The second-gen Audi S7 Sportback returns in 2021 with only minor changes, but we aren't complaining. This is one of the most attractive sports sedans in the segment. Traditional German style mixed with modern flair combines to form a gorgeous vehicle, both inside and out. True, there are more exciting cars in the USA, like the Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 and Porsche Panamera, but the S7 Sportback adds a nice splash of practicality that these rivals lack. Still, a twin-turbo V6 gas engine combined with a 48-volt MHEV system gives the Audi all the oomph it needs - 444 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque. Inside, the cabin is well-appointed with plenty of leather, heated seats, automated climate control for every seating position, and a decent consignment of safety features. For those who want more character, the RS7 still comes with a raucous V8, so the question we have to ask ourselves is whether the S7 is a worthwhile stepping stone between the S6 and the true sports car that is the RS7.
Little has changed compared to the 2020 S7 Sportback model year, but the few changes that were made are notable. The 20-inch rims from last year are replaced with 21-inch wheels wrapped in summer tires, and 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.
See trim levels and configurations:
There is only a single engine available for the 2021 S7 Sportback, but it does its job well. The 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged six-cylinder works in conjunction with a 48-volt mild hybrid system to develop a combined 444 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque. These outputs are managed by a slick-shifting 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission and directed to Audi's trademark quattro all-wheel drivetrain. You don't even need to switch on Sport mode to get the tight shifts that make the S7 so much fun to drive, but it does hang on to lower gears for a bit longer to give you that extra power to really hustle. If you prefer a more hands-on experience, you can use the paddle-shifters to manually change gears. Of course, fuel economy takes a hit if you use Sport mode, but it isn't particularly good, to begin with.
When it comes to straight-up performance, the 2021 Audi S7 Sportback may not be the one to beat, but it does such an amazing job of amalgamating all the various characteristics that go into a premium sports vehicle that it still ends up at the top of the class. A high-quality interior flush with features and contemporary style cues, more cargo space than any other direct rival, and genuinely engaging driving dynamics are all highlights on its resume. The IIHS has also done an extensive safety rating review of the 2021 Audi S7 Sportback, and it scored so well that the authority gave it a Top Safety Pick+ award.
Audi does not always score particularly high in reliability ratings, and with three recalls noted for the 2021 S7, buyers may want to think twice. Furthermore, when people are laying down close to six figures on a car, they often expect it to deliver more in terms of power, often overlooking the other areas where it really shines. This is why the RS7, with is boisterously charming V8, may steal some potential S7 buyers. That said, the S7 Sportback is a really engaging 4-door sports sedan that is bound to turn heads, and it doubles up as a daily driver better than any of its direct competitors.
The S7 skips over the base Premium trim that most Audis offer, instead offering the Premium Plus as the base model. This means that it already has added value. When you consider that the starting price of this 2021 Audi S7 Sportback is $84,400, you probably won't want to push the price up much further, especially if you want to review a few of the optional packages. If you really feel that the S7 lacks character, you can tack on the $4,000 S Sport package, which gives it a quattro sport rear differential, dynamic steering, and a sport exhaust. However, we feel the best value is garnered when you treat this gorgeous Audi as a more athletic looking executive sedan. With this in mind we would rather use our spare cash for the Executive package to add nice-to-have features like extended leather upholstery, heated rear seats, adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist, and active lane assist.
The most popular competitors of 2021 Audi S7 Sportback: