Beneath its mostly aluminum skin, the A7 further asserts its place near the top of the Audi lineup. Although Europeans have a choice of four V-6s -- two gasoline and two diesel -- only the most powerful gas engine will make it to the United States at launch. That would be the 300-hp, 3.0-liter supercharged unit we already know and love in the S4 (a 2010 Automobile Magazine All-Star). It will be paired with Audi's second application of an eight-speed automatic transmission, the first being the new A8. Rear-biased Quattro all-wheel drive is also standard on U.S. models. Audi estimates the 0 to 62 mph sprint will take 5.6 seconds, with an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph.
It almost goes without saying that the four-door coupe will employ a full complement of electronic wizardry to claw its way through corners. In addition to a center differential that can instantly transfer much of the 3.0-liter's 325 lb-ft of torque from front to back (or vice versa), the A7 will also shuffle power via an antilock-brake-based torque-vectoring system that slows the inner wheels to facilitate hard cornering. An optional sport differential like that available in the S4 further distributes power between the rear wheels. Finally, the A7 also comes standard with Audi's Drive Select system, which adjusts steering effort, shift patterns, throttle mapping, and suspension compliance (on models equipped with adaptive dampers and air springs).
We won't be able to fully vet the A7 until we've had a chance to sit behind the wheel and pilot it through some twisties. Nevertheless, the early information and pictures suggest that Audi made good use of the extra time it took before wading into the increasingly crowded pool of four-door coupes. The A7 debuts in Europe this fall for a starting price of about 50,000 Euros (approximately $65,000). U.S.-market timing and pricing haven't yet been announced. We should have more information and impressions following the car's live unveiling tonight in Munich. Stay tuned to Automobile's blog section for more details as we get them.