jones

The Audi A7 Sportback is something of a forgotten soldier.

What it brings to the party is a large, luxury car that has four doors, a big engine and a hatchback rear end.

Hatchbacks are usually reserved for the shoppers of this world so is it a bold decision for Audi to fit one in a luxury car or have Audi scored an own goal?

In my book, the fact it has a hatchback configuration only adds credence to the A7, and could tempt saloon car lovers into the practicality cocoon.

In many respects we have the goatee-beard grille at the front, thin headlamps and a wide track.

It’s so low at the front that when you see one approaching in your rearview mirror you could be mistaken for thinking it was the sporty R8, the powerful LED lights glowing.

Down the sides there are four huge doors and fluted arches housing enormous alloy wheels.

At the back, the hatch bit becomes more prominent as it tails off to a somewhat curvaceous and engaging rump that has a distinctive lip spoiler.

At five metres long and nearly two wide, it can only just be accommodated in a standard car park space.

Engine-wise you can have either petrol or diesel; the line-up starts with a 2.8-litre FSI engine with 200bhp, or you can have the 3.0-litre TFSI version with supercharger – both petrol – which churns out a fruity 300bhp.

My test car was the 3.0-litre diesel version, producing a healthy 240bhp, but you may just want to go for the softer version with 3.0-litre’s again but producing just 200 horses.

Whichever you choose, you can have it in 2WD, those wanting the surety of the Quattro system will have to pay for the privilege.

The test machine was listed as capable of over 140mph, with the 0-60mph sprint taking just over seven seconds.

With the promise of over 50mpg, it offers both performance and economy. Add emissions at a very low 158g/km and hey presto, the Audi A7 really does deliver in all aspects.

The four-wheel-drive system, yes the test car had that too, had the smooth-yet-quick changing S-Tronic gearbox instead of the Multitronic version of the two wheel drive cars, which gives good advantage on the road as it’s lightning fast and changes are precise.

Great to see all A7’s having the Audi Drive Select dynamics package, which allows different driving modes and monitors and adjusts the throttle and steering outputs, according to the way it’s being driven.

There is no reason to fault to interior at all, it’s comfortable, swathed in leather and has all bits that are usually saved for the options list bolted on as standard – things like Bluetooth connectivity, satellite navigation, cruise control and DAB stereo etc… the list seems endless.

It also seats four adults very comfortably and should you want to use the hatch it opens automatically and can hold up to 1,400-litres with the back seats folded down.

Prices for the A7 start at £43,760 for the 3.0-litre TDI version in SE spec, rising to £49,800 for the top of the range S-Line Quattro version.

As for the petrol versions, they begin at £45,240 for the 2.8-litre FSI SE version, and top out at £49,800 for the TFSI S-Line Quattro.

For me, it has to be the diesel, with nearly 500Nm of torque twisting and pushing you along it rewards with effortless, quiet cruising.