For 2018, the Audi A7 features a direct-injected, supercharged V6 that makes 340 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque; Power is put to the ground through an 8-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic manual controls, for those who'd rather shift gears themselves. It responds well, giving decisive downshifts in fast driving, or smooth upshifts in gentle driving. Fuel economy ratings for the A7 3.0T are estimated at 21 mpg city, 29 highway,
Both A7 models include the latest, performance-oriented version of Audi's quattro all-wheel-drive system, which during normal driving sends about 60 percent of engine torque to the rear wheels but can send more to whichever wheels can best use the traction. The system even maintains stable handling by employing the stability control system and judiciously applying the brakes to one or more wheels. A 5-link front suspension and trapezoidal-link rear suspension that rides firmly but is just compliant enough for comfort on choppy urban streets.
Audi drive select comes standard, and includes four driving modes: comfort, auto, dynamic and individual. Each setting modifies the feel of the steering, transmission shift points and the way the throttle responds, all to meet certain driving styles.
The beautiful cabin is one of the most stylish on the market. Occupants get firm, supportive seats and a 3-position rear seat that's suitable for even taller adults, thanks to a carved out area of the headliner allowing just a couple inches of extra head space. The rear hatch also allows more space than a trunk would -- 24.5 cubic feet -- even with the rear seats up in place. Those back seats do fold down when needed, and there's a large trunk pass-through for skis and other longer items.
Inside, the A7 is a luxury car in every detail. Two different leather upholsteries are offered, as are several interior accent trims, including ash wood, dark brown walnut and brushed aluminum trims.
Navigation is powered by 3D Google Earth, which allows drivers to see topography and terrain in addition to the tops of trees and rooftops of buildings. The system also features Google Voice Local Search that will listen to keywords and return potential local destinations. Audi Connect allows the A7 to become a wireless hot spot, which is capable of connecting up to eight WiFi-enabled devices to the Internet.
Wrapping it all together is Audi's touch-screen-based MMI (Multi-Media Interface), which includes a rotary button/knob as well as hot buttons for some commonly accessed functions. There's also one Audi exclusive: a scratch pad (called MMI touch) that allows the user to draw out letters to quickly enter navigation destinations or other inputs.
Among the top options offered on the A7 are a 14-speaker Bose sound system or, for audiophiles who want the best, a Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound system with 15 speakers and 1,300 watts of amplifier power.
A high-performance version -- the S7 -- includes the same level of luxury and refinement present in the A7 but with a 4.0L twin-turbo V8 producing 450 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. It comes connected to a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Adaptive air suspension, 19-inch wheels, and a 630-watt Bose surround stereo are all included as well, and the S7 offers seating for four.
Rounding out the family is the RS7. It goes several steps further than the S7 by offering 560 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque from the 4.0L V8, with 0 to 60 mph coming in just 3.7 seconds on the way to a top speed of 174 mph. The RS7 utilizes an 8-speed Tiptronic transmission and is equipped with specially tuned adaptive air suspension and dynamic electromechanical power steering. The over-the-top ultimate performance RS7 Performance trim offers the same 4.0L twin-turbo V8 as the S7, but tuned to make an incredible 605 hp and 553 pound-feet of torque. Audi claims the RS7 Performance's top speed is a supercar-worthy 190 mph.
Anis a stellar example of automotive performance, style, liftback utility and some of the best tech in the business starting at around $68,300. It's, in my opinion, one of the best high-tech executive sedans that money can buy.
The 2016 Audi S7 4.0T Quattro prowling Roadshow's garage this week bases at $82,900 (or $95,525 as tested, not even fully loaded). Aside from sinister good looks and a red-and-chrome S on your badges, what are you getting for the healthy bump in MSRP? The short answer is two more cylinders, about 117 more ponies of power and so much more performance. To find out how much more, we took to the track.
The S7 is powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter engine turning its crank to the tune of 450 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. The engine is a V-8 configuration...most of the time. When full power isn't needed, a variable displacement system can shut down half of its cylinders, operating on just four cylinders while cruising and helping the S7 achieve its optimal highway estimate of 27 miles per gallon. City and combined estimates are stated at 17 mpg and 21 mpg, respectively.
The Good The 2016 Audi S7's flexible V-8 delivers both 450 horsepower thanks to twin turbocharging and up to 27 highway mpg thanks to cylinder deactivation tech. The sport Quattro AWD system and adaptive air suspension work together to deliver surprisingly nimble performance. The S7 also boasts some of the best cabin and driver aid technology in this class.
The Bad The sporty S7 requires multiple button presses to activate its Drive Select modes. The motorized MMI display's size and resolution seem a bit small compared with displays in competing models.
The Bottom Line The 2016 Audi S7 starts with one of the best tech cars in this class and then adds a generous helping of track-ready performance.
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