22 May, 2019 11:00pm Richard Ingram
Is the new diesel powered Audi S7 Sportback an improvement over its petrol-powered predecessor? We drive it to find out…
If you don’t need the space and practicality offered by the latest Audi S6 then fear not, Audi has your back. With the same V6 mild-hybrid diesel, this S7 does everything its sibling does, with an added dose of Sportback style.
Boasting an identical 344bhp and 700Nm, the Audi S7 is no faster than the S6. Despite is sleeker body and coupe looks, it isn’t any sharper, either. In fact, the two cars feel very similar to drive.
That’s no bad thing, of course. Like the estate, the S7 Sportback delivers a huge slug of torque from 2,500rpm – forging past slow-moving traffic with ease. It’s quiet, too, with the slippery shape – and our car’s double-glazed side windows – keeping wind noise to a minimum.
Like the S6, our test model also featured Audi’s optional four-wheel steering. It offers a pleasing degree of agility, with natural feedback through the wheel. Grip from the quattro all-wheel-drive system is strong in all conditions, too.
You might reasonably expect the sleeker S7 to offer advantages when it comes to running costs, but that swooping roofline can only do so much in a car weighing over two tonnes. The result is a single gramme per kilometre of CO2 – not even enough to lower the S7’s Benefit in Kind rating.
S7 buyers are more likely to lament the death of the old car’s petrol V8, but that’s no reason to advocate the crummy sound imposer, which pumps artificial engine noise through the car’s speakers. Luckily, it can be switched off via the digital drive mode menus; even the throaty diesel grunt is preferable to the synthesised roar.[gallery:1]
The S7’s cabin is lifted almost unchanged from the standard car, just as it is in the S6. It’s luxurious and filled to bursting with the latest tech – including the stunning twin-screen infotainment system. The kit list is identical to the S6’s in fact, with all cars coming fitted with four-zone climate control, privacy glass and lashings of premium trim.
Which model you choose will depend largely on whether you need the S6’s space and practicality, then. But given how similar they feel to drive, it’s hard to recommend the pricier, more compromised S7. Audi reckons it’ll cost around £8k more than an S6 saloon – a big price to pay for a lower roofline.
3.5 Unlike the practical Audi S6, the S7 is a car most people will buy with their heart rather than their head. As such, fitting this flagship with a powerful TDI diesel engine feels a little contradictory. The fact it isn’t any more fun to drive than the S6, and is likely to be considerably more expensive, makes it a harder car to recommend.
- Model: Audi S7 Sportback TDI quattro
- Price: £68,000 (est)
- Engine: 3.0-litre V6 diesel
- Power/torque: 344bhp/700Nm
- Transmission: Eight-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
- 0-62mph: 5.1 seconds
- Top speed: 155mph
- Economy/CO2: 35.8mpg/ 170g/km
- On sale: June