The 2017 Audi S7 could get by on sex appeal alone. That shape isn't just beautiful, it's provocative. And its 450-horsepower, twin-turbo V8 engine is the sort of creation that inspires epic poetry. Beyond that it's super speedy, too.
Once seduced by the S7 there are only two substitutes. The more reasonable one is its brother the A7 that uses the same basic body and structure but uses turbocharged four or V6 engines instead of the mighty V8. And then there's the 605-hp RS7 that also uses the same body, but is even more insanely powerful and optimized for high-performance hero work.
In significant ways, the S7 is a zoomier version of the S6 sedan that's slightly less practical because of compromises in passenger room imposed by the lower roofline. That noted, the A7/S7/RS7 family of five-doors is more accommodating and comfortable than similarly situated "four-door coupes" from Audi's competitors.
The standard V8 engine is low-key in the way it makes tremendous amounts of power. This is state-of-the-art in turbocharged V8s with a torque band under which you could play an NFL playoff game. And the V8's silken manners almost defy the fact that internal combustion is contained within.
Beating alongside that wonder motor is this Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive system. It's this constantly evolving system's ability to distribute torque to the four wheels that defines the S7's manners and ensures its rapid progress across greasy, snowy or gooey surfaces. Many other makers offer all-wheel drive, but Audi has made it a vivid part of its vehicles' character.
The S7 is available in two trim levels. The Premium Plus is extremely well equipped while the Prestige is downright lavish. The options list includes a Bang & Olufsen sound system that runs an astonishing $4,900 and a black Alcantara headliner for $3,000. Most of the expected 21st-century electronic amusements and servants are standard.
While the S7 is glorious-looking, most of its structure is still built of steel. So this is no featherweight machine and that heft can show up diving into corners. But it also contributes to an easygoing stability and controlled ride that belies the rapid pace the car can sustain.
Big, fast cars, however, need fuel. While the seven-speed automatic transmission can be manually shifted, the EPA-rated fuel economy numbers are only modest. The S7 comes in at a combined rating of 21 mpg (17 city/27 highway). If you want to use up the dead dinosaurs more rapidly, the insane RS7 goes at 18 mpg combined (15 city/25 highway).
The 2017 Audi S7 packs a lot of substance inside its beauty. But there's nothing more beautiful than a great deal, and the tools here on Edmunds are here to help you get one.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.