The Audi S7 Sportback is back for 2021 and remains one of the prettiest models in the German automaker's lineup. Sure, it seemingly offers less value than the mechanically identical Audi S6, but it also boasts enough space and style to make competitors like the Porsche Panamera seem wasteful. Equipped with a 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine, it's missing the character of the V8 of old, but its 48-volt mild-hybrid electric system makes it more economical, while an electric supercharger completely eradicates any hint of lag. But a car like this has more to offer than just 444 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque. Inside, you'll find luxurious heated seats and four-zone automatic climate control. Add to that LED taillights with animation and you get a hint of just how tech-savvy this big brute is. But is this behemoth a truly attractive proposition when the RS7 exists? Let's see.
Little has changed compared to the 2020 S7 Sportback model year, but the few changes that were made are notable. 21-inch wheels wrapped in summer tires are now standard in place of the 20-inch rims of the year before, while Audi's stunning virtual cockpit plus is paired with carbon twill inlays to make the interior just as attractive as the exterior. The optional Executive package for the Premium Plus trim also now includes adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist.
The Audi S7 Sportback's curving roofline and sloped rear end are its most distinguishing features and make it look far sleeker than its dimensions would suggest. As an S model, it stands out from the A7 through brushed aluminum-look mirrors and accents in the front bumper. It also gets 21-inch wheels, gorgeous HD Matrix-design LED headlights, and LED taillights with animation. A panoramic sunroof is also included while an adaptive rear spoiler, muscular arches, and a quad-exit exhaust arrangement in a meaty rear diffuser are used to make the S7 subtly aggressive.
Unsurprisingly, the new Audi S7 quattro takes up quite a lot of space. The car measures an expansive 196 inches in length with a wheelbase measuring 115.3 inches. It's rather wide too, with the body measuring 75.1 inches excluding the mirrors. The height is pegged at 55.8 inches but it's the curb weight that is the most worrying spec: the S7 weighs a whopping 4,597 pounds.
As usual, it's the two plainest colors that cost nothing. In this case, that's Brilliant Black and Ibis White. However, because this is something of an executive vehicle with an already high price tag, you can spec Audi exclusive special paint for $3,900. If that's a little too sharp for your taste, $595 buys you metallic finishes like Avalon Green, Firmament Blue, Florett Silver, Glacier White, Mythos Black, Navarra Blue, Tango Red, and Vesuvius Gray. Also available is Daytona Gray at the same cost - the only pearl finish on the 2021 palette. For a sleek and sexy vehicle like this, we'd be tempted by Florett Silver, but that Tango Red is hard to ignore too.
The 2021 Audi S7 is fitted with a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 that is supplemented by an electric supercharger and a 48-volt mild-hybrid electric system with regenerative capabilities. As cool as all that sounds, the old V8 sounded better and accelerated a little faster. That said, it was thirstier, and when the old RS6 lost its twin-turbo V10 to save fuel, gearheads everywhere lamented its demise. But just look at the RS6 Avant now. We suspect that the S7 with its 444 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque may one day be looked back on fondly too. One day, any sound coming from under the hood will be appreciated. So while we still have a gas engine here for the current generations of various cars, let's enjoy it and see how it does. Audi claims that the S7 will launch itself from 0-60 mph in just 4.5 seconds, but these estimates have often been conservative. Top speed is supposedly limited to 155 mph, but again, some have breached this ceiling in the real world. Basically what we're saying is this: despite its massive size, the S7 is stupidly fast.
Just one engine and gearbox configuration is offered, but one is all you really need when it produces 444 hp and 443 lb-ft. Thanks to electric assistance, the land yacht's acceleration from the lights or when overtaking on the freeway is instantaneous. The turbo Audi S7's throttle response is sharp enough to make you think there's a naturally aspirated motor under the hood and the eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission is just as quick. This unit shifts up and down quickly and smoothly even when it's not in Sport mode, but switch to the more hurried setting and you'll find the S7 hanging on to gears a little longer and putting you deeper into the realm of flashing blue lights. Naturally, there are steering-mounted paddles for you to take manual control with too, and these respond with the same eagerness as the loud pedal under your right foot. It's simply brilliant, and if you didn't look at the specs of the old model, you'd think that this 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 S7 is just as quick as its lighter predecessor.
