American performance is usually served with unmistakable flamboyance. For example, both the shark-nosed Corvette Z06 and Terminator-esque Shelby GT350 Mustang offer unambiguous speed cues front to back. But that’s a good thing; it’s an essential facet of their character. However, some people prefer the straight-to-jail speed in a package that flies comfortably under the radar. Folks looking for a combination like that usually turn to Europe, birthplace of cars like the Audi RS7 Sportback Performance. To the uninitiated, it’s just another AWD luxury sedan. But to those who know, it’s over 600 horsepower and a top speed of 190 mph.
Audi already offers U.S. customers the venerable RS 7, but now, according to a recent report from the fine folks at Autoblog, we’ll get the new Performance version as well. That means even more power, slightly tweaked styling, and all the refinement and comfort you’d expect from a range-topper with four rings on the grille.So then – a high-output variant of an already overpowered luxury sedan. Sounds tempting. We won’t know exactly what the U.S.-spec RS 7 Sportback Performance will bring to the table until Audi provides us with the details, but for now, read on for the Euro-spec iteration and cross your fingers it’s unaltered by the time it hits our shores.
Luxury in Audi RS 7 is complemented by a very elegant and attractive exterior look. Not only it has an elegant appeal but also has been engineered in a fashion so as to ensure proper and sophisticated ergonomics. The overall exterior design has been carved out considering the extra edge or lead that every less gram of it provides. The exterior is dynamic, self-assured and sporty with an extraordinary snob appeal. The beauty of this automobile Marvel is mesmerizing and deals in unconditional athleticism that too with elegance.
This elegance is at its peak with the most powerful trademark, of being an Audi Singleframe that features a matte aluminium look frame. The strength in exterior design is at par with ahigh-gloss black honeycomb grid. The RS model supports bumpers that come with large side air intakes and integrated flaps. The uniqueness of RS 7 model is outlined by dark-tinted surrounds that back optional LED headlights. Dynamic and self-assured appearance is furthermore emphasized by tornado line sets that come with distinctive widened sills.
RS 7 Sportback supports dual-branch design trims for better acoustic experience with its exhaust system. Mirror housings and slide-and-tilt glass sunroofadd to some RS specific touches. Some additional features include Matrix LED headlight, ambient lighting and light/rain sensor. The wheels are of cast aluminium that come in 5-spoke blade design; which sports high-gloss, matte titanium look.
The company’s obsession to be perfect reflects in the interiors that were given a lot of attention to every little detail. The seats are cushy and covered with alcantara leather with diamond stitching and also has the RS7 logo. The heads up display spreads on the windshield and gives all the possible assistance for navigating. A rear view camera helps in cornering and adjusting the vehicle while parking. An alert notification by Audi side assist system helps in acknowledging the unnoticed vehicles. Furthermore, The whole interior looks stunning and feels luxurious with sharp and custom designed parts. Starting with the fabrications, there is a multifunctional sports steering wheel, which is enabled with gears that can be changed manually and is covered with leather. The multimedia interface has touch screen capacity that makes the functions to be handled effortlessly. The inside rear view mirror is provided with an automatically dimming mechanism. There is ample lighting in the cabin along with a package of multiple light functions. To compliment the look, even the pedals are layered in aluminum. The door openers are in a double-bar design and the inlays are a mix of carbon and fibre. The rear seats are provided as two separate seats that could stand as a like factor for those who are specifically expecting such a feature.
Fully loaded with comfort features, this Sportback has been generous in providing all that one could ask for in a cabin on wheels. The cruise control with speed limit function helps immensely in giving a better drive control, while its display can be seen on the instrument cluster. The 4-way lumbar support to the seating is a blessing for the occupants. The driver information system is offered in a color display. Then, there is the 4-zone automatic air conditioning unit that gives an advanced regulation to the cabin temperature. The radio remote control adds to the list of automated functions. The parking job is made flawless by aiding with a rear view camera and a parking brake auto release function. The handling is made better by offering a responsive power steering wheel that can be adjusted. The infotainment section consists of an MMI that supports advanced navigation system as well. The Audi music interface along with Bose surround sound distributes the audio evenly and has a fantastic deliverance of sound. There is Bluetooth connectivity available and also a heads up display, which shows up on the windscreen. As a standard feature, there is an Audi pre sense display that helps in alerting or adjusting to all the calculated possible risks.
