This is why Audi dropped the RS6 powerplant under the hood of the A7 and the result is the RS7 Sportback.
The RS7 is 40 mm (1.6 inches) wider than its non-RS sibling, the A7 Sportback. Actually, only the hood, the front doors, and the tailgate are the same body panels. Every other part is different and the total length now sits at 5 meters (197.2 in).
Upfront, over the redesigned front bumper, we can standard LED headlights, which can be improved with a pair of RS matrix laser headlights, with dark bezels. Of course, the taillights are also full-LED. At the rear, under the redesigned bumper, there is one oval exhaust tip on each side, marking the sporty character of the RS7. The rear spoiler installed on the tailgate raises up automatically above 100 kph (62 mph), or can be moved up or down from a touch of a button.
The engine is the same 4.0-liter V8 from the RS6 Avant and offers a mild-hybrid system with a belt-driven starter generator. The total output is 600 hp and 800 Nm (590 lb-ft) of torque. The energy is sent to the all-wheel-drive system via an 8-speed automatic gearbox. The traction is based on a fully mechanical center differential, which sends torque to the front and rear axles spread in a 40:60 ratio. The 0 to 100 kph (0-62 mph) sprint is completed in 3.6 seconds, and the top speed is 305 kph (189.5 mph).
VIDEO: Is This the Fastest Audi RS7 Sportback in the World?
The Audi RS7 Sportback is a seriously quick car. Its 4.0 liter twin-turbo V8 makes 591 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque, which by our maths is 600 for both. That helps it get from 0-60 mph in the mid-three-second range, while also being able to shuttle five adults and some luggage. In other words, no one has ever driven the RS7 and thought “it’s good but it needs more power…”
However, more power is exactly what this example got, from Power Division, a tuning team inside Italian tuning company Magic Motorsport. Thanks to two LM990 Ladermanufaktur hybrid turbos, a custom Power Division intercooler, MG Motorsport exhaust with Power Division downpipe, and obviously an engine tune, this Audi RS7 Sportback makes a mega 1,050 horsepower and 885 lb-ft (1,200 Nm) of torque.
In this new video from Auditography, we get to see just how fast it is. According to the video, this tuned Audi RS7 Sportback can get from 0-62 mph (100 km/h) in a ridiculous 2.48 seconds. That’s Porsche Taycan Turbo S fast. What’s even crazier is that it can get from 62-124 mph (100-200 km/h) in just 4.63 seconds. Total that up and this RS7 can reach 124 mph in a 7.11 seconds. For context, that’s faster than my B6 Audi A4 can reach 60 mph.
While the car in the video sounds good, it doesn’t sound great. That’s not a knock on either the car or the tune, just the nature of heavily turbocharged engines. They never sound great, with two big turbos muting the exhaust gasses. There are also a ton of tuned-in pops and bangs on the exhaust which, if you know me, I don’t think sound very good. That’s just me, though.
You don’t get this sort of tune for the exhaust noise, though. You get it because you want to have the fastest Audi RS7 Sportback in the world. Can this very car make such a claim? I can’t be certain, there’s no way of knowing if there’s actually a faster car out there, or if this one can even back up its claimed times, without getting some officially timed runs at a drag strip. However, with 1,050 horsepower, it’s bound to be bonkers fast either way.
I've been in love with cars since I was a kid, specifically German cars. Now I get to drive them talk about them on the internet.All postsQuattroDailyBMWBLOG
The 2022 Audi RS7 is a super-high-performance hatchback that's as audacious as it is luxurious. Puzzled how something so sexy and powerful shares a body style with something as dorky and feeble as a Chevy Spark? Well, as with the A7 and S7 variants that the RS7 is based on, Audi bookends these sleek four-doors with a hatch for added practicality. However, the RS6 Avant wagon is cheaper and roomier. Still, with haunches this broad and a twin-turbo V-8 boasting 591 horsepower, getting noticed and going fast are the RS7's primary objectives. While its explosive thrust causes passengers to involuntarily cuss, and its sharp handling inspires the driver to smile, the hottest of hatches never feels unruly or raw. Instead, its interior exudes expensiveness, pampering riders with rich trappings and ritzy features. As a result, the premium-priced 2022 RS7 is a rapid expression of both driving enthusiasm and wealth.
What's New for 2022?
