Don't call it an A6.
The Volkswagen Group has a vast portfolio in China thanks to its local joint ventures with FAW and SAIC. The former builds and sells an extended-wheelbase Audi A6L Saloon while the latter recently launched the A7L, also a saloon. In case you've missed the memo, yes, the A7 we all know as a sleek Sportback since 2010 has morphed into a stately saloon in the People's Republic.
A new walkaround video shot at the Auto Shanghai gives us a closer look at the China-only A7L with its trunk lid replacing the more practical liftback body style. At 5,076 millimetres long, it's a smidge larger than the A6 sold in China where the traditional saloon features a stretched wheelbase compared to the global model. Speaking of which, the distance between the axles of the A7L measures 3,026 mm, which is once again a little bit more than the A6L.
Gallery: Audi A7 L Specially Prepared for China
We are going to admit that seeing spy shots of the car at the beginning of the month before its world premiere in Shanghai had us worried about its exterior appearance. After all, the A7 Sportback is one of the most attractive cars out there, so turning it into a conventional saloon might not be such a great idea. However, if you can see it as a distinct model and get past the fact the A7L has its origins in a saloon transformed into a liftback and then back into a saloon, it's not half bad.
We're hearing the three-box A7L will be the only version of the A7 in China to offer the 3.0-litre TFSI V6 engine going forward, meaning the imported Sportback model will be stuck with four-cylinder powertrains. It's likely because Audi wants to advertise the A7L as the fancier version of the two, especially in this Edition One. It's limited to 1,000 cars and comes standard with a generous amount of kit.
The A7L represents an interesting decision taken by VW’s Chinese arm considering it overlaps with the A6L saloon, A7 Sportback, and to some extent, even the A8. The latter is available in the country only in the long-wheelbase configuration, so it's still the biggest and most luxurious model with the Four Rings money can buy.