Our glacier white long-term Audi S7 has been in the fleet and blasting around the good 'ol U.S. of A for three months. Aside from a few minor technical complaints, our turbocharged shuttle makes us smile.
The S7 arrived needing only an oil change and a windshield repair. The 5,000-mile service was free; it included an update to the power-steering control and a dealer-installed protective radiator grille. The windshield chip cost $30 to fix.
The 4.0-liter, 420-hp V8-powered, all-wheel-drive S7 receives near-universal praise for its cruising ability and freeway-passing chops. Its subdued grunt from the exhaust on startup also tickles our fancy. The S7 doesn't delight the enthusiast like the 560-hp RS7, but for a true daily driver, it is nearly impossible to beat.
The sheetmetal, though, is polarizing. The best thing about the S7's shape is the usable space. There's plenty of head- and cargo room. Detractors say that the humpback takes away from the sporty look, and they would choose an A6 or S6 instead.
Early on, we experienced a couple technical gremlins. Near Donner Pass in northern California, the rear-adjustable spoiler stopped working.
Later, the turn signals went south, as did the adaptive cruise control. A little while later and a few thousand feet lower, everything worked again, and we have had no problem since.
Throttle tip-in seems a bit more like an on/off switch than a modulated pedal, and there's slight turbo lag, more noticeable in low gears.
Other than that, we're in love. The plush cabin is excellent, sophisticated, serene and comfortable at all speeds. The diamond-stitched seats add an extra touch of class. The gear selector, multifunction wheel and well-placed controls also get two thumbs up.
Audi upgraded its Multi Media Interface system, incorporating even more functions into the already busy setup. We could probably get to Mars if we could just figure out where to punch in the address. Some staffers don't like that the MMI incorporates the three-mode Audi Drive Select system (comfort, normal and sport modes), saying they'd prefer a simple button or two. Others think it's fine.
Winter's full fury is now upon us—a chance to try this all-wheel-drive rocket ship in the snow
AS-TESTED PRICE: $88,670
MILES DRIVEN: 6,385
FUEL MILEAGE (QUARTER): 18.9 mpg
FUEL COST (QUARTER): $1,352.30
DAYS OUT OF SERVICE (QUARTER): 0
MAINTENANCE: 5,000-mile service, including oil change, tire rotation, general inspection (warranty); recall to update power-steering control-unit software (warranty); recall to install protective grille over radiator (warranty); repair windshield chip ($29.95)
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