Audi A7 Sportback versus BMW 8 Series Gran Coupé

This isn't big tennis, this is big driving. Whoever sits in the Audi A7 Sportback or in the BMW 8 Series Gran Coupé has made it to the top, to the Olympus of desire. Both coupé-like limousines are dream cars, eye-catchers and status symbols. But in a very special way, as we shall see.

As a BMW enthusiast, you just scrolled down and registered the result above the data table. Then, in righteous anger, you registered the initial post to start a shitstorm – don't send it off yet. Wait until the end of the text, your high blood pressure may drop again because you understand: Here we are comparing two completely different automotive delicacies, two noble dream cars, interpreted fundamentally differently: the Audi A7 Sportback and the BMW 8 Series Gran Coupé.

What's supposed to be so different about them, especially since the 55 TFSI Quattro and 840i xDrive are starting as all-wheel drive vehicles with turbocharged six-cylinder petrol engines? On the one hand, there is the concept: Against the practical use of the hatchback Audi, including a large tailgate and significantly more cargo space, the sedan-like BMW can only draw the short straw on points. This is reflected in the body section.

However, the blatant price difference between the two test cars plays the main role; he decides the cost evaluation - and thus ultimately the comparison test. If you now rudely reply that you don't care about costs and luggage space, then it's best to ignore the first and last blocks of the scoring.

Although, one shouldn't downplay that, the high price difference is simply a fact. And it gets even higher because BMW wants to help the test car with all sorts of options for optimal performance.

Everything is included

This is how the 840i xDrive with its sports brakes as part of the M-technology package for 3,800 euros stands on the test track after 34.3 meters from 100 km/h. Excellent. But the A7 55 TFSI Quattro can do it even better, needing 1.3 meters less for the same test. And the difference increases from 130 km/h with a cold brake system to almost three meters. However, the Gran Coupé with its extensive safety equipment almost makes up for the corresponding chapter. The turning circle is different, by the way: Thanks to its steering rear axle, the Sportback requires significantly less space to turn – if that’s worth 1,900 euros to you.

Why are we listing the options so specifically here? Because everything that is evaluated in the comparison test - for example in driving dynamics - is included in the calculation of the price in the cost chapter. In the meantime, for example, the seat adjustment is also part of it; we evaluate them in the sub-item service. And that's where Audi allows itself a curiosity when configuring: the leather armchairs want to be set up manually.Saves weight, yes yes, lowers the price of the test car, of course, but in this exquisite class it looks, uh - bizarre.

No flat-roof 7 Series

Apart from that, the Audi offers hardly less glamor than the BMW. Both models are eye-catchers on the outside and luxury lounges made of lacquer and leather on the inside. Whether you prefer one or the other is a matter of taste. In both cases, the designers came up with a lot more than just sticking a huge screen upright on the dashboard.

Objective differences can be found above all in the infotainment systems: In the A7 you mainly have to scribble on the touchscreen, which is strictly forbidden while driving. Thanks to its rotary pushbutton, the 840i xDrive can be operated with significantly less distraction - which earns it a few plus points in the comfort section under "Multimedia".

By the way, anyone who assumes that the Gran Coupé is simply the flat-roof variant of the 7 Series does not quite get through to the character of the 8 Series. The four-door coupe nestles closer to the driver, ensnares him more, challenges him more than the luxury sedan.

Because the 840i xDrive actually wants to flow deliberately and intentionally, which it unmistakably reports from the chassis to the steering wheel. This triggers a kind of alertness on the part of the driver: you spot a bend, appraise it, aim for it, steer with concentration and circle the big car straight through the black. Almost like Zen archery.

The Gran Coupé takes passages casually rather than casually, not only parries, but involves. This goes well beyond the cultivated dexterity of the Sportback, especially since the BMW supports itself more energetically in curves; the decisively liable Bridgestone Potenza S007 help here. On the other hand, thanks to the rear-heavy all-wheel drive, the 8 Series can even be easily steered via torque, as is more familiar from sports coupés. That, too, should warm the drivers among us deep into the pit of their stomachs.

When driving briskly, the 8 series morphs into smaller, looks like a 5 series coupé. The A7 with its distinguished comfort seems to be a descendant of the A8, which says a lot about the different characters.

Softened subliminally

The Audi outclasses the BMW when bouncing – it controls body movements almost overzealously, binding itself slavishly to the tectonics of the road surface instead of hovering over it in big swings like the Audi. That demoted bumps to insignificance. And despite the 20-inch wheels, it has a binding appeal: manhole covers, transverse joints, edges, it doesn't matter, everything arrives in the seat softened down to a subliminal level.

Okay, now let's compare the conventional steel chassis of the Gran Coupé with the optional air suspension of the Sportback for 2,650 euros.However, BMW could have used the opportunity to spread the adaptive dampers more in the direction of comfort - but decided on an emphatic solution and combined it in the test car with roll stabilization for 2,583 euros and the M Technik sports package. This includes 20-inch wheels, sports brakes and a sports differential.

In other words, this significant investment in accessories is probably a major reason why the big car turns corners so beautifully. So if the description of the driving behavior inspires you to such an extent that you intend to buy it, don't forget to tick the appropriate box in the configurator.

On the other hand, what comes as standard: the turbo in-line six-cylinder, which does not yet have the impressive 48-volt boost, but still turns enthusiastically - including the accurate torque converter automatic, which at best holds the low gears for a little longer in the sportiest mode. Those of the A7 treat themselves to one or two snuggles when shifting gears, but act somewhat indecisively when sorting the translations - without making any less impressive progress. In general, the following applies to the drive: The supercharged V6 stays discreetly in the background, and does not necessarily play to the front acoustically either.

How elegant restraint is generally one of the character traits of the A7. This goes as far as dialogue with the driver on demanding routes, where the steering reserves the right to communicate only the most important things. In any case, the Sportback seems to think little of rushing through curves in tense activity. He loves the open field instead, traversing it hastily but without haste, giving the rider a hand effectively without stimulating him and leaving his back plenty of room to loll. He also pays more attention to his passengers in the rear, offering them the more comfortable seat compared to the BMW.

Read more or not

This focus on comfort is just as consistent as the sportiness of the 840i xDrive. The attribute scoring almost ends in a Solomonic tie. If you followed our tip in hot-blooded anger and left out the first and last chapters, then your winner is Gran Coupé. So no reason to start the shitstorm. The comparison test ends for you with this sentence.

For everyone else, we would have to offer option two as the outcome of the race: Thanks to the surplus of points, the Audi, which is significantly worse equipped but also unmistakably cheaper, pushes past the BMW on the long home straight.


1. Audi A7 Sportback 55 TFSI 649 points

The A7 impresses with supple suspension comfort combined with calm agility and high everyday utility. And he throws a lower price into the balance.

2.BMW 840i Gran Coupe 639 points

The Gran Coupé is obsessed with handling and thus somewhat neglects the long-distance comfort that is typical of its class. The six-cylinder offers joyful drive luxury.


Leave a reply

Name *