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2013 Audi S7: Brains and brawn

Audi improves on the Editors' Choice winning A7's formula the only way it can: with more power!


Audi improves on the A7's formula the only way it can: with more power!

The Audi A7 is probably the only member of the so-called "five-door GT" segment to pass through the Car Tech garage and be universally liked by the editors. So we were interested to see what the automaker would do with the sport-tuned 2013 S7, which was revealed at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show. Predictably, the automaker didn't stray too far from the A7's formula. You know what they say, "If it ain't broke..."

Externally, the S7 differentiates itself from the A7 with aluminum covers for the side mirrors, 19- or optional 20-inch wheels unique to the S, subtly more aggressive bodywork, a dual exhaust system with quad tips, and, of course, the S7 badges. Sharp-eyed enthusiasts may notice that the S7 sits 10mm lower than the model upon which it's based thanks to a sport air suspension system. In the cabin, there are new sport seats wrapped in Valcona leather with diamond stitching and the same Audi MMI system with Internet connectivity and Google Maps integration that helped the A7 earn our coveted Editors' Choice award.

4.0L TFSI V-8
Audi developed a new 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 for the S7. Josh Miller/CNET

However, you'll have to pop the S7's hood (or mash the accelerator) to spot the biggest change the S-prefix brings: the new 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine. Output is rated at 420 hp and 406 pound-feet of torque. A zero-to-62 mph run happens in 4.9 seconds as the humpbacked hot rod accelerates onward to an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph.

In an effort to maintain a semblance of efficiency without compromising overall power, Audi has equipped the S7 with a new cylinder on-demand system that disables four of the V-8's cylinders under partial load to conserve fuel. To maintain the feeling V-8 smoothness while essentially dropping down to an inline-4 engine, Audi has equipped the S7 with active engine mounts that cancel out the additional vibration and an active noise cancellation system in the cabin that uses the audio system to minimize what Audi calls "undesirable sounds."

Check out our gallery of the new 2013 Audi S7 for more photos and details.