We want everything — always. That’s the American way. We want our gourmet burger with egg, parmesan crust and arugula, our clothes to fit well, be cheap and last forever; we want to marry the veritable hot girl who drinks beer… craft beer… at a football game. Audi’s answer to this consumer desire to have it all(ish) is the S7 ($79,000+).
Though the A7 was based on the A6 platform, it was a brand new model for 2010, and it hit the ground snapping necks and running credit checks. Despite its success, rumor has it (thanks, Adele) the performance division of Audi wasn’t satisfied yet — so they snuck into the garage late one night and replaced the standard 310 hp V6 turbo with a 420 hp 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 made entirely from Zeus’s lightning bolts, tasked spiders with stitching the diamond seat design and placed bottled bear growls in the tailpipes.
As much as we love this car, the auto start-stop and cylinder shutdown can be annoying with the repetitive engine off/engine on drone. To combat this distraction, Audi employs active noise cancellation. By analyzing the ambient sound of the cabin and piping in an opposing wavelength through the sound system both engine and road noise are eliminated, leaving the driver enveloped in the silence of a sound booth. It’s not magic, Michael. It’s an illusion.
Regardless of what you believe, the 2013 Audi S7 is a modern marvel in more than one way — beautiful in its lines with a signature sweeping roof, low and wide rear positioning, ultra stable air suspension system and cinematic Bang & Olufsen sound system; practical in its 2×2 seating for comfort and plenty of room, a hatchback for luggage or a mountain bike and an engine that can silently shut down four cylinders at highway speeds to preserve fuel economy; and technologically impressive with a Mobile Media Interface (MMI) including Google maps 3D and street mode, a touchpad for searching on the NAV, a 3G/4G wi-fi hotspot for up to 8 devices, adaptive cruise control, and night vision, which identifies people or animals in front of the car and chimes to alert the driver. (This was useful when I almost hit a lady dressed in all black (smart) walking in the neighborhood late at night.) Like Captain Planet, when the above forces combine, you are left with a sight to behold: a striking car that is flat in curves, gets to 60 in 4.7 seconds and is extremely comfortable to drive.
A great car, indeed, but not perfect. The headroom in back is pretty tight for anyone approaching six feet, the 8-inch pop-up screen was stuck in the closed position for a full day, eliminating all control of radio and nav (electronic issues have always plagued Audi), and blind spots are large due to the sloped roof and the long nose. Low seat position made it hard to see when I might hit a curb or (heaven forbid) the ever-present parking garage pillar. Oh, and this S version was $95k, $34k more than its less-athletic A7 brother. You pay for excellence, even if it’s not quite perfect.
The pros certainly outweigh the cons (if you have the dough) in this automotive enthusiast’s version of a cross trainer, and it’s worth noting that the thumbs-ups I received while driving were not just from the general public but drivers who like cars: a VW R32, Infiniti G37S Coupe and a BMW E30 M3. It’s like having your fellow worshippers at the local Temple of Automotive Performance give you the nod for your obvious devotion to the faith.