Full 2013 Audi S7 Review
What's New for 2013
A higher-performance version of the A7, the Audi S7 is a new model for 2013.
With the arrival of the 2013 Audi S7, the niche market of sedans with coupe-style roof lines continues to gather momentum. As expected, the S7 is the high-performance version of the Audi A7 and it is powered by a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 making 420 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque.
This is the same powerhouse used in the new S6, and although it makes about 20 less hp than the V10 it replaces in that model, the new force-fed V8 offers stronger low-end performance. With power routed through a seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission and standard all-wheel drive, Audi says the S7 can sprint from zero to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds while also earning respectable fuel economy estimates, thanks in part to its cylinder-deactivation technology.
Yet the S7 is far from just a straight-line thrill machine, as it comes with an air suspension that filters out the inevitable road harshness that comes with the use of low-profile high-performance tires. Meanwhile, variable damping delivers a comfortable, controlled ride over broken pavement and super-slab freeway alike.
Within its plush cabin, the 2013 S7 has a generous helping of Audi techno-luxury. There's even standard Internet connectivity that turns the S7 into a mobile hotspot for laptops and mobile devices. You'll find plenty of room for these devices, as well as the passengers who use them, since the luggage compartment measures nearly 25 cubic feet and rear seat legroom is abundant. But the price paid for the S7's sleek fastback styling is reduced rear seat headroom, so those who plan on carrying taller folks in back may want to consider the S7's otherwise similar (and less expensive) sibling, the sedan-style S6.
The 2013 Audi S7 competes primarily with the 2013 BMW 640i Gran Coupe and 2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS550. All three of these cars are highly desirable. But if what you desire are equal parts performance, style and technology, the new S7 is a great choice.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 Audi S7 is a midsize four-door hatchback that comes in a single Prestige trim level.
Standard features include 19-inch wheels, adaptive xenon headlights, adaptive air suspension, power sunroof, power hatchback, keyless ignition/entry, heated auto-dimming sideview mirrors, park assist with rearview camera, garage door opener, Audi Drive Select, diamond-stitched leather upholstery, real ash wood accents, 12-way power heated front sport seats, driver memory settings, power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, four-zone automatic climate control, a navigation system, Bluetooth connectivity, Audi Connect Internet integration (with 6 months subscription) and a Bose audio system with CD/DVD player, HD radio and USB/iPod interface.
Options for the S7 include a number of packages. The Innovation package features adaptive cruise control (with stop-and-go functionality), power-folding sideview mirrors, night vision assist, a head-up display, side blind-zone warning, lane departure warning/assist and Audi Pre-Sense Plus, which alerts the driver if a potential collision is detected and automatically applies the brakes if necessary. The Driver Assistance package includes the adaptive cruise control, side blind-zone warning, power-folding mirrors and Pre-Sense Plus. The Comfort Seating package features multicontour front seats with ventilation and massaging functions, passenger memory settings and the deletion of the diamond stitching. A Cold Weather package provides a heated rear seat and a heated steering wheel.
Individual option highlights include 20-inch wheels, LED headlights, rear seat side airbags and a Bang & Olufsen sound system.
Powertrains and Performance
A twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 with 420 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque powers the S7. All that thrust is sent to the ground via a dual-clutch seven-speed automated manual transmission and all-wheel drive.
Audi claims the S7 can sprint from zero to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds, but despite that powerful performance, the S7 has a relatively light fuel appetite thanks to cylinder-deactivation technology that performs with seamless transparency. The EPA estimates stand at 17 mpg city/27 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined.
Standard safety equipment on the 2013 Audi S7 includes antilock disc brakes, stability control, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and front knee airbags.
Rear side airbags, blind-spot and lane departure systems are optional, as is the Audi Pre-Sense Plus system, which can warn the driver and automatically activate the brakes and adjust the front seats for maximum protection if a crash is deemed imminent.
Interior Design and Special Features
As anyone who has been inside an Audi of the last 20 years would expect, the S7's interior is both handsomely designed and tightly constructed. Excellent materials quality is evident throughout as well. Audi's MMI (Multi Media Interface) controls entertainment, communication and navigation functions via the dash-mounted pop-up screen and a knob and buttons on the center console. The system boasts logical menus, crisp graphics and a touchpad to increase functionality. MMI is fairly intuitive, but we still prefer the Mercedes COMAND interface for overall usefulness.
The S7 also features in-car WiFi, which uses a 3G connection and adds Google Earth data to the navigation system while also providing simplified Google search for POIs. It sounds a bit over the top, but proves handy if you need to get some unexpected work done on the road and there's no Starbucks in sight. The Google Earth feature is an example of form over function, as the map can be more difficult to comprehend at a glance.
Whether you stay with the standard sport seats or opt for the comfort seats, we're fairly confident you'll find them supportive during spirited back roads driving and comfortable on long trips.
This is a very powerful car, and the quick response from the twin-turbo V8 will really astonish you, which makes it seem far more muscular than you might otherwise expect from 420 hp. Yet it also proves surprisingly comfortable on the road, due partly to its air suspension and partly to a slightly more relaxed state of tune than the otherwise similar Audi S6 sedan.
The real surprise comes in fuel economy, as this car is capable of delivering impressive highway mpg. The secret lies in the cylinder-deactivation technology, which works almost imperceptibly thanks to careful vibration control of the engine and interesting noise cancellation from the audio system's speakers. Such fuel economy suits the practical dimension afforded by the 2013 Audi S7's hatchback configuration, and the result is a unique statement in this segment of luxury cars.