For 2022, Audi further promotes the RS7's sporty status with a new RS Design package that adds unique floor mats, black seatbelts with a red or gray border, and more microsuede surfaces throughout the cabin, including on the new flat-bottomed steering wheel. Plus, the interior now comes standard with carbon-fiber-look trim. The RS7's suspension can be enhanced with Dynamic Ride Control, which is said to reduce body roll in corners and improve handling.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
Audi makes this easy because there's only one RS7 to choose from and it comes extremely well-equipped with things such as all-wheel drive, four-wheel steering, and an adjustable air suspension system. For maximum madness, consider the Black Optics package which adds darkened exterior trim and giant 22-inch wheels with summer performance tires. To unlock the V-8's best soundtrack we'd also opt for the sport exhaust.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Power comes from a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 that pairs with a 48-volt hybrid system, eight-speed automatic transmission, and Quattro all-wheel drive. All this tech makes the RS7 heavier than the last generation model, which made as much as 605 horsepower. Still, with 591 horses and 590 pound-feet of torque, the RS7 we tested rocketed to 60 mph in just 3.0 seconds. Want a slightly stronger dose of "holy s**t" acceleration? Try the 617-hp BMW M5 Competition or 603-hp Mercedes-AMC E63 S sedan; both reach 60 mph in 2.9 ticks. The RS7 rides on an air suspension with adaptive settings for varying levels of stiffness. However, it felt refined regardless of the drive mode, and even rolling on our tester's 22-inch rims (21s are standard). It's also rewarding to bend into corners thanks to the poised chassis and the added agility of its standard rear-wheel-steering system. Crazy quick and unerringly comfortable are accurate descriptors of its driving personality. Despite not opting for the carbon-ceramic brakes, which allow its top speed to be increased from 155 to 190 mph, the standard stoppers hauled our nearly 5000-pound four-door down from 70 mph in an impressive 151 feet.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The powerful, albeit thirsty, RS7 is expected to earn 15 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway. We ran it on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy route, which is part of our extensive testing regimen, and it returned 23 mpg in the real world. For more information about the RS7's fuel economy, visit the EPA's website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
While the RS model shares an interior design and passenger space with the regular A7, it also has some exclusive details and intriguing options. Of course, the sturdy build quality and upscale materials are immediately recognizable. Still, the RS7's cabin is adorned with trim-specific logos and other unique accents. The standard front sport seats have nice leather upholstery but can be reskinned with upgraded leather and ventilated cushions. Its back seat can fit two or three people, depending on the chosen seat configuration, and its cargo area offers 19 cubic feet of space with the rear seats in use and 49 cubic feet with the rear seats folded.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Every RS7 is equipped with a snazzy infotainment system that operates via two touchscreens that seamlessly blend into the upper dashboard and flowing center console. Unfortunately, the climate controls and other settings that must be manipulated through the lower screen can pull the driver's eyes off of the road. To avoid this distraction, Audi's voice-recognition software comes in handy. Along with the robust navigation system that appears in the upper screen, and that can be expanded in the fully digital gauge cluster, the RS7 comes with standard Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, wireless charging, and a subscription-based Wi-Fi hotspot. The top option is a pricey Bang & Olufsen stereo that pumps 1820 watts through 19 speakers.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Apart from some basic active safety tech, Audi offers a suite of more advanced equipment as part of the Driver Assistance package. There's also a standalone option for night vision that provides large animal-and-pedestrian detection. For more information about the RS7's crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking
- Available blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert
- Available adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Audi protects its products with a warranty plan that only falls short of premium competitors in terms of its complimentary maintenance, which is shorter than rivals such as BMW and Jaguar.
- Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Complimentary maintenance is covered for one year or 10,000 miles
2021 Audi RS7 Sportback
front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 4-passenger, 4-door hatchback
PRICE AS TESTED
$125,140 (base price: $115,045)
twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 32-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection
244 in3, 3996 cm3
591 hp @ 6250 rpm
590 lb-ft @ 2050 rpm
Suspension (F/R): multilink/multilink
Brakes (F/R): 16.5-in vented, cross-drilled disc/14.6-in vented, cross-drilled disc
Tires: Pirelli P Zero PZ4, 285/30R-22 (101Y) AO
Wheelbase: 115.3 in
Length: 197.2 in
Width: 76.8 in
Height: 56.1 in
Passenger volume: 95 ft3
Cargo volume: 25 ft3
Curb weight: 4947 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 3.0 sec
100 mph: 7.6 sec
130 mph: 12.9 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 4.2 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 2.5 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 3.0 sec
1/4 mile: 11.3 sec @ 122 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 155 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 151 ft
Braking, 100–0 mph: 302 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.95 g
Standing-start accel times omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 14 mpg
75-mph highway driving: 23 mpg
Highway range: 440 miles
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/city/highway: 17/15/22 mpg
C/D TESTING EXPLAINED
More Features and Specs
Horsepower 2019 rs7
12/10/2018: 2019 Audi RS7 Sportback caught during cold winter testing
06/19/2018: 2019 Audi RS7 Testing on the Track
Last time we saw the RS7 putting in work, it was doing so in the snow, wearing everything to suggest that it was just an A7. This time around, however, we spotted engineers playing on the track. While it is still wearing an A7 badge, including a “55 TSFI” model designation, it’s wearing a completely different front fascia. It does have the same rear fascia, however, it’s sporting what appears to be an active rear spoiler, further hinting at its real purpose in life. It also has the larger wheels, bigger brakes, and – according to our photographer, a pretty mean sound from the dual exhaust outlets in the rear.