Despite its monumental size, the S7 is incredible at powering through corners and rocketing you out the other side with minimal drama. Simply point where you want to go, bury your right foot, and hold on as the S7's quattro all-wheel-drive system finds grip where there should be none and blasts you down the road. The adaptive air suspension system keeps the car relatively flat and allows you to enjoy laidback cruises too, but there's still no getting around the sheer mass of this thing. If there were no Porsche Panamera in this world, we'd think the S7 is close to perfect, but Stuttgart has the handling thing nailed. Nevertheless, the S7 will impress even seasoned drivers and will offer a concentrated yet comfortable dose of performance as standard. Brakes are impressive too, and you don't really feel the regenerative qualities of the hybrid system intruding on your drive much. If all that doesn't sound quite good enough, an available adaptive steel suspension setup, a sport rear differential, and all-wheel steering can be specced to narrow the gap between this and the Porker. As an immensely practical, sporty, and comfortable GT, this S7 is hard to fault.
You can't expect a car with this much power and weight to rival a Nissan Leaf for fuel economy, but the S7 still returns decent gas mileage. According to the EPA, the S7 will do 18/28/22 mpg on its city/highway/combined cycles. With a large 19.3-gallon gas tank fitted, you can safely expect to get around 425 miles between fillups with mixed driving - assuming that your bursts on the gas pedal are restrained. Compared to BMW's M850i xDrive Gran Coupe that manages 17/25/20 mpg and an average range of around 360 miles, that's not bad at all.
Audi always manages to blend class with innovation in its cabins and the interior of the S7 is no different. The dash seems to go on forever, making the already spacious S7 feel even bigger inside than it is. Add to that newly-standard carbon twill inlays and classy splashes of aluminum surrounded by luxurious Valcona leather, and you're sitting in a hyper-modern, uber-luxurious lounge on wheels. Ahead of the driver is a stunning 12.3-inch LCD driver info display, but Audi also provides a 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment display and an 8.6-inch touchscreen to control features like the quad-zone automatic climate control system and the LED ambient lighting. In short, the S7 looks and feels like we always dreamed the future might.
The Audi S7 seats five and is wide enough for those in the back to have good wiggle room for their shoulders. However, that sexy roofline imitating that of a coupe does affect the headroom of those in the second row in a way that the more boring-looking S6 doesn't. It's still not uncomfortable though - unless you're an NBA player. In front, 12-way heated sport seats offer support and comfort in equal measure and the driver has everything in easy reach. Heated and ventilated 18-way front seats with massaging are also available, and rear seats can be heated with a little extra money on the options allocation too. Getting in and out is also easy to do, and the top trim makes closing the doors even more convenient with power soft-closing doors all-round.
As standard, the S7 comes with stunning, diamond-stitched Valcona leather with contrast stitching. Your choices of color here are the eye-catching Arras Red with Agate Gray stitching, Black with Rock Gray stitching, and Rotor Gray with Anthracite stitching. Carbon twill inlays are standard, but you can choose Fine Grain Ash Natural Brown Wood accents too, or matte brushed aluminum to match the wing mirrors' caps.
Since the S6 is cheaper yet mechanically identical, you buy the S7 either for its looks or its practicality. That sloping roof leads into a massive rear hatchback tailgate that you'll be glad to know is both power-operated and features hands-free opening and closing. Seeing what a big slab of glass and metal this tailgate is, we're quite happy that electric motors do the heavy lifting. Once you pop the hatch, you're presented with an enormous rear opening that allows access to 24.9 cubic feet of volume. That's more than enough to carry weekend luggage for all occupants with room to spare. The Porsche Panamera, on the other hand, only offers a paltry 17.6 cubes. Of course, a wagon would outdo both cars here. Folding down the 40/20/40-split-folding rear seatback opens up even more room to slide in larger items.
