Autos: Ruling Class

  • The S7 is one of three new S models that Audi is offering for the 2013 model year.
<< Back to Robb Report, April 2013
  • Paul Meyers

Audi evidently believes in the rule of three, which holds that it is best and most effective to present things in threes, whether they are animals in a fairy tale, clerics in a joke, or unalienable rights in a historic document. For the 2013 model year, Audi is offering new versions of three S models: the S6 and S8 sedans and the S7 four-door hatchback. Each is a high-performance variant of its corresponding A model.

The new S models are technologically innovative, impressively fast, and intoxicatingly fun. But when all three were driven along coastal and canyon roads in Southern California over the course of an eight-hour day, the $78,800 S7 proved—to borrow a phrase from "Goldilocks and the Three Bears"—just right. It represents the most balanced combination of performance, style, and everyday usability.

The S7 is powered by a 4-liter, twin-turbocharged V-8 that produces a respectable 420 hp and 406 ft lbs of torque. The car’s interior is impeccable. It includes quilted-leather seats that seem to have been lifted from a Bentley Continental GT, and a center stack and driver displays that are perfectly positioned. Active engine mounts under the hood quash engine vibrations, and an active noise-cancellation system inside the cabin nixes unwanted sounds. The S7 also is equipped with Audi’s Multi Media Interface, which combines the car’s information and entertainment components in one operating system. Audi Connect technology includes Google Earth navigation and wireless Internet connection for as many as eight devices.

Equipped with Audi’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system, the S7 feels poised at all times, ready to take on harrowing corners or treacherous road conditions. The car inspires confidence in every situation, daring the driver to test its limits. The 7-speed dual-clutch transmission shifts seamlessly and swiftly in automatic mode, and it also allows the driver to select gears using the paddle shifters that are mounted to the steering wheel.

Audi has developed an engine system that enhances fuel economy without compromising the S7’s sportier characteristics—the car reaches 60 mph in 4.7 seconds. When the S7 is cruising on the highway, the engine will deactivate four of its eight cylinders, enabling the car to achieve an estimated 27 mpg.

The S7 is just the latest offering in the A7 model line. Later this year, Audi will begin delivering the new RS 7 to U.S. dealers. The arrival of this 560 hp monster should complete another trifecta for the company.

Audi, www.audiusa.com

From Around the Web...
Photo by Bruce Benedict
The goal is to eliminate all serious or fatal injuries by 2020…
The limited-edition rocket rolls out with 215 hp harnessed by top-tier electronics…
We take a spin in the new manual V-12 to find out if it is the answer to driving purists’ prayers…
The new brand’s first bike will roll out at the New York City Motorcycle Show on December 9…
All proceeds from the sale of the 949 hp one-off will go the country’s recovery efforts…
Fashioned after the Palace of Versailles, the classic car epitomizes custom coachbuilding…
The 4-cylinder boxer power plant provides the mid-engine roadster with plenty of muscle…
Photo by Petrolicious
Though not street legal in the U.S., this Porsche proved quite popular…
Photo by Petrolicious
The Ferrari 312PB won all of the World Sportscar Championship races it entered in 1972…
Photo by Petrolicious
Driver David Hobbs recalls why the racer set new standards despite a rough season in 1971…