From £64,065
Hot version of Audi's luxury liftback is fast, inert, easy to live with – exactly what you’d expect

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's 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.

Audi S7

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

Matt Prior

Matt Prior
Title: Editor-at-large

Matt is Autocar’s lead features writer and presenter, is the main face of Autocar’s YouTube channel, presents the My Week In Cars podcast and has written his weekly column, Tester’s Notes, since 2013.

Matt is an automotive engineer who has been writing and talking about cars since 1997. He joined Autocar in 2005 as deputy road test editor, prior to which he was road test editor and world rally editor for Channel 4’s automotive website, 4Car. 

Into all things engineering and automotive from any era, Matt is as comfortable regularly contributing to sibling titles Move Electric and Classic & Sports Car as he is writing for Autocar. He has a racing licence, and some malfunctioning classic cars and motorbikes. 

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ValianTX 27 July 2012

Audi S7

I'm still very happy with my BMW E60 M5!

eseaton 27 July 2012

Painful to read

It is sad how I used to envy motoring journalists, but now I pity them.

 

In isolation, this should be an exciting product for the market and for the reviewer.  But spectacularly obviously, it just isn't. 

 

If you had asked him to write the review without actually driving the car, it would have read just the same.

 

It is all over.

steveaudi 26 July 2012

Awesome motor - but as usual best to go used...!

I have a new shape A6 (bought used incedentally), and would love to move up to an A7......but!!! The but, is the crazy price.....personally I would take a leaf out of James Ruppert's book....go used. You can currently buy a nearly new Audi A7 3.0Tdi for sub 30k if you look hard enough, and through official Audi channels - ok not quite as quick, but come on now, surely a 3.0TDi is quick enough for most needs, pretty economical and if you really want it to look like an A7 just swap the wheels and you will still have £30k left over!! If you crave uber-road dynamics buy a Caterham as well for fun times...£62k (without any options) is just too much dough for this car....my guess is that you could also buy one of these for sub-£40k next year....thats much more tempting

Audi_A5 26 July 2012

How many used A7s sub 30K???

steveaudi wrote:

I have a new shape A6 . . .

Hard lines. old chap! We all have our cross to bear Wink

steveaudi wrote:

You can currently buy a nearly new Audi A7 3.0Tdi for sub 30k if you look hard enough, and through official Audi channels...

Checking the official Audi website, I see just one sub 30k Audi A7 for sale, and you wouldn't want that because it's got one of those crummy CVT gearboxes . . . what do they call them? "Multichronic" isn't it? (or is that just the Audi mechanics)