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THE AUDI S7 BOTH COM­FORTS AND EX­CITES

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Audi didn’t in­vent the four- door coupé but it has cer­tainly per­fected it. The com­pany seems to have tar­geted the mar­ket and the other man­u­fac­tur­ers seem to have not no­ticed. Add to that its S and RS en­gines and body­work and Audi is mak­ing hay whilst the sun shines.

The coupé trend was started by Mercedes, with its orig­i­nal ba­nana-shaped CLS, the four-door coupé mar­ket has boomed and for good rea­son. The design is ex­tremely prac­ti­cal and yet still pro­vides the sporty look that many peo­ple are ul­ti­mately look­ing for.

But I’m still a bit old school. In my mind, a coupé should have two doors, though even I have to ad­mit that, as I slide into the leather­clad rear of the clev­erly de­signed Audi S7, I can see the mer­its of this strange quirk of the car in­dus­try.

The 7 range is based on the A6, so is sim­i­lar in size, al­beit with a lower roofline. There is, how­ever, plenty of head­room and leg room, so it’s hard to see why any­one would go for the stan­dard sa­loon, un­less they’re a bas­ket­ball player.

To look at, the S7 is im­pos­ing, although not a pretty car. It’s mean and tough, rather than soft and smooth. Per­haps sleek is a good word? It’s cer­tainly a head-turner, and across a wide spec­trum, from teenagers to old peo­ple. Audi’s design team seem to have nailed gen­eral ap­peal with­out los­ing an edge. Clever.

In­side, it’s the usual story. I’ve said it many times be­fore, but I’ll re­peat my­self yet again; amongst its ri­vals Audi has by far the best in­te­ri­ors on the mar­ket. It’s clever, well-thought-out and looks a mil­lion dol­lars. The qual­ity of the ma­te­ri­als and the way it’s bolted to­gether is in­cred­i­ble. You work out what’s where in sec­onds and ev­ery­thing falls to hand in a log­i­cal way. There’s noth­ing I would change.

The roof doesn’t im­pinge on rear head­room as badly as you’d think, although get­ting in and out is, of course, not as easy as in an S6. In the rear, there’s an in­cred­i­bly wide, but shal­low boot.

One is­sue is the lack of a rear wiper on the gen­tly slop­ing rear screen. I left the car parked un­der a tree and af­ter a rain shower in the night, I couldn’t see out the back.

The back end is topped off with a de­ploy­able wing, stowed in the top edge of the boot lid. You can ac­tu­ally raise it all the time us­ing a but­ton on the dash, but I have no idea why you’d want to pre­tend you’re go­ing fast, when ev­ery­one can clearly see you are not.

On the road, the en­gine is more than pow­er­ful enough for any­one, with the 100 kmph mark com­ing up in just 4.7 sec­onds. Top speed is lim­ited to 250 kmph, but it feels like the S7 is ca­pa­ble of so much more.

But it’s the torque that re­ally grabs you. The S7 feels like it could pull an oil tanker and not break a sweat. It’s also neatly spread through the rev range, mak­ing it ver­sa­tile and en­ter­tain­ing. That’s im­por­tant, es­pe­cially with the num­ber of lux­ury cars on the mar­ket to­day that de­liver a dull driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

The gear­box is smooth and pre­cise, with­out the hunt­ing many other cars suf­fer from. Re­verse is the key let down. It takes an age to select re­verse, which is not good when you are do­ing a three-point turn and peo­ple are wait­ing to get by.

The sus­pen­sion is true Audi, stuck to the road with a very large tube of Su­per Glue. Noth­ing phases it, re­gard­less of the sur­face, although it does tend to track into worn grooves left by trucks and the like, prob­a­bly due to its wide tyres.

The brakes are ex­tremely ef­fec­tive, giv­ing you the con­fi­dence to push on, know­ing you’ll be able to bring the big car to a stop in short mea­sure. Audi re­ally has got its brak­ing spot-on, as I’ve yet to drive one that doesn’t have great stop­ping power.

The S7 is sleek and cool in equal mea­sure, plus it’s com­posed and sure-footed on the

road. You also get that Audi build qual­ity that re­ally sets it apart from some of its ri­vals. It all feels so solid and built to last. There’s no wob­bly switchgear or poor trim. Even the doors shut with a re­as­sur­ing ‘thunk’.

In short, it’s ev­ery­thing you will have come to ex­pect from big Audis. It’s more brutish than the S5, which is neater and more re­solved rear end, but for ev­ery­day use, the S7 ticks ev­ery sin­gle box.

Audi’s in­te­ri­ors far sur­pass those of its ri­vals

The S7 ticks ev­ery box for ev­ery­day use

The Audi build qual­ity re­ally sets this car apart from ri­vals

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