Saturday, May 14, 2016

Performance Overload

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Few things in life can kick rational thoughts to the curb, and the 2016 Audi S7 is certainly one of them. The rational decision would be to purchase the cheaper, but still just as good A7 hatchback, on which the S7 is based. However, the S7 kicks it up a few notches from its sister, by adding a 450 horsepower, turbocharged V8 to the mix, along with upgraded suspension and brakes. Saying this, the S7 is quick enough to hang with most sports cars in a straight line, and it goes around corners with more pizazz. Good luck going with the rational option when you have that kind of performance under your foot.

      The 2016 Audi S7 comes in one rather well equipped trim level. Unlike the A7, which can seat 3 people in the rear, the S7 has 2 distinctive seats, meaning it can only hold up to 4 passengers total.

      Standard features include 19-inch wheels, full LED exterior lighting, an adaptive air suspension, sunroof, power lift gate, heated and auto-dimming mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, a blind spot monitoring system and keyless entry and ignition. Inside, you will find a head-up display, a driver information center with a 7-inch screen between the gauges, Audi Drive Select, diamond-stitched leather upholstery, 8-way power heated front sport seats, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with paddle shifters, driver memory settings, 4-zone auto a/c, Audi MMI, a rear view camera, a navigation system with voice controls, Siri Eyes Free, Bluetooth, and a 14-speaker Bose audio system.

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      Options for the S7 come in a number of different packages. The Cold Weather package adds heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel that lacks the flat bottom design, while the Driver Assistance package adds automatic high beam control, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, a corner view camera parking system, and Audi Pre-Sense Plus. The Comfort Seating package comes with contour front seats with ventilation and massaging features, passenger memory settings, comfort rear seats and leather upholstery without the diamond stitching.

      The Sport package comes with variable ratio steering, a sport rear differential, and a sport exhaust with black tailpipes. The Black Optic package adds special 20-inch wheels, body color exterior mirrors, a blacked out grill, and gloss black window surrounds.

      Individual options consist of 20-inch wheels, power closing doors, a faux-suede headliner, night vision assist, rear side airbags, and a 20 speaker B&O sound system.

      Under the hood of the 2016 Audi S7 is a turbocharged, 4.0 liter V8 that pounds out 450 horsepower and 406 lb.-ft of torque to all four wheels. Shifting is done via a 7-speed automated manual transmission.

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  In testing, the S7 made the sprint to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds, which is considerably quicker than most other offerings in the class. Also impressive is the EPA rating of 21 mpg.

      Standard safety equipment includes anti-lock disc brakes, stability control, front seat side airbags, full length side curtain airbags, and front knee airbags. Front and rear parking sensors, a rear view camera, lane keep assist, and a blind spot monitoring system are also standard as well. Rear side airbags and a corner view camera, however, are optional. In brake testing, the S7 stopped from 60 mph in about 112 feet, which is average for this class.

      In usual Audi fashion, the 2016 S7 interior is characterized by a sleek, attractive design and top-notch materials quality, with some S-specific measures thrown in for giggles. The standard MMI system features a dash mounted display screen, while controls are center console mounted. The system boasts logical menus, good graphics, and a touchpad to enhance the experience. Certain other systems may be easier to get used to, but MMI should become second nature in a short amount of time for most shoppers.

      Whether you stick with the standard sport seats or opt for the massaging contour seats, you'll enjoy excellent support during every drive you take. However, due to the design of the S7, rear seat headroom is on the small side for averaged sized folks. Legroom is good, thankfully, and there is something to be said for the snug fit of the rear buckets versus the bench found in the A7.

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      The S7's handy hatchback design allows for easier loading of items that wouldn't fit in the trunk of a normal sedan. Official luggage space is rated at 24.5 cubic feet, while lowering the rear seats will give you even more space.

      With 450 horsepower itching to be set free, the 2016 Audi S7 is a pretty quick car by any means. Throw in the crisp shifting transmission, and all wheel drive, and you have at your hands one of the most satisfying and rewarding powertrains known to mankind. It is worth noting that the RS7 makes do with a conventional auto transmission, so the S7 might feel a little more quicker and responsive when you are manually selecting gears.

      The S7's standard adaptive air suspension delivers a smooth ride along with plenty capable handling, a herculian task that once again sets Audi apart from everybody else. Around turns, the S7 can feel like the heavy and sizable car that it is, but it does inspire confidence in the driver, no matter the situation. In short, few 4-doors can match what the S7 can do.

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