On the outskirts of Munich, Germany, we got our hands on the stunning new(ish) S7 - a sportier version of the original A7 Sportback that had bowled us over a couple of years back, and boy, was it something!
The trend of ‘familial design’ which seems to have taken most of the German car makers by storm over the last few years is a worrying one. I mean, the Passat is just a bigger Jetta and the BMW 5 Series is just a slightly burlier 3 Series.
And if any company is taking this too seriously, it’s Audi, with all its SUV and sedan offerings looking pretty much like the same car in different sizes. Thankfully, there are a few gems that do crop up from the usual fare which really make us smile and a couple of years back Audi had us grinning silly with the delectable lines of the A7 Sportback. So when a newer, sportier version of that car came out, naturally we were jumping through hoops to get our hands on it.
There was nothing really wrong with the A7 to begin with. It’s a car that does design, luxury and premium feel in good measure, but the one place where it does leave you pining for more is outright performance.
Of course, it’s not like the 245PS, 500Nm V6 diesel available in India, or the 310PS V6 petrol that’s available everywhere else feel slow or anything, but it’s just that one gets the feeling that a gorgeous four-door coupe such as this needs something more to compete with the CLS’ and the Panameras of the world.
So now we have the S7, Audi’s beefed up Sportback, launched in Europe last year and possibly coming to India sometime in the near future. Now of course, this is not to be confused with the RS7 that Audi unveiled in early 2013 at the Detroit Motor Show. The S7 is more of a ‘regular hammer’ take on the A7 as opposed to the RS7’s sledge hammer approach.
Visually, it’s pretty much a case of ‘spot the differences’ between the standard A7 and this sporty S7. The long hood, the long wheelbase with short overhangs and that swooping roofline which flows into the automatically extending (or manually if you so wish) rear spoiler at the very tail end of the body is all maintained.
But do a double take and the fact that this car carries sportier genes starts coming through. The single-frame grille now sports the S7 badge with its red accent, like Cindy Crawford’s mole – a solitary detail suddenly adding character to an otherwise familiar face. Both the bumpers along with the rear diffuser have received a bit of a rework as well, and those twin double barrel exhaust pipes will positively leave you swooning.
The door sills too get S7 badging for a bit of added élan. And if the massive 19-inch five spoke wheels weren’t a dead giveaway in the first place, then the V8 T badges on the front quarter panels will leave no doubt in anyone’s mind as to exactly what level of firepower you are packing under the hood.
On the inside, you’ll be greeted by a very familiar A7 interior which too has been tweaked every so slightly in light of the need to add sportiness to justify the S badge.
There is a smattering of S badges all around the cockpit, a red ring on the start-stop button while the 7-speed S tronic dual clutch gearbox gets an aluminium strip on the aircraft throttle style gear selector lever and aluminium paddles behind the steering wheel. The pedals are made of stainless steel, and the soft keys of the MMI operating system are finished in faux aluminium.
Audi equips the S7 Sportback with single piece ‘S’ sport seats with power lumbar supports as standard and embossed S logos on the backrests. But those who do understand that they’re bodies are nowhere as fit as real race car drivers can always choose for the comfort seats or regular seats as options.