Yep, that’s a perfect ‘5’ in our star rating meaning the Audi S7 Sportback is one of a select number of vehicles to be awarded Car Showroom’s highest score.
Unfortunately at this stage Audi Australia has managed to secure just 50 S7 Sportbacks for local sale but we were part of a select group of motoring media invited to get behind the wheel on a day to remember in Sydney (we also got to drive the latest R8 and RS4 so watch for our impressions of those supercars in coming weeks)
Audi S7 Sportback Overview
Starting with the gorgeous A7 Sportback, Audi’s sports division weaves its magic to create the S7 Sportback. With the twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 handling the grunt, Audi’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system and wonderfully-tuned adaptive air suspension handling the dynamics, this is a German supercar as good as it gets.
Priced at $179,900, the Audi S7 Sportback is actually quite a bargain. All that performance, the drop-dead-gorgeous styling and a sublime interior means this German four-seat-four-door-coupe-hatchback is something out of the box.
Audi S7 Sportback Engine
Audi’s twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre TFSI V8 petrol engine is a high-tech gem – without doubt one of the best engines of the current era. The design is stunning and sees the turbochargers (one per bank) situated within the inner ‘V of the cylinder banks – that means a compact overall design and also shorter gas travel paths which produces better throttle response.
It’s a 90-degree V8 with lots of aluminium componentry meaning it tips the scales at just 220kgs.
Maximum power is 309kW at 5500rpm and peak torque of 550Nm is delivered between 1400rpm – 5200rpm.
But this is 2013 and Audi is at the forefront of environmentally-friendly engine development and while the S7 Sportback is undoubtedly a high-performance European vehicle (one of the best we think), the 4.0 TFSI engine features a cylinder-on-demand system and auto start-stop which combine to cut fuel consumption by an impressive 12 per-cent (average 9.6l/100kms). In light conditions, the V8 becomes a V4 (firing twice instead of four times per revolution) and even features active measures to overcome the inherent NVH issues which plague other similar V4s…very, very clever.
Audi S7 Sportback The Interior
Let’s talk instrumentation. Not a lot going on there really…Range Rover is doing some nice stuff, but otherwise nothing earth-shattering – until we climbed behind the wheel of the Audi S7Sportback.
It’s a dazzler with a nice angle for the gauges (making them easier to read) and a brilliant illuminated display for the engine speed and speedometer. Very slick work from the Audi interior styling department which is simple yet modern and high-tech – a feature other car companies are well advised to check-out.
And no shortage of info either. For instance you get three navigation displays: – one on the actual screen, another straight ahead in the screen between the gauges and a third in the head-up display – brilliant.
Naturally there is the usual Audi combination of luxury and sportiness and we especially liked the abundance of ‘Carbon Atlas’ for the trim highlights (including the large centre console).
The navigation is Audi’s top-shelf MMI Navigation Plus with a 30GB hard drive and a large eight-inch screen which electronically raises from the dashboard when you start-up. On the options list, the BOSE audio system would get our tick.
Seats are Audi’s sporty S model (as is the glorious thick-rim, flat-bottom steering wheel) and even the two in the rear are nicely sculptured.
Cargo capacity is 1,390-litres (rear seats folded) or a very impressive 535-litres with the rear seats in place. The actual boot is cavernous in length and would easily handle our golf club test.
Audi S7 Sportback Exterior & Styling
Audi certainly hit the sweet spot with the S7 – the large (4,980mm long, 1,911mm wide) S7 five-door coupe/hatchback. But the S7 version sits a little lower than the regular model at 1,408mm.
Front fenders, doors, bonnet and rear hatch are made from lightweight aluminium (also used in some reinforcing areas and the front suspension).
The Audi S7 Sportback we drove looked brilliant in a metallic blue paint (Estoril Blue) and at the front, the single frame radiator grille was platinum-grey. Some chrome highlights and black air inlets lend a sporting touch and a third air inlet is added under the bumper.
Headlights are LED and aluminium-look mirrors distinguish the RS model from its regular partners.
At the rear, the Audi S7 Sportback is identified by the platinum grey diffuser which adds an aluminium-look blade, LED lights and twin exhaust tailpipes.
Audi S7 Sportback On The Road
We only managed a brief drive of the Audi S7 Sportback as part of a day on the roads north of Sydney over the Hawkesbury River/Hunter Valley which included five other cars.
And it was wet.
Nevertheless we did punt the high-performance full-size hatchback along at a reasonable clip over some excellent roads…enough to confirm the brilliance of the Audi S7 Sportback in fact. In those conditions, we can’t think of any similar volume production vehicle which would have done a better job.
Of course it’s the adaptive air suspension and Quattro system delivering traction at all times and the gloriously calibrated sports multi-link suspension (10mm lower than the standard A7) and tyres plus the sports rear differential delivering grip at very high levels even in damp conditions. But moreover it’s the concerto of that chassis, Audi’s stunning new bi-turbo V8 engine and the slick S tronic seven-speed automatic transmission which gets the job done like no other.
You do need to manage the Audi drive select program a few times to determine the set-up which is best for you and the prevailing conditions and, for sure, the adaptive air suspension and massive brakes are also big parts of the driving dynamics story.
Even in the most comfortable setting and cruising along, that twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 emphasizes its intent with a purposeful rumble even on light throttle openings.
Audi S7 Sportback Challenges
‘Five is the new four’ they say of families these days and on that basis maybe Audi has short-changed the sales opportunities of the four-seat S7 Sportback. At this stage Audi Australia has secured only 50 S7 Sportbacks from the factory so you’d best move fast to secure an order.
Audi S7 Sportback Verdict
We’ve driven some cars over the journey here at Car Showroom but very few have garnered our top 5-star rating – the Audi S7Sportback has now joined that select group. And when you consider some of the price tags in that elite crowd, the $179,900 Audi S7 Sportback is sensational value-for-money.
Why do we rate the Audi S7 Sportback so highly?
Number one: the looks. Very few cars on the road have the street appeal of the S 7.
Number two: the interior. OK the four-seat-only configuration isn’t for everyone, but it is for most. That dashboard design and those instruments are as good as it gets and the combined ‘goodness’ of the sports seats and Audi RS steering wheel delivers a top-shelf driving position.
Number three: the driving dynamics. An Audi strong suit thanks to the unmistakable Quattro brilliance and in this case an outrageously good, brand new 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8.
Audi S7 Sportback The Competition
Tricky given the S7’s hatchback versatility.
BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe? Maybe? You’ll need $184,800 for the six-cylinder 640i (235kW/640Nm) and even the twin-turbo V8 650i ($238,800) is shy of the Audi S7 Sportback with ‘only’ 330kW/650Nm (412kW/700Nm for the Audi).
Mercedes-Benz CLS is one of Car Showroom’s all-time favourites but again it’s not an Audi RS 7-type hatchback. Surprisingly even the $263,000 CLS 63 AMG with 386kW/700Nm from its twin-turbocharged 5.5-litre V8 doesn’t overshadow the 412kW/700Nm Audi S7Sportback.