( Worldcarfans ) - Audi's answer to Mercedes' CLS four-door coupe has hit the road in mule form. At first glance it is clear to see this Audi A7 mule is wearing a slightly modified front end of an A6 combined with an A8 body. Closer inspection reveals the Frankenstein nature of this mule with a shortened trunk and a rear bumper which is hiding a new exhaust system.
Back in March during the Geneva Motor Show, Audi officials stated their intent to double the model lineup by 2015 by confirming such models as the Q5 and A7 as well as another smaller SUV yet to be named.
Hoping to target customers looking for a vehicle with coupe looks yet four-door function, the Audi A7 will naturally be positioned between the A6 and A8 using Audi's new "one size fits all" MLP (Modular Long Platform) first debuting in the Audi A5 and more recently the new A4. However, the A7 version of the MLP also sets the basis for the next generation A6 as well. Just like the A4/A5, the A6 and A7 will receive a new steering rack, multi-link suspension and a rear-biased quattro all-wheel-drive in an effort to combat the notorious understeer characteristics of the previous generations. Audi knows its' cars need to perform better dynamically in order to compete with BMW and Mercedes.
The A7 is expected to debut as a design concept in early 2008 and market debut at Frankfurt 2009. Much like the A8, the A7 will get the entry level V6 and V8 petrol and diesel engines and then non-aspirated 309 kW (420 hp) Lambo V10 in the S7 and 426 kW (580 bhp) bi-turbo V10 from the RS6 in the RS7.