NEW YORK -- Audi is entering a new niche with the 2012 A7 Sportback.
The car is a sleek, premium hatchback, positioned between the A6 and the A8.
The A7 Sportback “is intended to be an avant-garde alternative” for Jaguar XJ and BMW 7 series buyers, said Audi of America President Johan de Nysschen.
“These are buyers who may be looking for something a little more emotionally styled with all of the driving dynamics and all of the safety found in an A8 or a 7 series,” he said on the eve of the New York auto show.
The car also will rival the Mercedes-Benz CLS, a sleek sedan with coupelike styling.
The A7 is part of Audi’s plan to expand its product line in an effort to boost U.S. sales to 150,000 vehicles in 2015, de Nysschen said. The automaker last year sold 101,629 vehicles in the United States, it best year ever.
The A7 Sportback is essentially a hatchback. Sales begin in May.
Filip Brabec, general manager of product planning for Audi of America, said the large decklid “is nicely hidden in the design so when you look at the car you don’t really think of it that way. You don’t think there’s a big door that will open in the back, and it has some practicality as well.”
The car will be available with two V-6 gasoline engines: a 280-hp 2.8-liter and a 290-hp 3.0-liter. Additionally, two diesel V-6 engines are available: a 170-hp 3.0-liter and a 240-hp 3.0-liter.
Numerous options are offered, including an adaptive system that adjusts the intensity of the headlights. It takes into consideration such factors as the brightness of streetlights in urban areas and the brightness of the headlights of oncoming traffic. The system uses a small camera mounted on the rearview mirror.
While A7 Sportback carries a $60,125 sticker price, including destination, de Nysschen expects most transaction prices to be in the upper $60,000s.