What is it?
It’s the Audi S7 which, alongside the Audi S6 and Audi S8, is arriving in the UK as I write. All three share the same base engine: a twin-turbo V8 that replaces the V10 in the old S6 and S8. The ‘7’ doesn’t have a natural predecessor because it’s a new model but, as you’d expect given its architecture, it shares more with the S6 than the S8.
That means the 4.0-litre engine under its nose develops 414bhp and drives through a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic gearbox in a car that, on the EU’s official set of scales, tips at just over two tonnes. A liberal dousing of interior carbonfibre makes no difference to anything but aesthetics.
That’s a lot of weight, then, despite some aluminium in the body, but you’d expect that. The S7 carries a lot of kit, I suppose; quattro with a self-locking centre diff is standard, as is a sports rear differential with torque vectoring, which we know makes a big difference to the RS5’s agility.
What is it like?
Well, there’s no point kidding you: the S7 drives as you’d probably expect. Agility isn’t high on its attributes list, and nor is interaction or engagement, but rapid ground-covering pace it has in spades. It has plenty of oomph for the road, too, with lots of low-end torque and decent response (although the engine note is so muted you only seem to hear it at full chat), while getting close to 30mpg, thanks to occasional cylinder shutdown. I saw high 20s on a mixed route.
The S7 is air sprung and, depending on how you set up its dampers via the MMI system’s astonishingly comprehensive stages of tune (steering, engine/gearbox response, dampers and more are all adjustable), the S7’s ride ranges from rubbish to acceptable.
There’s a little bit of tyre noise, too, but otherwise in its softest spring setting the S7 is a capable car that’s easy to get along with. Our test example came with Dynamic Steering, an expensive option that quickens the rack at low speed (to as little as two turns lock to lock at a standstill). A lot of drivers find these counter-intuitive but, to be honest, I don’t mind them so much. In this case, it’s not like you’re missing out on a great deal with the standard rack.
Should I buy one?
Maybe. The Audi is a bit of a blunt instrument, fast and un-furious, but it was never going to be anything else. Nor does it pretend to be. We’d always look to recommend something with a superior dynamic repertoire, but heck, if the S7 sounds like your thing, fill your boots.
Price £61,995; 0-62mph 4.7sec; Top speed 155mph (limited); Economy 29.4mpg; CO2 225g/km; Kerb weight 2020kg; Engine V8, 3993cc, twin-turbo, petrol; Power 414bhp at 6400rpm; Torque 406lb ft at 1400rpm; Gearbox 7-spd dual-clutch automatic