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.