The Audi S7 is a high-performance sedan for style-conscious shoppers. But don’t let this four-door coupe’s good looks deceive you; it’s much more than a rolling fashion statement.
Engine: 4.0L twin-turbocharged V8
Power: 450 horsepower, 406 lb-ft of torque
Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic
Fuel Economy: 17 mpg city, 27 highway, 21 combined
US As-Tested Price: $95,525 including $925 in destination charges
Sharing the same basic underpinnings with the altogether enjoyable A6, this sleek and speedy machine drives even better than it looks. But, fortunately, its thoroughbred engineering didn’t stop designers from tweaking a few things.
For 2016, the S7 gains a reworked front fascia to accommodate LED headlights; the car’s tail lamps use the same illumination technology, ensuring other motorists can see the fact that this is an Audi from miles away.
Two fresh interior colors are also on the menu, as are four new trim inlays.
Out of Sight, Top of Mind
But this is not where Audi’s S7 received the most attention for this new model year, oh no. Its powertrain has been generously improved.
The car is propelled – and rapidly – by a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8, just like last year’s version. However, engineers squeezed and extra 30 horses out of this powerplant, making for a total of 450. Torque clocks in at 406 lb-ft, all of which is available from basement to attic, from just 1,400 rpm all the way to 5,700.
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All of this mojo blesses the car with serious performance. It’ll rocket to 60 miles an hour in a claimed 4.5 seconds, though in truth, it’s probably fleeter than that. No matter how you slice it, this is impressive scoot, especially when you consider the S7’s curb weight, which is nearly 4,600 pounds. That’s comparable to a Ford Explorer, which is a huge crossover vehicle.
If, for some reason, you need even more power, Audi will happily sell you an RS 7, which is sportier and, not surprisingly, significantly faster. Its version of that 4.0-liter V8 has been goosed for an additional 110 horsepower compared to the S7, something that drops the 60 sprint to just 3.7 seconds.
Of course, the S7 is an Audi, which means a few things. It has a top-quality interior, is dressed in subtle design and it features all-wheel drive. The company’s famous quattro system has also been enhanced for 2016. The available sport differential features new software that make it even more responsive than before.
A seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission is the sole gearbox offered. It does what it can to enhance both performance and efficiency. On the subject of consumption, the S7 stickers at 17 miles per gallon in urban driving and an impressive 27 while cruising on the highway. Combined, it should average 21 mpg.
Style and Substance
Thanks to its liftback design, this car offers up nearly 25 cubic feet of cargo space. This compares quite favorably to the A6, which has a little more than 14 cubes of maximum volume.
However, the S7’s hold sounds more generous than it is in reality, since the area is rather awkwardly shaped. It’s broad, long and shallow because of the sloping hatch. In short, this car’s trunk is spacious, but don’t expect to fit a washing machine in there.
Comparing the S7 to the A6 in other dimensions reveals some interesting things. For instance, its wheelbase is just two-tenths of an inch longer, spanning a generous 114.8 inches. However, it’s nearly three inches lower and more than two inches wider, dimensional changes that help give it that dramatic look.
Nineteen-inch wheels are standard, but 20s and 21s are optional. Our test car rolled on the latter, which feature an attractive five-spoke design. They were wrapped in winter tires for maximum grip.
In spite of its fashion-forward appearance, the S7 doesn’t sacrifice too much comfort. Head and legroom in the back seat are only fractions of an inch less what you get in an A6. More sprawlin’ room would be appreciated, but this is hardly a deal-breaker.
With this car, Audi once again flexes its muscles, demonstrating its mastery of interior design and execution. There’s little to carp about in the S7’s cockpit, as the materials are class leading and the assembly quality beyond reproach.
The car we evaluated featured the $2,500 Audi design selection interior, which added “carbon twill” decorative inlays and striking quilted red leather on the seats and center armrest.
On the technology front, the S7 features Audi’s familiar MMI system, which is as user friendly as ever and now features 4G LTE data provided by AT&T. Among other things, this provides WiFi for on-the-go connectivity while a NVIDIA Tegra chip ensures speedy performance. With specs like these, the S7 sounds more like something you’d pick up at BestBuy than a dealership.
Predictably, this Audi is quite enjoyable to drive. The thrust provided by its twin-turbo V8 is immense. The car leaps ahead from a standstill with impressive verve; quattro all-wheel drive ensures it never spins a tire even during wide-open-throttle blasts.
And that power doesn’t taper off at higher revs. This engine just keeps pulling and pulling until the transmission upshifts. Making it even more enjoyable, the powerplant is silky smooth and beautifully isolated. Hardly any vibration or uncouth harshness can be felt.
Even rolling on knobby snow tires, the S7 still handles like a proper driver’s car. The body is well controlled, staying flat while negotiating turns. Carving corners reveals that this machine has tons of grip and a firm ride, which can be a bit tedious if you live in a locale where the roads are less than spectacular.
One other complaint centers on this car’s dual-clutch transmission. It shifts faster than the blink of an eye and maximizes the engine’s performance, though in certain situations, it’s not always smooth. On occasion, it will shudder slightly and some shifts aren’t quite as refined as what you’d get with a torque converter.
The Verdict: 2016 Audi S7
The 2016 Audi S7 is seriously speedy and refined. This swoopy sports sedan also offers customers a top-notch cabin and roomy trunk. If style matters and you want the convenience of a four-door, put the Audi S7 on your shopping list.
Base price for one of these alluring machines is around $83,000, which is comparable to rivals like the Mercedes-Benz CLS550 or a BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe. But our test car was hardly entry level. It was dressed up with the $3,500 sport package, the $2,700 black optic package, the $2,450 driver-assistance package and more. These add-ons inflated the as-tested price to a chest-clutching $95,525, including $925 for shipping and handling. But hey, good things are never cheap.
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