TEST DRIVE | 2015 Audi RS7
Audi’s stable of good looking cars has been steadily growing over the last few years. The A7 added to the line up with its long graceful lines when it was launched back in late 2010. The S7 was then launched soon after which gave substance to the A7’s style.
If the low-selling S7 doesn’t have enough welly then this new RS7 gives 560hp and 700Nm of torque. It’s hard to imagine whether Audi can screw much more power from a 4.0-litre engine.
Every time a new Mercedes E-Class AMG or BMW M5 is announced, it is infinitely crazier than the competition’s latest offering. Better in looks, strength, capability and tech. Where will it end?! Well I can’t imagine what sort of monster will be produced by Mercedes and BMW to match this RS7 which currently sits at the top of the tree.
Unlike the RS6 which uses different wings and rear doors to the A6, the RS7’s front bumper, rear bumper and diffuser plus exhausts are the only styling giveaways different to the standard A7. Not that you would mistake the RS7 for the A7, because the RS7 looks super-menacing with its smoked headlights, tail lights and big air dams each side of the front bumper.
What’s it like to drive? Well the power is as always delivered precisely to the tyres thanks to the Quattro system. It gets to 60mph in 3.9 seconds – that’s faster than an R8 V8. The 4.0-litre TFSI engine is paired to an 8-speed automatic instead of a more sophisticated dual-clutch gearbox simply because Audi doesn’t have one that can handle this much grunt. The previous V12-powered Mercedes S65 AMG only had a five-speed auto box for the same reason.
The infinite grip, air suspension and little required steering input made it very easy to flow through the tight winding corners of North Wales where I drove it. If you want to just cruise along, then the engine will cut half its cylinders and turn into a V4 to save fuel. Ease your foot down and the full force of the V8 comes back, coupled to a simply beautiful exhaust note. Audi have worked wonders with this engine and the exhaust – it’s exactly the same in the new S8 and Bentley Continental GT which uses the same unit.
Inside there are deep sport seats, new gauges with an RS7 logo, and a sport steering wheel. There’s a new RS7 menu within the driver information display that shows turbo boost pressures, oil temperature, and even includes a lap timer should you choose to take it around a track.
To summarise, the RS7 is insanely quick. On my drive through North Wales, it was very easy to completely disregard the road’s speed limit. At speed, the power delivery almost feels Bentley and W12-like in its smoothness. At 80 mph, this beastly engine is only revving at 2000rpm.
Audi sticks its RS badge to only a handful of cars in the company’s arsenal—machines developed and at least partially hand-assembled in Neckarsulm, Germany, by Quattro GmbH—the company’s performance division. What makes the RS cars really cool is their rarity and the excitement I get when seeing one on the road. Unlike the cars from AMG or M, Audi’s RS modifications are not available on many models. You can easily spec one to over £100,000 with some tasty options but you are buying a lot of exclusively.
The RS7 delivers an incredible blend of supercar speed, luxury, and everyday comfort and wraps it in sleek, understated bodywork. It’s a formula that’s sure to provide stiff competition for Audi’s rivals.