It just slips beneath the five-metre barrier, at 4,969mm long, which makes it 170mm shorter than the standard A8, and it rides on a 2,926mm wheelbase.
It retains its solid stance on the road, thanks to a low 1,422mm roofline and a squat 1,908mm width. That all makes it fractionally higher (2mm), wider (2mm) and shorter (14mm) than its predecessor.
It has the outline of the old A7, but adds taut surfacing and dives deep into Audi’s pool of OLED and laser lighting technology to add a set of welcome and farewell light shows. Like the A8, there’s a full-width rear lighting system, with 13 individual lighting pieces and a long light bar, geared to deliver a theatrical performance when the car is locked or unlocked.
It’s not likely to scare off fans of the current car, which continues with frameless doors and windows and a tailgate that still hinges from the roof to give unimpeded access to its 535l luggage area. This rises to 1,390l with the seats folded down.
Its single-frame grille isn’t quite as imposing as it is on the A8, but it’s still large enough to be accused of lacking grace and proportion, though it adopts enough of the Prologue concept car’s surfacing to compensate.
The glasshouse uses six windows, but is quite shallow to allow for greater body sculpting and a low roof line, sloping steeply to the rear, which also ties it in to the original A7.
It retains the active, pop-up spoiler, which it fires out of the tailgate at speeds above 120km/h to reduce lift at highway speeds. The initial cars will also offer an S-Line design trim to give them a sportier look.
Inside, there is a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster as standard equipment, combined with a 10.1-inch infotainment screen that responds to touch, voice or written command and has haptic feedback.
Like it does in the A8, the introduction of touchscreens wipes away a generation of buttons and knobs, giving the driver-focused cabin a cleaner look than it has today.
It uses a short, flat-topped gear selector, similar to the one in the A8, which is largely designed for drivers to rest their wrists on while they’re writing on the lower touchscreen.
The contoured front seats have ventilation, heating and massage functions, while the rear of the cabin can be configured with either two individual seats or a 2+1 setup, which boast 20mm more legroom.
It uses all the same connectivity as the A8, complete with permanent 4G connection and Car-to-X and traffic sign services to use swarm intelligence for real-time traffic information.
It will introduce a remote garage pilot later, which will autonomously drive the A7 into and out of garages or tight parking spots, even with the driver outside the car operating it from a smartphone application.
Like the A8, it’s pre-engineered for the time when Level 3 autonomy becomes legislative reality, so there’s a suite of up to five cameras, five radar sensors, 12 ultra-sonic sensors and a laser LiDar scanner, networked via the zFas controller that manages the 39 driver assistance systems in the A7.
The new A7 will only get to SA late in 2018, however it appears to be pre-prepared for the years to follow.