The first Audi for China developed through the SAIC joint venture is debuting this week at Auto Shanghai 2021. Complementing the Audi-FAW A6L saloon and regular A7, the A7L eschews the Sportback body style of its global cousin and opts instead for a traditional saloon with a proper boot lid. With customers in the People's Republic having a soft spot for rear legroom, the newcomer has a significantly longer wheelbase than the original Sportback.
The distance between the axles has grown by 98 millimetres (3.85 inches) to 3,026 mm (119.1 in) and the whole car now measures a stately 5,076 mm (199.8 in). It's still overall shorter than the standard A8, but curiously, the wheelbase is a smidge longer compared to the non-LWB A8.
There's not much to say about the design since the A7L is basically a stretched saloon derivative of the Sportback. That holds true for the interior as well, effectively carried over from the liftback model, with the obvious change being the abundance of legroom for passengers sitting in the back.
Gallery: Audi A7 L Specially Prepared for China
The car featured here is the First Edition equipped with a 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 engine featuring mild-hybrid tech. It offers 335 bhp (250 kilowatts) and 369 pound-feet (500 Newton-metres) of torque channelled to the Quattro all-wheel-drive system via a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission.
An air suspension comes as standard, and so does four-wheel steering to make the large saloon easier to manoeuvre in a tight space and increase stability during high-speed cornering. The First Edition is capped at 1,000 examples and is essentially equipped with all the bells and whistles for early adopters looking to get an elongated A7 with a conventional boot.
Much like the A6L, the new A7L will be produced and sold in China alongisde the regular A7 Sportback. Audi says customer deliveries are scheduled to commence in the first quarter of 2022. The Four Rings hope its total annual sales in the world's most populous country will reach one million by the middle of the decade, up from the 700,000 vehicles sold last year.
When it comes to long-wheelbase Audi models in China, the A3 and A4 have also been stretched along with a couple of crossovers – the Q2L and Q5L. The former is available locally with purely electric propulsion as the China-only Q2L E-Tron.