As far as the front fascia is concerned, the old A7 fascia is out with something new in its place. The air dam may or may not carry over from the standard model, but the camo here makes it look rectangular instead of it tapering off in points at the bottom. The corner air intakes are quite interesting, with camo giving them a triangular appearance. I wouldn’t hold my breath expecting them to carry over into production like this as they are simply larger, more pronounced holes compared to the standard model. The 55 TSFI signifies that it is rocking somewhere between 328 and 368 horsepower, but it should actually deliver somewhere between 570 and 630 horsepower, with the latter figure coming into play for models equipped with the performance package. On that note, if it really does go hybrid, a figure closer to 700 horsepower isn’t out of the question either. Pretty cool, huh?
2019 Audi RS7 Sportback Exterior Styling
- Five-door body style
- Similar styling as the new A7
- Extra performance cues
- Larger intakes
- Sharper frontend
- Black honeycomb grille mesh
- LED illumination, optional laser headlights
- Massive fender flares
- Wheel options in 20- and 21-inch diameters
- Large rear diffuser
- Oval exhaust tips
- Blacked-out trim
- Carbon fiber bits
The front bumper should come with wider intakes, sharp headlight housings, and a more pronounced aero setup.
Like the standard A7, the RS7 Sportback is a midsize luxury entry that comes equipped with five doors, including four for passengers and a rear hatch for cargo duties. If you think about it, it’s kind of a weird niche, but considering the seemingly unending popularity of the SUV segment, not to mention the declining popularity of sedan, it definitely starts to makes sense to mesh the two a bit. And hey - folks seem to like it, so why not?
While we already know what the standard A7 will look like following its debut last year, we can expect the upcoming RS7 Sportback to get all the traditional performance styling cues.
Kicking things off will be a select number of updates to the front bumper, with wider intakes, sharp headlight housings, and a more pronounced aero setup. Standard appointment will include LEDs for the forward illumination, while laser headlight elements should be optional. The RS7 will also come with a black honeycomb mesh insert for the front grille, as opposed to the horizontal bars seen on the standard A7 model.
Moving to the sides, we’ll find massively flared-out fenders. These will be even more pronounced than those seen on the standard A7, as previewed on this tester model. The profile view will also reveal the RS7’s coupe-like roofline and more aggressive side skirts. Large wheels will take up residence in the corners, measuring in between 20 and 21 inches in diameter and constructed from forged aluminum.
Details will include dark-colored trim to give the model a more menacing appearance.
Finally, in the rear, the RS7 Sportback will utilize oval exhaust tips for the flourish. Framing the polished finishers will be an updated rear bumper, which will come complete with a large diffuser element. High on the trunk will be a standard adaptive rear spoiler, rising and falling for either more rear-end grip or greater aero efficiency as the situation may warrant. LEDs will be used with the taillight housings, which will be reshaped into sharper, thinner units compared to the outgoing model, stretching from fender to fender in a single unbroken strip.
Details will include a set of “quattro” logos added wherever appropriate, as well as dark-colored trim to give the model a more menacing appearance.
Customization will be offered with additional carbon and blacked-out trim bits, while the Performance model will add carbon elements to the front spoiler, rear diffuser, and exterior side mirrors as standard.
2019 Audi RS7 Sportback Interior Design
- Similar in design and layout as standard A7
- Lots of digital displays
- Fewer hard buttons
- Flat-bottom steering wheel wrapped in leather
- Sport seats with large side bolsters
- Audi Virtual Cockpit gauges
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard
- 4G LTE Wi-Fi
- Advanced driver’s assists
- Leather, Alcantara, aluminum, carbon fiber
- Enhanced rear cargo room
Note: 2019 Audi A7 interior pictured here.
Just behind the steering wheel will be an all-digital gauge cluster, otherwise known as the Audi Virtual Cockpit.
Much like the exterior, the 2019 RS7 will base its exterior on the redesigned A7. Standout design features include a horizontal, geometric layout, with hard angles and lines creating a high-tech vibe throughout. HVAC vents along the upper portion of the dash will sit above a double-decker of digital readouts in the center stack, with a wide central tunnel providing additional control support with a few hard buttons, not to mention the transmission shifter.
To this starting canvas, the RS7 Sportback will upgrade with a slew of performance-oriented cues, starting with a new flat-bottom steering wheel rocking three spokes and a few hard buttons placed at thumb’s length at the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock positions. Also expect to find sporty seats up front to hold passengers in place while exploring the limits of grip.