In the cabin, all four doors offer large pockets and each row gets a pair of cupholders. There's also center armrest storage and a medium-size glovebox. There's no excuse for anyone to have keys in their pockets that might damage that sumptuous leather.
As the multitude of screens suggest, the S7 is not short on features by any means. Standard equipment is extensive and includes heated 12-way sport seats, adaptive air suspension, HD Matrix-design LED headlights with auto high beams, a 12.3-inch driver info display, an 8.6-inch touch display to control the four-zone automatic climate control, keyless entry and ignition, a hands-free power tailgate, and rain-sensing wipers. You also get cruise control, parking sensors, a surround-view camera, lane departure warning, a retractable rear spoiler, a heated steering wheel, a panoramic sunroof with a power sunshade, and ambient LED interior lighting.
Options include heated rear seats, Matrix-design headlights with Audi laser light technology, a sport rear diff, a sports exhaust, all-wheel steering, heated and ventilated 18-way front seats with massage functions, dual-pane acoustic glass, multicolor ambient lighting, adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist and traffic sign recognition, a night vision camera, lane keep assist, intersection assist, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and vehicle exit warning.
The infotainment system in the S7 is a thing of wonder too. It features a 10.1-inch touchscreen display that supports wireless Apple CarPlay, wired Android Auto, HD Radio, SiriusXM satellite radio, Bluetooth, wireless charging, navigation with voice control, two USB ports in front for charging and connectivity, and two rear USB ports for charging only. This is all hooked up to a Bang & Olufsen 16-speaker sound system that is just marvelous, but an even more impressive 19-speaker setup also from B&O is available to those that want an even more immersive experience.
Nobody wants to spend well over 80 grand on a car only to discover that it is plagued by reliability issues. Fortunately, neither the latest model nor the 2020 Audi S7 has yet been subject to any recalls whatsoever.
In the event of an issue arising, the S7 comes with a limited and powertrain warranty that provides coverage for four years or 50,000 miles, whichever comes first. In addition, four years of roadside assistance are also offered along with one year or 10,000 miles of complimentary maintenance.
Unfortunately, the NHTSA has not yet performed crash testing on the S7 and the A7 on which it is based has only been rated for side-impact crashes. At least it scored a full five stars in this department. Over at the IIHS, things are similar with no Audi S7 review completed, but at least the 2020 A7 was fully rated here. Buyers will be happy to know that this model earned a prestigious Top Safety Pick award.
Safety features are plentiful on the S7 with frontal, side-impact, and rollover airbags as standard. Rear side-impact airbags are also available, but all models come with a surround-view camera, HD Matrix-design LED headlights with auto high beams, rain-sensing wipers, front and rear parking sensors, lane departure warning, forward collision alert with automatic emergency braking, and the usual traction and stability management programs. Available equipment includes adaptive cruise control with stop & go and traffic sign recognition, lane keep assist, front cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and vehicle exit warning, a head-up display, HD Matrix-design LED headlights with Audi laser light technology, and a night vision camera. A few of these features, such as vehicle exit warning and the head-up display, are standard on the top Prestige trim.
The Audi S7 is a technical masterclass and an exhibition in integrating the latest and greatest technologies in an attractive and classy manner that is sure to age like a fine wine. It's one of the prettiest mass-produced cars in modern history and it manages to be fast, luxurious, practical, and rather efficient. Its numerous standard features mean that the S7 can do battle with the best that the rest of the world has to offer, while its brilliant integration of the rear hatch makes it incredibly practical too. Think of a modern feature or innovation and the S7 likely has it - as standard. However, when you're spending this much money on a car, you may yearn for a little more than just a long fact sheet detailing a list of nerdy gimmicks - whether they work or not. There's no real reason to look past this car and there's no doubt that you'll garner plenty of attention in one wherever you go. But if you care about true driver engagement and a characterful engine, we recommend sampling Munich or Stuttgart's offerings first.
