by John Tallodi
Straddling the gap between the merely quick standard A7 and the ballistic full-fat RS7, the Audi S7 offers a potential sweet spot in the range for shoppers wanting a more balanced mix of performance and comfort. Its coupe-esque profile adds a dash of style to the more traditional sedan offerings although at the cost of some practicality. The S7 enters 2018 with no changes to its specification levels.
The S7's cabin exudes the same quality feel as most of the current Audi range. The buttons, minor controls and seats are all built to a high standard, only the last generation infotainment system and unavailability of the latest Virtual Cockpit betray this Audi's advancing years.Occupants in the front will appreciate the various storage compartments for oddments and the sculpted seats are supportive and comfortable. Passengers in the rear will find headroom a bit restricted thanks to that coupe-like roofline and whereas in the equivalent S6 sedan you can sit three abreast, the S7 offers only two seats. Getting in and out also requires a bit more maneuvering than in the sedan. Where it does score practicality points is in the cargo area. The trunk opening offers easier loading of bulky items too.
The S7 comes standard with Quattro all-wheel drive and despite its heft behaves very much like a much smaller sport sedan. Handling and grip levels are extremely high and the sharp steering and powerful brakes give you the confidence to exploit that prodigious acceleration potential.The sport biased suspension and large alloys do not turn the S7 into a hard riding car but while it does soak up bumps better than you might expect the ride is firm overall. The cabin is quiet and even when driven enthusiastically the exhaust note remains cultured and unobtrusive.
The Audi S7 is fitted with a turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 which pumps out 450 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque. A 7-speed dual-clutch transmission transmits all of this power to all four wheels and blasts the heavy S7 to 60 mph in 4.5-seconds. This stacks up well compared to the competition and the S7 never feels anything but extremely rapid in practically any driving situation.
Prestige trim includes the above and adds ambient interior lighting, power soft-closing doors, corner view camera system an upgraded head-up display and 20-inch alloy wheels. A Night vision assistant package and an upgraded B&O audio system are exclusive options for the Prestige trim level.A Driver Assistance Package adds adaptive cruise control, active lane assist, pre sense plus and high beam assist features. A cold Weather Package heats the steering wheel and rear seats while the S Sport Package adds dynamic steering, sport rear differential and a sport exhaust.Sport seats a 20 or 21-inch black optic package (depending on trim selected) and a vast range of leather and paint color options are also available.
The Audi S7 is available in two trim options, the Premium Plus trim comes very comprehensively equipped with adaptive air suspension, 19-inch alloy wheels, leather seats, power liftgate, and LED head and taillights all standard.Technology features include an 8-inch MMI infotainment display (although not the latest version) with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality, navigation, Bose 14-speaker audio system and Bluetooth connectivity.Safety systems include a comprehensive list of driver aids such as blind-spot monitoring, parking sensors and Audi side assist with the pre sense system in the rear.
The Audi S7 offers searing pace and stylish good looks allied with a very high level of luxury. The swoopy good looks do come at a price though as rear headroom is restricted and there is only seating for four. The rear hatch is practical though and the S7 offers a dynamic and elegant alternative to the mainstream luxury sport sedan.