2013 Audi S7 Review: an Altered Beast

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2013 Audi S7-001

 
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The last three cars that I’ve reviewed have all been afforded over 400hp.  This includes the RS5 (450hp), the BMW 650i GC (445hp) and now the Audi S7 (420hp).  It’s a dizzying amount of horsepower, even for a car that weighs 4500 plus pounds.  But nobody buys the aforementioned cars for practicality sake.  They’re the epitome of excess, and as I said about the RS5, few cars play so well to it.

The S7 inside and out is not your average sedan.  Hidden in the engine bay is a 4.0L V8 engine coupled to twin turbos housed in the center of the engine.  This is said to improve their efficiency and spooling.  Their efforts combined produce 406 lb-ft of torque – a number that is sure to make most pickup truck owners jealous.

2013 Audi S7-004

The interior even reaks of opulence thanks to the quilted leather seats.  I’m not a fan, as they seem to be striving for a rarefied class largely reachable only by the likes of Rolls Royce and Bentley.  My Audi S7′s leather was a sort of an off-white gray. And although the car only had about 6k miles on it, it was already beginning to show signs of wear.  So lesson imparted; if you’re considering a lighter toned leather with this vehicle: don’t.

Carbon fiber is slathered from almost head to toe on the cockpit, with the largest piece running just underneath the windshield.  It’s a bit of a waste since few people will regard it, at least during their first seating in the S7, though it’s a remarkable feat in terms of its expense and size.  I’d just as soon swap carbon fibre for Audi A7′s default option since it can’t do much in terms of performance, but I applaud Audi for their willingness to engage in the exercise of pound shedding and to do so at such an excessive level.

2013 Audi S7-009

The RS5′s 4.2L V8 could probably be best described as a throaty gurgle.  While the S7 lacks the same baritone rumbles as its sibling, it still can produce some notes that are eargasmic, especially when switched into sport; an altered beast mode that is subtle, yet poignant enough to distinguish from the car’s more reserved settings.

Initially steering felt a bit too boosted, but with some mashing of the throttle it hardens up and connects more gracefully with the road. This is an experience analogous to that of the A5, but with less numbness.  That said, selecting Sport, and more importantly lowering the car 10mm using the air suspension system, results in a more agile vehicle that is vastly distinct from its more sheepish settings.   Which is to say, when called for, the S7 can behave less sports car and be more accommodating for when the in-laws are in town.  However, the rear, while capable of housing two full-sized adults, it’s a bit slim in the head room for those pushing 6-feet.

2013 Audi S7-010

An assortment of tech comforts we’re made available in my S7.  This included a night vision camera that detects humans hidden in the shadows and displays their presence with a floating yellow square.  The screen, which also doubles as the information panel, is housed between the tachometer and the speedometer and is too far from the windshield to make absolute practical sense.  If moved to the HUD windshield, which was also on this car, it could very vastly useful, especially for those without stellar night vision.

Other features include a Bose 14-speaker system, CD/DVD player, SD card slots, 3G WiFi hotspot, front powered seats with memory, adaptive Xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights, blind spot monitoring, adaptive rear spoiler, and 20″ 5-parallel spoke star design wheels with 265/35 summer performance tires - these particular ones make an exceptional amount of noise during slow and hard turning – disconcerting might best describe the sensation.

2013 Audi S7-012

BMW’s ConnectedDrive, in my opinion, is folds above Audi’s MMI.  However, the S7′s camera and more importantly park assist sensors are the best I’ve tested.  Using a set of lines and cameras, it’s easy to tell at a glance what your proximity is to surrounding objects.  Other cars often allude to it, and few translate the actual usable space.

As with any car, I’m only allowed a mere 7-days of drive time.  It’s hardly enough time for me to feel satiated, especially with a car that’s sticker is just a notch over $94,000.  That said, the S7 grew on me over the course of my review, and steering aside at lower speeds, there are few caveats that I can think of.

2013 Audi S7-016

Audi’s night vision camera

Comparatively speaking to BMW’s 650i, a slightly more expensive car, the S7 is more nimble, has a more reactive powertrain, and is equally luxurious by most accounts (barring the quilted leather).  I still prefer BMW’s interior as it fits my tastes a bit better, but it’s easy to see why many would be drawn to Audi’s quilted leather and carbon fiber trim.

Bottom Line: An altered beast that can behave like a luxury sedan and drive likes a well endowed sports car.


 
 
Overview
 

Release Date: Available Now
 
Price: $94,570 as tested ($78,000 base)
 
Model: S7
 
Horsepower: 420hp
 
Transmission: DSG (dual clutch)
 
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Engine:
 
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Year:
 

Positives


Excellent powertrain, sporty handling in a 4-door sedan, carbon fiber for days

Negatives


Easily stained leather, excessive tire noise on hard turns


Bottom Line

The last three cars that I’ve reviewed have all been afforded over 400hp.  This includes the RS5 (450hp), the BMW 650i GC (445hp) and now the Audi S7 (420hp).  It’s a dizzying amount of horsepower, even for a car that weighs 4500 plus pounds.  But nobody buys the aforementioned cars for practicality sake.  They’re the epitome of […]

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Christen Costa

 
Grew up back East, got sick of the cold and headed West. Since I was small I have been pushing buttons - both electronic and human. With an insatiable need for tech I thought "why not start a blog focusing on technology, and use my dislikes and likes to post on gadgets."


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