Hatchback sedans were never hot sellers here in America; luxurious ones were even less successful. But in 2012, Audi brazenly ignored the historically maligned segment and trotted out the A7, a large hatchback with swooping lines and elegant grace. Immediately, the press and the public swooned, and it seemed as if the stoic Audi eradicated all memories of 1980s hunchbacked Sevilles, Continentals, and Lebarons.

In S7 trim, the big and handsome Audi becomes even further realized, marrying the arresting shape and practical usefulness of the regular A7 with twin-turbocharged V8 performance. The 2018 Audi S7 continues to offer an alluring combination of speed and style.

Best Value

Like all good German cars, the options can run amok with the S7. Get greedy with the extras, and that can mean adding exorbitant sums of money to the bottom line.

There's two distinct flavors of the S7: base and Prestige. The Prestige costs an additional $1,950 but includes diamond-stitched valcona leather, corner-view cameras, ambient LED lighting, and a head-up display. We think all that for another two grand is a no-brainer, especially at the $81,200 price point at which the S7 starts. Of all the available options, we'd stick with just two: the Driver Assistance Package and the S Sport Package.

Here's our S7 after the Ingolstadt techs finish screwing it all together:

  • Model: 2018 Audi S7 Prestige
  • Engine: 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8
  • Output: 450 hp / 406 lb-ft
  • Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic
  • Drivetrain: All-wheel drive
  • Fuel Economy: 16 City / 24 Hwy
  • Options: Driver Assistance Package ($2,000, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, high-beam assist), S Sport Package ($3,900, a sport rear differential, dynamic steering, sport exhaust, and red brake calipers), rear-passenger thorax side airbags ($350)
  • Base Price: $84,125 (including a $975 destination charge)
  • Best Value Price: $90,375

Performance

Audi S7

We sometimes wonder if the S7 should have been a Jaguar instead of an Audi. After all, this hatchback encapsulates that old Coventry mantra of space, grace, and pace. And boy, does it have pace. The heart of the S7 is a twin-turbo V8 that churns out 450 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque – stats that let this big bruiser rocket to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds. It's a powerplant that's fast and authoritative from anywhere along the rev range, and there's little turbo lag from those twin snails resting atop the motor.

All this firepower is routed to each of the four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. It's a gearbox that makes fast work out of shifting when pressed hard, but if you act ambivalent as to your intentions of pressing on or backing off, the transmission will get confused. If you're not selecting gears with the column-mounted paddles, it's best to refrain from being a Jekyll and Hyde when piloting the S7 – but this is probably sound advice to follow no matter what you're driving.

Out on the road, it quickly becomes apparent that the handling is just as impressive as the powertrain. The Quattro all-wheel-drive system manages to keep the S7 feeling neutral in the corners up to impressively high speeds, lending it a more rear-drive-esque personality. With the Sport S Package, an electronically-controlled rear differential with torque vectoring brings even more performance-oriented handling, and adds another layer of chutzpah to this leather-and-wood-trimmed bullet.

Style

In the world of high-dollar automobiles, distinctive style matters. With the S7, we have no doubts that the discerning clientele will find the design of this big hatchback about as chic and hip as you can get at this price point. Let your eyes wander from the front fascia to the rear, and the car's elongated and elegant lines invariably draw you in. It's an emotive design, exacerbated by the long, low, and long proportions, and is easily the best looking four-door in the Audi lineup. Few cars this practical look this good.

Slide into the richly-appointed cabin, and you'll notice that the mantra of restrained elegance which guides the exterior styling continues to reverberate here. All the materials are sumptuous, from the soft-touch dashboard and door panels to the diamond-stitched leather upholstery found on Prestige models. Compared to the A7, there's a subtle but definite improvement in the overall richness of the interior, such as fancier woods and more interesting patterns and motifs. Our only major complaint is with the second row, which is tight on both leg room and head room – the sacrifices for style, we presume. But the front seats are bolstered and comfortable, and cargo space is better here than the similarly-sized but trunk-backed A6 sedan.

The Best and Worst Things

Great style and phenomenal power make the S7 a perfect back-road bomber by day and boulevardier by night.

Our biggest complaints with this luxo-hatch is the tight rear seat and a transmission that's occasionally unsure of itself. But these are minor quibbles with what is otherwise a very good car.

Right For? Wrong For?


Audi S7

For the well-heeled buyer who appreciates performance and wants to differentiate themselves from the sea of traditional luxury sedans, the S7 fits the bill.

But if you're looking for something that's practical for a family-hauler, we'd suggest something else, if only for that tight rear seat. The Mercedes E-Class wagon, for instance, offers more passenger and cargo room. And in E63 trimmings, you can bet that it will give the S7 a run for it's money.

The Bottom Line

Looks, power, and practicality. For most cars, you get to pick two out of three. But the 2018 Audi S7 is one of those rare vehicles which effortlessly combines all three traits in a suave, refined package that's just as at home on the country byways as it is in downtown on a Saturday night. If you're looking for the most ideal realization of what an enjoyable and practical luxury car can be, take a gander at the excellent S7.