It seems Audi has hit upon a bit of love-it-or-hate-it styling with its new A7 full-size five-door. Regardless of your stance on its aesthetics, we can all agree that the motor does a fine job of hauling the hefty hatchback around. Now, however, Audi has given us our first glimpse at the more powerful S7, and we can't wait to get this shapely German back on U.S. soil.

Under the hood, a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine belches out 420 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. That's enough motivation to propel the four-passenger five-door from 0-62 miles per hour in under five seconds. Despite the power, Audi has managed to eke out a fuel economy average of 25 miles per gallon thanks to its cylinder deactivation system and seven-speed S tronic gearbox.

Should you live your life in the luxurious fast lane, Audi has prepared a few optional goodies to keep you comfortable at speed. An available sport differential varies the the power distribution between the rear wheels while optional carbon ceramic brakes bring the speedo needle back to legal numbers.

There's no word yet on pricing. It's possible to push the price of a loaded A7 above $80,000, so we expect the S7 to start somewhere in that neighborhood.
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The Audi S7

The Audi S7 uses the same engine as the S6 and S6 Avant, the new 4.0 TFSI with 309 kW (420 hp) and 550 Nm (405.66 lb-ft) of torque. The twin-turbo V8 accelerates the five-door coupe from 0 to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 4.9 seconds, and top speed is limited to 250 km/h (155.34 mph). The cultivated eight-cylinder, which uses Audi's "cylinder on demand" technology under part load, consumes on average just 9.7 liters of fuel per 100 km (24.25 US mpg).

Much of this groundbreaking efficiency can be attributed to the lightweight body. A hybrid aluminum construction, it weighs roughly 15 percent less than a comparable all-steel body. Lightweight components include the long rear hatch that opens and closes electrically as standard. Beneath it is a luggage compartment with a volume of 535 liters (18.89 cu ft), which increases to 1,390 liters (49.09 cu ft) with the rear seat backs folded down.

Drivetrain and chassis

Power transmission in the Audi S7 is provided by the dynamic seven-speed S tronic and the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system with a self-locking center differential and torque vectoring. The optional sport differential from Audi distributes the power in variable proportions between the rear wheels.

The S7 comes standard with the adaptive air suspension sport and the Audi drive select dynamics system. Mounted behind the 19-inch wheels are large, internally ventilated disc brakes front and rear. Their matt black calipers sport
S7 logos up front. Carbon fiber-ceramic discs are available as an option. Other chassis options include 19- and 20-inch wheels and dynamic steering, which varies its ratio as a function of speed.

Body and design

The design of the Audi S7 is seamless. The long engine hood, the long wheelbase and the short overhangs create perfect proportions. The low, dynamically tensioned roof line gives the five-door model the character of a coupe. At highway speeds, a rear spoiler extends from the rear hatch to improve stability.

Subtle yet eye-catching details signal the top position in the model series occupied by the 4,980-millimeter (16.34 ft) S7 Sportback. These can be found at the single-frame grille, the front bumper, the side mirrors, the sills, the rear bumper, the diffuser and the tailpipes. Nine exterior colors are available, including the exclusive shades Estoril Blue, crystal effect and Prism Silver, crystal effect. The body is decorated with S and V8 T badges.

Interior

The S7 shows its sporty character in the interior, too. This can be seen in numerous details – the S badges, the red ring on the start-stop button, the S7 logo in the illuminated door sill trims, the aluminum strip on the S tronic selector lever and the aluminum shift paddles. The footrest and the pedals are made of stainless steel, and the soft keys of the MMI operating system are in an aluminum-look finish.

Customers can choose decorative inlays in standard aluminum, carbon, natural fine grain ash and layered Beaufort oak. Black, lunar silver and goa beige (only for the seat upholstery) comprise the color palette for the headlining, instrument panel, carpet and seats. The standard seat upholstery is a combination of Pearl Nappa leather and Alcantara, with the leather grades Milano and Valcona available as options.
Audi equips the S7 with height-adjustable S sport seats with power lumbar supports as standard. Comfort seats and regular seats are available as options. The backrests of the S sport seats are embossed with S logos.

Equipment

Delivery of the S7 is scheduled to begin in spring 2012. Among the standard equipment highlights are the xenon plus headlights with LED daytime running lights, the driver information system with color display and the versatile MMI radio plus audio and operating system. Both information hubs are easy to operate.

The S7 can be optionally equipped with all of the high-end extras of the model series. Moreover, all driver assistance and infotainment systems are available, including the Bluetooth online car phone that connects the S7 with the Internet.


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