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2015 Audi S7 REVIEW

Edmunds.com logo Edmunds.com 4/3/2017

Con: Tight rear-seat headroom for taller passengers.

Interior: In standard Audi fashion, 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. Audi's MMI controls entertainment, communication and navigation functions via 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 may be easier to acclimate to, but MMI should become intuitive in short order for most shoppers.

The S7 is also equipped with the Audi Connect telematics suite, which includes mobile WiFi capability, Google Earth data for the navigation system and simplified Google search functionality for points of interest. The WiFi is a boon for passengers on a long road trip or for turning the S7 into a 420-hp workstation. On the other hand, the Google Earth navigation maps can be difficult to understand at a glance from behind the wheel.

Whether you stay with the standard sport seats or opt for the multicontour comfort 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 snug 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, and lowering the rear seatbacks opens up considerably more room.

Body: The 2015 Audi S7 comes in a single well-equipped trim level. Unlike the A7, which comes in a five-passenger configuration, the S7 has two individual rear seats, meaning a strict four-passenger capacity.

Standard features include 19-inch wheels, full LED exterior lighting (headlights, running lights and taillights), an adaptive air suspension, a sport differential, a sunroof, a power liftgate, heated and auto-dimming mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, a blind-spot warning system and keyless ignition and entry. Inside, you'll find a head-up display, 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, 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, Bluetooth, Audi Connect (including enhanced Web-based navigation and information services plus mobile WiFi connectivity) and a 14-speaker Bose audio system with a CD/DVD player, HD radio and iPod connectivity.

Options for the S7 include a number of packages. The Cold Weather package adds heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel, while the Driver Assistance package adds adaptive cruise control (with stop-and-go functionality), lane-departure warning/keeping, a 360-degree parking camera system and the Audi Pre-Sense Plus collision mitigation system. The Individual Contour Seating package features multicontour front seats with ventilation and massaging functions, passenger memory settings, comfort rear seats and leather upholstery without diamond stitching. Finally, the Black Optic package tacks on special 20-inch wheels, body-color exterior mirrors (instead of the standard silver ones), a blacked-out grille and gloss-black window surrounds.

Individual option highlights include 20-inch wheels, power-closing doors, a faux-suede headliner, night vision assist, rear side airbags and a 15-speaker Bang & Olufsen surround-sound audio system with twice the power of the Bose system (1,300 watts versus 630).

Driving: With 420 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque just itching to be unleashed by your right foot, the 2015 Audi S7 is a very fast car. Throw in Audi's crisp-shifting automated manual transmission and all-wheel drive, and you've got one of the most responsive and satisfying powertrains on the planet. The standard air suspension delivers a smooth ride along with sports car-like handling, a deft balancing act that once again sets this Audi apart. From behind the wheel, the S7 feels more like a tautly proportioned coupe than its rivals, giving the driver confidence in both enthusiastic cornering and evasive maneuvers. Few four-door cars can match the S7's broad range of dynamic abilities.

What’s New: For 2015, the Audi S7's standard features now include LED headlights and a head-up display.

Under the hood of the 2015 S7 is a turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 that sends 420 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels. Shifting duties are handled by a seven-speed automated manual transmission (S tronic).

According to Audi, the S7 can sprint from zero to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy is very respectable for this level of performance, clocking in at 20 mpg combined (17 city/27 highway).

Safety: Standard safety equipment on the 2015 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, lane-departure warning/keeping and a blind-spot warning system are also standard. Rear side airbags 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.

Pro: Sizzling turbocharged V8 power; good fuel economy; sporty handling; compliant ride; handy hatchback; sublime interior.

Edmunds Say: The 2015 Audi S7 is a swift and sleek four-door superstar, delivering world-class performance, luxury and technology in a stylish, versatile package.

Introduction: The decision to buy a beautiful, high-performance luxury car like the 2015 Audi S7 is one that might be a little hard from a purely logical standpoint. After all, the S7's little brother, the A7, is an excellent choice with a lot of the same virtues, and it costs considerably less. Why spend the extra money? The simple answer is power -- lots of power. With 420 horses on tap, the S7's V8 is one of the most satisfying motors in the market. Ladies and gentlemen, let the rationalization begin.

To be fair, there's other stuff to love about the 2015 S7, including respectable fuel economy and a nimble, athletic feel around corners that coexists with exemplary ride quality. Credit for the latter goes in part to the brilliant adaptive air suspension, which cast a spell on us with its almost eerie balance and smoothness. Moreover, the S7's interior is as sumptuous as they come, with superb materials and technology features.

Yet we keep coming back to that sweet turbo V8 under the hood, a world-class engine that you'll never tire of putting through its paces. Of course, Audi isn't the only luxury automaker capable of seducing buyers with a sleek V8-powered four-door. The 2015 BMW 650i Gran Coupe is almost as stunning to look at and boasts even more turbocharged V8 power, while the 2015 Mercedes Benz CLS550 is comparably quick and attractive in a more muscular way. If you don't mind paying extra, the 2015 Porsche Panamera's peerless driving dynamics are mighty tempting, though its styling remains controversial -- and you'll have to pony up for the GTS or one of the Turbo models if you want a V8.

Stiff competition notwithstanding, the 2015 Audi S7 is a great driver's car with tremendous aesthetic appeal inside and out. Even if the logical part of you says the standard A7 will be just fine, we definitely recommend being a little irrational and taking the S7 for a test-drive.

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