Following the practical RS6, Audi’s go-faster division has repackaged that car’s phenomenal engine and Quattro drivetrain into the altogether more svelte A7. Offering a big boot, supreme luxury and space for four – and not to mention supercar-baiting performance, the RS7 could well be all the car you’ll ever need. Motors.co.uk took to the wheel to find out.
The A7 is Audi’s entrant in the growing premium four-door coupe market. Based on the A6 saloon, but offering more distinctive styling, it’s aimed at those who need the practicality of four doors, but who don’t want to sacrifice on style. The RS7 iterant tested here is Audi’s answer to the similarly powerful Mercedes CLS63 AMG and BMW M6 Gran Coupe, all of which offer extreme performance from turbocharged V8 petrol engines.
Shatteringly quick, but effortless with it. Where its rear-wheel-drive rivals need a degree of consideration before unleashing their full potential, the consummate grip summoned by Audi’s Quattro four-wheel-drive system means that not only can vast amounts of power be deployed without spinning the wheels, cornering is equally childs-play, with the RS7 following an unwavering line. However, if you’re looking for the last word in driver interaction, your money is better off elsewhere, as the car’s numb steering and sheer quantity of grip give little for keen drivers to rub themselves up against.
The RS7’s interior goes some way in justifying the car’s staggering list price. Every surface feels substantial and expensive and every switch and button operates with a millimetric precision we’ve come to expect from the brand. It also gets some model specific additions, such as a sports-steering wheel and some fantastically comfortable (and diamond quilted!) sports seats. A bewildering array of optional equipment is also available, including a night vision camera that can recognise pedestrians in the dark.
However, as high quality as the cabin ambience is, we can’t help but feel that more could have been done to alter the basic design and architecture, which is the same as that found in a £30,000 A6 saloon, and which looks quite plain in places.
Unlike its immediate rivals, the RS7 is fitted with a hatchback, making it very easy to load awkward and bulky items. At 535 litres, the boot is also larger than the load space offered in both the Mercedes and BMW. Fold the seats down (something you can’t do in the Merc) and this rises to a commodious 1390 litres.
Passengers are equally well catered for with ample lounging space both front and rear for four. There is also a fifth, small middle seat in the rear, though those sat there for any length will find themselves looking enviously at the superbly sculpted seats being enjoyed by fellow occupants.
As impressive as the RS7 is, it is hard to recommend as a real-world purchase. Opportunities to use its massive performance are few and far between, and will likely see you standing before a Magistrate should you get too liberal with the throttle. And while its Quattro four-wheel-drive system means ultimate stability and security, it robs the car of some of the playfulness exhibited by its BMW rival, a point that may put off keener drivers.
If you want a fast A7 that’s more suited to motoring in the UK, we would recommend the 3.0-litre Bi-TDI, as its torque-laden delivery makes it feel nearly as muscular as the RS7 at road speeds, but without delivering the sort of fuel economy that makes you quiver with fear every time your credit card bill lands on the doormat.
Don't want to buy new? You can browse for a used Audi A7 in our classifieds here.
Audi RS7 Sportback
List price: £83,495
Engine: 4.0-litre, eight cylinder, petrol, turbocharged
Top speed: 155mph (electronically limited)
0-62mph: 3.9 seconds
Fuel economy: 20.3mpg (urban), 37.7mpg (extra-urban) 28.8mpg (combined)
Emissions: 229g/km CO2
Euro NCAP rating: Not yet tested
November 27, 2013