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- Highs Most thrilling when driven hard, contemporary and upscale interior, hatchback delivers lots of luggage storage.
- Lows Portlier than the last-gen S7, V-6 can't match old V-8's machismo, considerably more expensive than the S6 sedan.
- Verdict The S7 loses the personality of its old V-8 but offsets that with inherently sporty manners and flashier features.
The 2021 Audi S7 directly caters to folks who want a saucier driving experience than they can get from the regular A7. That extra spice comes courtesy of a 444-hp twin-turbo V-6, which provides the Audi hatchback with serious shove. Of course, those who crave the rowdiest version will cut straight to the RS7, which we review separately. Still, the S7 fits nicely in the middle of its sibling spectrum, delivering class and performance in equal measure. Its cabin is the primary source of its sophistication, with a state-of-the-art design and comfy passenger accommodations. The four-door also is impressively practical thanks to the ample cargo space under its brilliantly hidden rear hatch. While we wish it still had the soulful V-8 and lower curb weight of the last generation, the 2021 S7 boasts flashier features in favor of fewer cylinders.
What's New for 2021?
Audi bestows seriously small changes on the 2021 S7. It now comes standard with 21-inch wheels wrapped with summer tires, Virtual Cockpit Plus that brings two additional views, and carbon-twill interior accents. Those who opt for the Executive package will now benefit from the addition of adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
The top-of-the-line Prestige model has the most bells and whistles, but it also costs a pretty penny. While some shoppers won't care about the higher price, we'd choose the Premium Plus trim level. It comes standard with an adaptive air suspension, a powerful Bang & Olufsen sound system, four-zone climate control, front sport seats with 12-way power adjustments and heated cushions, headlights with Matrix-design accents and automatic high-beams, leather upholstery, and a panoramic sunroof. We'd select the Executive package for its further luxuries that include customizable ambient interior lighting, more leather surfaces, heated rear seats, and LED headlights upgraded with laser lighting. We'd also choose the S Sport package for its performance-enhancing hardware. These include a more audible exhaust system, rear-wheel steering, and a torque-vectoring rear differential.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Gone is the last gen's 450-hp twin-turbocharged V-8. Audi now drops a twin-turbo V-6 under the S7's hood, sacrificing six horsepower in the process. What it lost in power, though, it more than makes up for with torque—443 lb-ft of it to be exact, 37 more than before. It routes that torque through an eight-speed automatic transmission to all four wheels. Audi retired the old seven-speed dual-clutch in this application, as it couldn't handle the increased torque. (You can find it on the A7, though.) A 48-volt motor-generator smooths auto stop-start operation while an electric supercharger rouses throttle response. Unfortunately, the electric components add to the overall weight. Tipping the scales at 4640 pounds, the new S7 is 132 pounds heavier than its predecessor. The eight-speed automatic’s shifts aren’t as snappy as those of the seven-speed dual-clutch it replaces, and it shows. The S7 runs a 4.1-second 60-mph dash and the quarter-mile in 12.5, 0.3 and 0.2 second slower than the old car, respectively. And though it’s packed on a few pounds, the driving dynamics that have always been one of the S7s selling points still remain. The luxo-hatch is eager to hustle and feels much smaller than it is. Up front, massive front rotors clamped by six-piston calipers bring the S7 to a halt from 70 mph in a heady 151 feet.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
With the S7's new 48-volt electric gizmos and engine downsizing, the EPA suggests the 2021 model should achieve 22 mpg in combined driving, four better than the previous generation. The government numbers top what the BMW M850i Gran Coupe is expected to earn, but the Mercedes-AMG CLS53 has the S7 beat in the city, boasting an estimated 21 mpg. During our 200-mile highway fuel-economy test, the Audi achieved 28 mpg, matching its EPA highway rating. In the same test, the BMW also earned 28 mpg and the Merc returned an impressive 30 mpg.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Inside, the S7 features everything you'd expect from a luxury performance sedan-like car: natural wood trim, quilted leather seats with contrast stitching, heating for the front seats and steering wheel, shift paddles, four-zone automatic climate control, a panoramic sunroof, and more. Plus, Audi offers luxury touches such as dual-pane acoustic glass and soft-close doors, and who doesn't like those? The S7's fastback shape is a boon for cargo volume. Under the hatch, you have 25 cubic feet of room to play with. That's double what the CLS53 has to offer and 11 cubes more than what the S6 sedan can boast. But cubic footage can be misleading. We will have to wait until we have an S7 in hand to find out how practical that space really is.
Infotainment and Connectivity
A 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster sits in front of the driver. In the center console, Audi divides the infotainment functions between two haptic-feedback screens, a 10.1-incher on top and an 8.6-inch display down low. The screens are rendered with crisp graphics and with a little familiarity are easy to operate. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto interfaces come standard, as does SiriusXM radio, Bluetooth audio, and a wireless charging pad. Audi provides a 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system on either trim, or you can upgrade to a 19-speaker unit from B&O on Prestige models.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The 2021 S7 hasn't been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Audi does offer a host of standard and optional driver-assistance technology. Key safety features include:
- Standard forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking
- Standard lane-departure warning
- Available adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
When it comes to warranty coverage, Audi matches what the other luxury German brands have to offer. Its four-year roadside assistance program isn't novel, either.
- Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance
2020 Audi S7
front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door hatchback
PRICE AS TESTED
$101,340 (base price: $84,895)
twin-turbocharged, supercharged, and intercooled DOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection
177 in3, 2894 cm3
444 hp @ 6700 rpm
443 lb-ft @ 1900 rpm
Suspension (F/R): multilink/multilink
Brakes (F/R): 15.7-in vented disc/13.8-in vented disc
Tires: Pirelli P Zero PZ4, 255/35R-21 98Y AO
Wheelbase: 115.3 in
Length: 196.0 in
Width: 75.1 in
Height: 55.8 in
Passenger volume: 95 ft3
Cargo volume: 25 ft3
Curb weight: 464 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
Rollout, 1 ft: 0.2 sec
60 mph: 4.1 sec
100 mph: 9.9 sec
130 mph: 17.6 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 4.8 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 2.8 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 3.5 sec
¼-mile: 12.5 sec @ 112 mph
Top speed (mfr's claim): 155 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 151 ft
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 16 mpg
75-mph highway driving: 28 mpg
Highway range: 540 miles
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/city/highway: 22/18/28 mpg