450HP Massage Chair Built For The Autobahn
There’s something incredibly satisfying about piloting a 450-horsepower massage chair. It’s driving nirvana: unmatched comfort with unrivaled speed. We no longer need to cram ourselves into a two-sizes-too-small racing bucket to hit 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds – all we need to do is buy an Audi S7.
Yes, for just a hair under $95,000 before taxes, you too can have a car that kneads your worries away while obliterating almost every other vehicle on the road. And it’s glorious.
Let’s kick things off by talking about this car’s performance credentials. While the S7 was never a slouch, Audi still saw fit to pump up this latest 2016 version. Powering things is a 4.0-liter turbocharged V8, rated at the above-mentioned 450 horsepower, a 30-horsepower jump from 2015. Torque is incredibly generous at 406 lb-ft, and you can tap into all of that twist from 1400-5700 rpm. The transmission is a 7-speed dual-clutch S tronic unit, which sends power to the ground via the requisite quattro all-wheel drive system. And as we said, this car can launch from 0-60 in just 4.5 seconds on its way to an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph.
Despite the S7’s luxury leanings, you feel every single one of those 450 ponies. Firing things up via the start button unleashes a menacing growl. And things only get better as you start to roll onto the throttle. You want to be thrown into the back seat? The S7 will happily oblige, just stab the go pedal and hang on. But this power is easily reigned in; show some restraint with your right foot and the big Audi will effortlessly glide up to the posted speed limit.
Speaking of gliding, the Audi S7’s air-ride suspension provides plenty of comfort. Toss it into a corner and, well, it turns. It handles a lot better than most big sedans, mind you, but it can’t break physics. With a 9.5-ft wheelbase and a curb weight over 4,500 lbs, this car will never be as tossable as a Miata.
The S7 is built to storm the Autobahn, so it feels best when cruising at higher velocities. This car tracks straight and true, and feels planted no matter the speed. In fact, the drive is so serene, only a quick look at the heads-up display alerts us to the fact that we are driving fast enough to lose our license. Thankfully, massive brakes (15.7-in rotors up front with monoblock 6-piston calipers) help get us back to legal speeds with just a brush of the left pedal.
Inside, well, there are fewer cockpits as nice as this. Driving position and overall ergonomics are top notch, with the Valcona leather seats providing enough bolstering to keep occupants in place when the roads get twisty. Yes, those are the same seats that massage you, and they’re heated and ventilated, too. Four-zone climate control keeps everyone from complaining about the temperature. And the black wood trim features silver aluminum inlays, making this interior feel a bit like a pinstriped suit.
Granted, not all is perfect inside. Despite having been in a large number of Audis over the past 10 years, the MMI infotainment system still has yet to feel intuitive. Most controls require a few too many inputs as well. To adjust the climate, for example, you press a button, then twist a knob to change fan speed; press a different button and then twist the same knob to adjust temperature; and so forth.
The other thing not-so-perfect is the cost. Again, this particular ride has as sticker of $95,000 before tax, and that’s way out of our price range. Repair costs are also prohibitively expensive, so holding out and buying a used on later down the road feels like a bad, bad, bad idea as well.
But if you can afford it, the Audi S7 is hard to beat. It’s fast, sleek, beautiful and – oh, did we mention? – it has massaging front seats.