Audi S7 Sportback review
The Audi S7 Sportback is a premium four-door coupe with the performance to match its slick looks but alternatives are more fun to drive and come with more exciting petrol engines.
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The Audi S7 Sportback is a stylish four-door coupe that’s lovely to travel in yet pretty bloomin’ quick when you fancy enjoying a backroad blast. It’s a little larger than the likes of the Audi S6 and its sleek shape puts it up against the likes of the Mercedes CLS and the BMW 6 Series GT.
On the outside, it’s a little tricky to spot what sets this faster S7 Sportback model apart from the standard A7 Sportback. The sloping roofline, angular grille and wide arches remain, but there’s a set of contrasting bumper extensions, bigger alloy wheels and four giant exhaust pipes at the back. Well, almost – these are little more than chrome plastic trims bolted to the rear bumper.
Thankfully, there’s no such fakery inside the Audi S7 Sportback’s cabin. Everything feels absolutely lovely, from the standard leather sports seats to the aluminium trim on the dashboard and doors. That being said, the standard A7 Sportback feels very posh inside too, but the S7 gets a sportier steering wheel, more supportive front seats and an upgraded infotainment system to help you tell them apart.
The latter consists of a pair of touchscreens on the dashboard and centre console that control the car’s main functions and a third widescreen digital display in front of the steering wheel. This third screen looks fabulous and comes with a sportier display mode you don’t get in the A7. That’s all well and good, but the lowermost display’s touchscreen heating and ventilation controls aren’t as easy to use as those in a Mercedes or BMW.
If you’re thinking of travelling very long journeys in your sporty four-door coupe, the diesel-powered Audi S7 Sportback has a great combination of comfort, range and pace.
Unfortunately, while the S7 comes with more fancy tech than the standard A7, it can’t carry three passengers in the back – instead, you get a pair of seats and a folding rear armrest. There’s enough knee room for tall adults to get comfortable behind equally tall passengers in the front, but those over six feet tall will struggle for headroom.
This theme continues with the Audi S7 Sportback’s boot. Its hatchback-style opening and long load bay mean you can easily carry a few sets of golf clubs but there isn’t space for anything taller than a large suitcase lying on its side. If you need to carry something unusually lengthy, such as skis, you can always fold the back seats down, though.
In fact, the Audi S7 Sportback makes ideal transport for a weekend away to the slopes because every model comes with Audi’s grippy quattro four-wheel-drive system. Pair this with the smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic gearbox and you can lap up long motorway journeys with ease.
Unlike previous S7 models, this latest version comes with a diesel engine rather than a petrol unit. To help make it feel as responsive as possible it comes fitted with a clever electric turbocharger and a mild-hybrid system. Together, these boost the 349hp 3-litre V6 diesel engine’s performance at low revs and help the S7 Sportback sprint from 0-60 in a smidgen over five seconds.
The prospect of a diesel-powered sports coupe might sound a bit strange, but the Audi S7 Sportback is still good fun to drive. The direct steering and standard adaptive suspension let you make the most of its pulling power at every opportunity on a twisty country road.
Once you’ve had your fill of backroad blasts, you’ll find the Audi S7 Sportback is very relaxing to drive at motorway speeds, too. It’s quiet and comfortable (especially with the optional air suspension fitted) and the mild-hybrid system can automatically shut the engine down when you’re coasting along to help save fuel. Drive patiently and you’ll see the S7 Sportback crack 30mpg without too much hassle.
Sure, the Audi S7 Sportback doesn’t quite have the same pizzazz as its petrol-powered predecessor and takes a few tenths of a second more to reach 60mph than some more spritely alternatives, but it’s an excellent long-distance cruiser that’s lovely to travel in and surprisingly grin-inducing for a big diesel coupe.