Audi brings back the five-door sedan-hatch. And we like the idea.
In the 1970s, many European carmakers offered four-door cars with a sloped roofline and a large hatch for accessing the cargo hold. Beyond the simple 'hatchback' descriptor, designations such as fastback or aeroback were used in cases where the trunk opening remained small. The style even became fashionable in the U.S.—think Buick Century, Oldsmobile Cutlass, or Chevrolet Citation—but the fad was over by the mid-'80s. Only niche vehicles, such as the Saab 9000 or the Mazda 6 hatchback, carried on, as the typical sedan reclaimed its territory.
Today, though, we're seeing a resurgence of four-doors with wide hatchbacks, led by the German premium brands. The movement is being spearheaded by the styling leaders at Audi, as well as by the somewhat less elegant Porsche Panamera. The shape brings more practicality than a notchback sedan, and it makes for a beautiful, sleek roofline. Plus, they're kind of '70s retro. What's not to like?
Audi is so confident that customers will go for this style that two models are in the wings: the A5 Sportback, based on the A5 coupe, and the A7—see our spy shots here—which will be positioned between the A6 and A8 sedans. Both vehicles will rely on the same modular architecture, but the A7 is large enough to be positioned comfortably above the A5 Sportback.