All three S cars are debuting Audi’s new 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8. The S7 shares its engine tune with the S6 sedan and Avant, in which the eight makes 420 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. The S8 will use the same engine, but dialed up to 520 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque to move its extra heft—and to warrant the greater investment. Both derivatives of the V-8 feature fuel-saving tech with stop-start functionality and a cylinder-deactivation system that will shut down four cylinders under lighter loads. The latter prompted Audi to install an active noise-cancellation system that uses four microphones in the headliner to analyze cabin noise and then employs the audio system’s speakers to counteract any plebian four-cylinder sounds.
A seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic will be the only transmission available in the S7, with the standard Quattro all-wheel-drive system feeding power to the ground. The optional torque-vectoring rear differential will further aid performance. Audi estimates the S7 will reach 62 mph in just 4.9 seconds, which we’ll call very conservative, considering we scooted to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds in the regular 310-hp A7. Top speed is limited to 155 mph.
The styling, while very sleek and sexy in standard A7 form, hardly differs on the S7. Nineteen-inch wheels are standard, with other sets of 19s and 20s available. Behind the rollers are matte-black brake calipers wearing S7 logos. Carbon-ceramic discs are available. Just a few other subtle details point to the S7’s zesty purpose, among them a V8T fender badge, quad exhaust tips, and aluminum accents on the front fascia, side-mirror housings, and rear diffuser.
It’s the same story inside, where there are few upgrades over the A7. Perhaps the biggest change is the standard sport seats with embossed S logos (regular chairs are available). U.S. details aren’t available yet, but at least in Europe, the handsome interior can be optioned with your choice of three upholstery colors, with four different trim materials to accent. In addition to the standard xenon headlamps and LED running lights, the usual groupings of high-tech extras will be available, including navigation with Google Earth overlays.