The conventional wisdom was that while large luxury hatchback cars were accepted in Europe, Americans weren't interested in them. It seems as though that has since changed; the A7 model is selling very well. And you can now get its more powerful twin, the 2013 Audi S7 for $78,000.
The vehicle's big change is noticeable under the hood. A 4.0 liter V-8 replaces the A7's 3.0 liter V-6. That means lots of power and lots of grip to get the power to the pavement via Audi's Quattro all wheel drive system.
This car competes in the hot four-door coupe segment, equipped with four doors for easy passenger access and the rakish roofline of a coupe.
The Audi S7's competitor is the Mercedes-Benz CLS. While the Benz has a conventional trunk, Audi's four-door coupe has a big hatch which reveals a really big luggage space. If you fold down the rear seats, you've almost got the carrying space of a wagon.
There's some practicality under the hood too. The V-8 gets cylinder de-activation which shuts off half the cylinders when they're not needed. So even though this sporty car offers strong performance, it's rated at 17 MPG city and 27 MPG highway. For a fairly large car with a powerful V-8, that's not bad.
The A7 has more than enough power for most drivers but the S7 turns up the wick a bit with an extra two cylinders and an extra 110 horsepower. But if you want more power, just wait a bit.
Audi just announced the RS7 with even more power and more performance, truly a luxury hot rod.
For maximum MPG, you'll soon be able to get the A7 with Audi's TDI clean diesel engine. No official mileage figures have been released yet, but the TDI version of the larger A8 has been rated at 36 MPG highway.
That's lots of choices for a large hatchback luxury car, especially for the kind of car Americans weren't supposed to want to buy.