Ingolstadt - If there's one car company in the world that knows how to make big cars move very, very quickly, it's Audi. Ever since the company slapped on Porsche goodies to the RS2 Avant in the early '90s, there's been bigger, faster versions of estates, sedans and fastbacks for every generation, some cars even capable of running with exotic vehicles that cost double their price points.
The most recent addition to Audi's fast car portfolio, albeit not a full-blown RS model, is the new S7 Sportback.
Fresh for 2019
The new S7 goes on sale in global markets this week, and we're expecting it to land in South Africa by the end of the year, if not then very early next year. Pricing will be announced closer to the time of its local introduction.
New for the 2019 model year is sharper, more chiselled bumpers, aggressive side sills and bold quad exhaust outlets. It remains understated, like most of Audi's S cars, but in the right colour, you can make it stand out from a visual perspective if that's your thing.
Additional design tweaks include new 20-inch, 5-twin-spoke wheels with high-performance tyres, a platinum double-slat signature grille, aluminium-optic front splitter and side mirror housings, and a rear diffuser inlay in a black-chrome matte finish.
Inside the new S7, you'll get Valcona leather S sport seats with diamond stitching as standard. You also have the option of drowning out the world around you by ticking an options box for dual-pane acoustic glass that offers drivers and passengers a 'sense of tranquillity', as Audi's spokesmen put it.
If you want to make your S7 more aggressive-looking, there's also an optional black optic package that includes a darkened exterior aero kit with black exterior mirror housings (and 21-inch 5-V-spoke star wheels in anthracite).
While this large Sportback wears an S badge on its svelte rear end, the version that's coming to South Africa is propelled by the same engine that Audi uses in the RS4 Avant. Displacing 2.9-litres, with six cylinders in a V arrangement, and twin-turbos too, the car is good for 331kW and 600Nm. Interestingly, European markets get a 257kW, 700Nm 3.0 TDI engine.
A sporty iteration of Quattro all-wheel-drive comes standard to further enhance your standing start and weather capabilities, and you get an eight-speed torque convertor transmission thrown in.
Audi's also fitted the new S7 with a nifty electrically-driven air compressor that works to prevent turbo lag at lower engine RPMs. Basically, this 48V unit will force the compressed air that's needed (when the turbos aren't spooled) for near-instantaneous response and torque pick-up, to give drivers a more engaged feeling.
All the car you'll ever need
The new Audi S7 comes extremely well-equipped out-the-box. You get Audi's Virtual Cockpit system, a four-zone automatic climate control, a top-view camera system with Virtual 360 view system, and a Bang & Olufsen 3D Premium Sound System as standard.
Audi's also outfitted the car with its new MMI navigation and entertainment systems (with touch-response) found in the new Q8 sports utility vehicle. A 26cm upper and 22cm lower screen replaces the old-school rotary dial and the conventional buttons of the previous-gen car. The two large, high-resolution touch displays enable easy access to vehicle functions and a high degree of personalisation.
A full suite of standard and available driver assistance features, including adaptive cruise assist with traffic jam and turn assist and Audi side assist with rear cross-traffic assist and vehicle exit warning, is available too.
So how fast is it? Audi claims that the new S7 Sportback will gallop from a standstill to 100km/h in less than 5 seconds. It'll reach V-max at an electronically-limited 250km/h. We wish you luck with those speeding tickets.