Can a hatchback have swagger? The 2017 Audi S7 emphatically suggests yes. In addition to breaking with the traditional notion that luxury cars must be sedans, the S7's hatchback body style is also surprisingly stylish. It's also got plenty of substance to go with the style.
Based on the A7, the S7 trades that car's 333-hp six-cylinder engine for a downright potent 450-hp twin-turbo V8, bigger brakes and a tauter suspension. The result is that the S7 has swiftness that's on par with dedicated sports cars.
Despite its level of performance, the S7 demands little sacrifice for its thrills. Sedans can't match its cargo volume. It rides gracefully and has a striking, well-trimmed cabin that's hushed and peaceful. If you somehow manage to exercise restraint with the throttle, it even delivers respectable fuel economy. As a result, it's equally at home on long trips as it is when you want to make an entrance... or a hasty exit.
Germany has no shortage of other V8-powered four-doors to consider. There's the imposing 2017 BMW 650i Gran Coupe, the quietly muscular 2017 Mercedes Benz CLS550. If you absolutely must have a hatchback body style with all-wheel drive like the S7, the only choice is the pricier 2017 Porsche Panamera 4S. The Porsche is the only all-new offering in the bunch, and those that can make the leap will find that it's in a league of its own.
Standard safety equipment on the 2017 Audi S7 includes antilock disc brakes, stability control, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and front knee airbags. Front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, lane keeping assist and a blind-spot warning system are also standard. Rear side airbags and a corner-view camera system are optional.
The standard Audi Pre Sense Basic system warns the driver, pre-tensions the seatbelts and closes the windows if a potential collision is detected, while Pre Sense Rear (also standard) uses the brake light to warn traffic behind the vehicle in the event of a potential rear collision. The optional Audi Pre Sense Plus system (via the Driver Assistance package) can do all that, plus fully tighten the seatbelts and automatically apply the brakes full force to mitigate the severity of an imminent crash.
In Edmunds brake testing, the S7 stopped from 60 mph in 110 feet, an average stopping distance for a vehicle in this class with summer tires.
trim levels & features
The 2017 Audi S7 is a midsize high-performance four-door with a hatchback. Audi has added a second trim level called Prestige to the S7 lineup for 2017. Unlike the A7, which comes in a five-passenger configuration, the S7 comes standard with two individual rear seats, making it a dedicated four-passenger vehicle. Every S7 is equipped with all- wheel drive.
Standard features on the base Premium Plus trim level include 19-inch wheels, full LED exterior lighting (headlights, running lights and taillights), an adaptive air suspension, a sunroof, a power liftgate, heated and auto-dimming mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, a blind-spot warning system and keyless entry and ignition.
Inside, you'll find a driver information center with a 7-inch display between the gauges, Audi Drive Select (providing adjustable settings for steering, suspension and transmission calibrations), diamond-stitched leather upholstery, eight-way power heated front sport seats (with four-way power lumbar adjustment), a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with wheel-mounted paddle shifters, driver memory settings, four-zone automatic climate control, Audi's Multi Media Interface (MMI) system with console-mounted controls and a central 8-inch display, a rearview camera, a navigation system with voice controls, Siri Eyes Free, Bluetooth, Audi Connect (including enhanced Web-based navigation and information services plus 4G LTE connectivity with mobile Wi-Fi) and a 14-speaker Bose audio system with a CD/DVD player, HD radio and a USB port.
The Prestige trim level adds 20-inch wheels with high- performance summer tires, a head-up display, LED cabin lighting and soft-closing doors.
There are several options packages available for the S7. The Cold Weather package adds heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel that omits the standard flat-bottom design. The Driver Assistance package adds automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control (with stop-and-go functionality), lane keeping assist, a corner-view (front and rear) parking camera system and the Audi Pre Sense Plus collision mitigation system. The Comfort Seating package features "contour" front seats with ventilation and massaging functions, passenger memory settings, comfort rear seats and leather upholstery without diamond stitching.
A Sport package is available on the base trim level that adds variable-ratio steering ("Audi dynamic steering" in Audi-speak), a sport rear differential, red brake calipers and a sport exhaust with black tailpipes. The Black Optic package tacks on special 20-inch wheels (or optional 21-inchers for Prestige), body-color exterior mirrors (instead of the standard silver ones), a blacked-out grille and gloss-black window surrounds.
Individual option highlights include 21-inch wheels for Prestige trim level (20-inch for Premium Plus), a synthetic suede headliner, night vision assist, rear side airbags and a 15-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system.
Also available by special order through the Audi Exclusive program is a large array of custom exterior colors and finishes as well as interior colors and materials. Note that these special orders can add two months or more to the normal post-ordering delivery time.
Under the hood of the 2017 S7 is a turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 that sends 450 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels. Shifting duties are handled by a seven-speed automated manual transmission (S tronic).
In Edmunds testing, an identically powered 2016 Audi S7 made the sprint from zero to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds, considerably quicker than most competitors in the segment.
The EPA hasn't released fuel economy numbers for the 2017 Audi S7, but since it is identical to last year's model, we expect it will return the same 21 mpg combined (17 mpg city/27 mpg highway). This is remarkably frugal for such a rapid car.
With 450 hp just itching to be unleashed by your right foot, the 2017 Audi S7 is a thrilling car to drive. Throw in Audi's crisp-shifting automated manual transmission and all-wheel drive, and you've got a terrifically responsive and satisfying powertrain. Its right-now character makes passing maneuvers a breeze.
The S7's standard adaptive air suspension delivers a smooth ride along with capable handling, a deft balancing act that once again sets this Audi apart. Around turns, the S7 can feel like the heavy and sizable sedan it is, but nonetheless it inspires driver confidence in both enthusiastic cornering and evasive maneuvers. In short, few four-door cars can match the S7's broad range of dynamic abilities.
The interior of the S7 is characterized by sleek, handsome design and excellent materials quality, with some S-specific flourishes thrown in for good measure. The standard MMI infotainment system features a dash-mounted pop-up screen and a control dial surrounded by buttons on the center console. The system boasts logical menus, crisp graphics and a touchpad to enhance functionality. Certain rival systems are easier to use, but most shoppers will find Audi's system intuitive after a short time.
The S7 is also equipped with the Audi Connect telematics suite, which includes 4G LTE connectivity, mobile Wi-Fi capability, Google Earth data for the navigation system and simplified Google search functionality for points of interest. The Wi-Fi is a boon for passengers on a long road trip, or if you'd simply like to turn the S7 into a 450-hp mobile workstation. On the other hand, the Google Earth navigation maps can be difficult to read at a glance from behind the wheel.
Whether you stick with the standard sport seats or opt for the massaging contour seats, you'll enjoy excellent support during long trips and spirited back-road runs alike. But due to the S7's aggressively raked roof line, backseat headroom is tight for average-to-tall folks. Legroom is adequate, however, and there's something to be said for the intimate comfort of the twin rear bucket seats versus a traditional three-across bench seat.
The S7's handy hatchback design permits easier loading of larger items that just won't fit in the trunk of a conventional sedan. Official luggage capacity is 24.5 cubic feet, while lowering the rear seatbacks opens up considerably more room.
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.