It wasn't very long ago that a car like this simply wouldn't have been possible. Ferrari-style power stats with five-door family versatility. Vanishingly rare exclusivity and a hand-built interior for less than the cost of some quite ordinary large executive saloons. And, most tellingly, rest to sixty two mph in under five seconds, yet a 30mpg capability. The first generation Audi S7 Sportback looked quite a package at its launch back in 2012.
This variant was launched as a performance flagship for the A7 Sportback range but later had to slot in behind the more potent RS 7 variant which made more headlines. Either way, buyers get a really hot version of the 'five-door coupe' A7 Sportback model line that Ingolstadt created to challenge stylised executive contenders like BMW's 6 Series GranCoupe and the Mercedes CLS-Class. The S7 is 140PS down on the 560PS output of its RS 7 stablemate but when new, it cost around 35% less than that car and uses essentially the same V8 biturbo petrol engine to go almost as fast.
So, with a perfectly adequate 420PS on tap, this S7 makes more sense - as long as you appreciate that any concept of sense and sensibility is somewhat relative when you're talking about a 4.0-litre petrol-powered executive fastback weighing around two tonnes. And in any case, if you really were being sensible and wanted a quick A7 Sportback model, the 3.0 BiTDI quattro diesel version is significantly cheaper, 50% more economical and just half a second slower from rest to 62mph.
But we'll get into that as we go along. Bottom line is that this car delivers much of what you'll find in far more expensive potently powered stylised executive cars from this era like, say, Porsche's Panamera 4S and BMW's 650i GranCoupe - for an awful lot less. The S7 sold until an all-new second generation A7 Sportback range was launched by the brand early in 2018.