Audi's new coupe-like four-door hatchback, the A7, gets an S7 performance variant for 2013. A twin-turbo V-8 is standard, allowing the S7 to hit 60 mph in less than 5 seconds. Competitors include the Mercedes-Benz CLS550 and Porsche Panamera S.
An adaptive air suspension lowers overall ride height 0.4 inch. Nineteen-inch alloy wheels are standard, with 20s optional. Overall differences are subtle, however. Changes to the grille and bumper are hard to pick out. Quad tailpipes and S7 badges are the chief giveaway, but many onlookers could confuse the S7 and A7.
At highway speeds, a rear spoiler automatically deploys, enhancing stability.
The S7 gets unique instruments and diamond-stitched, one-piece sport seats with S7 embossments. Shoppers have a choice of four interior trims. Amid the controls, Audi's drive select program lets drivers customize their settings or choose between three settings for drivetrain, steering and suspension response.
Audi's latest Multi-Media Interface is standard; like in the A8, it has a thumb pad for scrawling out addresses. A navigation system with Google Earth overlays is standard, as is a surround-sound Bose stereo. Massaging seats and Bang & Olufsen audio are optional.
Under the Hood
Displacing just 4.0 liters, the S7's twin-turbo V-8 makes 420 horsepower and 406 pounds-feet of torque, enough to hit 60 mph in less than 4.9 seconds. The V-8 has cylinder deactivation, which shuts fuel to four cylinders under relaxed driving situations.
The S7's Quattro all-wheel drive gets a sport differential that actively distributes power between the left and right rear wheels. A seven-speed automatic transmission is standard, as is an adaptive air suspension.
A bevy of airbags plus antilock brakes and an electronic stability system are standard. Options include lane departure and blind spot warning systems, forward collision warning with automatic braking, and night vision with pedestrian detection.