The RS7 is limited by default to a top speed of 250kph, and you can have that raised to 280kph or a ridiculous 305kph with a performance pack. Since exercising these limits would require the main straight of the Buddh International Circuit (which we don’t have with us today), let’s focus on what it’s like in more everyday conditions. There are no mechanical changes on this facelift, so you still get the same ferocious 4.0-litre, twin-turbocharged, direct-injection V8 that produces 553bhp and 71.38kgm and will haul two tonnes worth of Audi to 100kph in just 3.9 seconds. The power delivery is pleasingly urgent for a turbocharged engine, at least in Dynamic mode – there’s barely a hint of hesitation before it launches you at the horizon. Part of that, of course, is down to the quick-shifting ZF eight-speed gearbox.
In fact, it’s this gearbox that sets the tone for the RS7’s dual, luxury-sportscar personality. While most performance cars have switched over to dual-clutch setups (Audi’s own R8 included), this car sticks with a good old fashioned, eight-speed torque converter that’s related to the one in the A8 limo. So, while it’s quick to react and swap cogs (it only starts to falter slightly when you’re really hammering it), it’s perfectly civilised in Comfort mode. It’s the same for the ride, despite those optional 21-inch wheels and low-profile tyres (never thought we’d recommend 20-inch wheels as the sensible option). Yes, it’s firm and a little skittish over bumps, especially in Dynamic, but so far from what you’d call uncomfortable.The engine too, in Dynamic with the gearbox in ‘S’, likes to keep the revs high for the best responses, but here too, it’s not as if it’s undriveable at low speeds. Of course, the correct thing to do at low speeds is use Comfort mode, in which case it’s downright docile at part throttle. And with the combination of engine stop-start and cylinder deactivation, you could probably manage some pretty conventional fuel economy figures – provided you’re very gentle with the throttle, of course.
DRIVING DYNAMICS ;
Being equipped with quattro, power is channeled smoothly at all times, no wheelspins, no drama and even if you are very aggressive on the throttle, the Audi RS7 behaves itself. The massive 275/35/20 sized tyres offer leech like grip and you can enter corners at insane speeds and come out on the other side without wetting your pants. But the massive rims also mean you have to be supremely careful on Indian roads which throw out a big bump or two unannounced.
Ride quality is very good by the low profile tyres standard. Ground clearance is low but we did not face any issues with the underbelly although to be brutally honest, we were super careful over speed bumps. The RS7 has good body control but it isn’t a sharp handler due to the heavy two tonnes of weight it carries. The steering has good feedback but isn’t the sharpest and lacks a bit of feel. Understeer kicks in when you corner very hard and the RS7 doesn’t wag its tail out. The carbon ceramic brakes result in stupendous stopping power.
SAFETY FEATURES ;
Efficient safety measures such as full-size airbags and effective start-stop system have been incorporated. There is Electronic Stabilisation Control (ESC) which networks the ABD, EBD, ASR and EDL. Also, there is tyre pressure monitor display.The car comes equipped with a Bang and Olufsen audio system, start/stop function, a heads-up display, night vision assistance and and adaptive cruise control. In addition, it has rear dual-zone air conditioner, a sunroof, power assisted door closing (in case any door remains half open) and an automatically opening boot lid. In terms of safety, the car comes equipped with eight airbags, ABS with EBD and ASR (Anti-Slip Regulation)
This is a segment that promises everything. The practicality of four doors combine with the good looks of sweptback rooflines, while high technology and world-class comfort pair up with breathtaking speed. Anyone willing to spend this kind of coin on a car is simply unwilling to compromise, no matter the situation.With that in mind, how does the RS 7 Sportback Performance stack up? With over 600 horsepower on tap, the Audi has the muscle, while the adjustable suspension finds a happy balance between refinement and cornering prowess. You’ll also find options like ceramic brakes to gain an edge come Sunday. Inside, Audi brings top-shelf materials and the latest techno gadgetry.All in all, things are as they should be. So why would you pick the Audi over the BMW or Mercedes?
In a word – maturity. While the BMW and Mercedes announce their presence with showy styling and faster-than-you attitude, the Audi brings a uniquely restrained confidence. On most days, it’ll easily cruise to your destination with discretion. But dig into the loud pedal, and it’s all sound and fury.