This is always the worst part of any new car buy. The 2021 S7 Sportback is on sale for $84,400 in the USA, excluding a $995 destination charge. Opt for the more heavily-specced Prestige trim and your Audi S7 will cost no less than $90,300. Tick enough boxes on the options list and a fully-loaded Audi S7's MSRP will happily lighten your bank account to the tune of over $100,000.
The 2021 S7 Sportback comes in two trim levels: Premium Plus and Prestige. Both are powered by a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 with a 48-volt mild-hybrid electric system. The car generates 444 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque, all of which is managed by a combination of an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic gearbox and a quattro all-wheel-drive system.
The Premium Plus comes with heated 12-way sport seats in front, adaptive air suspension, HD Matrix-design LED headlights, a 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, a 12.3-inch driver info display, a 10.1-inch touch infotainment display, an 8.6-inch touchscreen climate control display with four-zone automatic settings, wireless charging, rain-sensing wipers, parking sensors, a surround-view camera, a panoramic sunroof, a heated steering wheel, ambient lighting, and a hands-free power tailgate.
At the top of the range, the Prestige builds on this by adding lane keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control with stop & go, a head-up display, power soft-close doors, dual-pane acoustic glass, laser light headlights, an extended leather package, and the options of a 19-speaker B&O sound system and a night vision camera.
One of the easiest ways to make the 2021 Audi S7 Sportback stand out as more aggressive is by equipping the Black Optic package. This adds unique 21-inch wheels with performance tires but also deletes most of the silver and chrome trims on the outside of the car, replacing them with gloss black instead. Another handy offering for the Premium Plus trim is the S7 Executive package, which includes laser light headlights, extended leather upholstery on the dashboard, armrests, and center console, as well as multicolor ambient lighting, heated rear seats, and for 2021, adaptive cruise control with traffic sign recognition and traffic jam assist, plus lane keep assist. Exclusive to the top Prestige trim is the offering of a 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio upgrade or the addition of a night vision camera with animal and pedestrian detection.
Opinions on which car to buy at this level can be divisive, as those of us who can't afford a car half the price of this one would be utterly enamored with a stock standard base model. However, the scale of economics for those who can spend $100,000 on a car is different. Since the difference between the so-called base model and the Prestige trim is just $5,900, an increase of less than seven percent to get the top trim seems reasonable. Thus, we'd go right for the Prestige model and make the most of its added features that include adaptive cruise control, a head-up display, extended leather, dual-pane acoustic glass, and added safety equipment. The other options that include performance enhancements, a better sound system, and a night vision camera could be overkill, but if you want to, go for it.
We've already mentioned earlier in this review how the Porsche Panamera is a lot sharper and more exciting to drive than the S7, and that has more to do with Porsche's overall brilliance than the fact that the Panamera is available in rear-wheel-drive format. Similar to the S7, the base Panamera comes with a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 and an eight-speed automatic transmission, but here it only produces 325 hp and 331 lb-ft in torque. There's also no denying that the Porsche, although prettier than it's ever been, is still downright ugly. That fact is exacerbated when the Porker is parked next to the Audi. In addition, it offers far less cargo space behind the rear seats and it costs almost three grand more in base form. That figure rises considerably if you opt for a bigger engine or AWD. As a fun-to-drive and brilliant GT, the Porsche is not phenomenal, but the Audi is a better all-rounder.
It may seem a little unfair to pit the S7 against its big brother, but the RS7 is considerably more expensive, asking for at least $114,000 before any options are specced. Granted, it comes with a list of features that is just as long as that of the S7, but is it really worth considering when the cars are so similar? Well, they're not all that similar. Sure, they share the same basic shape but the RS7 is clearly far more muscular and brawny. In addition, it comes with an incredible 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 with a similar mild-hybrid electric system. Not only does the V8 sound far better than the S7's V6, but it produces a stonking 591 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. Furthermore, the interior looks even more incredible without becoming tasteless, while the added power and other performance enhancements mean that the RS7 can get to 60 mph in under 3.6 seconds and will only top out at 190 mph. It does all this while offering the luxury and practicality of the S7, so despite its lofty premium, we'd choose the RS every day.