Just behind the steering wheel will be an all-digital gauge cluster, otherwise known as the Audi Virtual Cockpit, providing a customizable interface for the usual driver’s info (road speed, engine rpm, coolant temps, etc.), as well as turn-by-turn navigation and a map.
Further infotainment features will include an integrated smartphone interface with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, while above the steering wheel, a standard heads-up display will relay additional info directly onto the windshield. Voice control and handwriting recognition round out the inputs.
A 4G LTE Wi-Fi will keep you connected, while Google Earth will be used with the digital display to provide detailed map images. Weather and traffic info will also be readily available, and for those audiophiles out there, Bang & Olufsen will provide the tunes.
Another key highlight will be Audi’s autonomous and semi-autonomous driver assist package.
Another key highlight will be Audi’s autonomous and semi-autonomous driver assist package, which will include features such as adaptive cruise control with a stop and go feature, active lane assist, Audi pre sense plus with high beam assist, and more. Additional driver’s assist features will be offered as an optional upgrade as well.
In terms of materials, the interior will come with aluminum, carbon fiber, and glossy black bits, not to mention leather and Alcantara upholstery throughout. Honeycomb stitching will add a splash of extra top-shelf feel.
And of course, being a liftback, look for enhanced rear cargo room in the rear. Maximum passenger capacity will be set at four.
2019 Audi RS7 Sportback Drivetrain And Performance
- All-new twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 powerplant
- As much as 650 horsepower and 600 pound-feet
- 0 to 60 mph in about 3.5 seconds
- Possible 700-horsepower hybrid powerplant
- Top speed approaching 195 mph
- Eight-speed automatic transmission
- AWD as standard
- Enormous brakes, optional carbon ceramics
- Option Sport Differential
Under the hood, the RS7 is rumored to equip a turbo 4.0-liter V-8 gas-burner, something that might be shared with the new Bentley Continental GT.
Let’s just jump straight to the most important news here - under the hood, the 2019 RS7 Sportback is rumored to equip an all-new twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 gas-burner. It’s a stout powerplant, no doubt about it, and it’s believed Volkswagen will use it with the new Bentley Continental GT as well.
Mounted in the RS7, peak output could come to as much as 650 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque, besting the first-generation model by a considerable margin.
As a reference, the current RS7 gets 560 horsepower in standard trim and 605 horsepower with the Performance package, hitting 60 mph in 3.7 seconds in standard form and 3.6 seconds in the Performance trim.
Also, the standard A7 comes with a turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6, making as much 340 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. The run from 0 to 62 mph is completed in 5.3 seconds.
The boost to 650 horsepower in the RS7 is exciting, but even more exiting is the rumor that the next model might go hybrid with an even-faster e-tron version. Pulling technology from the Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid, the RS7 e-tron could pump out as much 700 horsepower, making for Audi’s first-ever high-performance hybrid plug-in model. Making that happen will be150 horsepower from a lithium-ion battery and electric motor combo, plus 550 horsepower from the internal-combustion engine.
Either way, we think a top speed of 180 mph in the standard model and 195 mph in the Performance model makes a lot of sense. The run from 0 to 62 mph will take less than 4 seconds, most likely slotting into the 3.5-second range, although the low 3-second range is definitely within the realm of possibility, especially with 700 friggin’ horsepower on tap.
Per usual, quattro AWD will come as standard, which is pretty much a necessity when making this much muscle. Routing it all will be an eight-speed S-tronic automatic transmission, also equipped as standard.
Check out what’s hiding under those wheels - positively mammoth brakes!
Handling the heft will be a standard air suspension set-up, which will likely ride quite hard to compensate for the RS7’s performance aspirations. Dynamic steering will help it turn with precision.
What’s more, check out what’s hiding under those wheels - positively mammoth brakes! From this tester, they appear to include drilled discs and six-pot calipers in front. We fully expect ceramic units to be included in the options list as well.
And of course, expect multiple drive modes onboard, which will affect the transmission shift response, suspension stiffness, steering response, throttle response, and other facets to give the RS7 either a more aggressive attitude, or a more laid-back demeanor.
Those looking to have the fastest version possible can get into the Dynamic Plus Package as part of the options list, as well as a Sport Differential for an even livelier experience when applying the throttle out of a corner.
2019 Audi RS7 Sportback Prices
Although Audi has obviously been tight-lipped about possible pricing, we expect the 2019 RS7 to be a bit more expensive than the current model. For now, the RS7 starts at $113,900, while upgrading to the Performance model will set you back an extra $16,800, starting at $130,700.
Look for an official debut some time later this year, possibly in October at the Paris Motor Show.
2019 Audi RS7 Sportback Competition
Mercedes-AMG CLS 63
While Audi has its RS models, Mercedes has AMG. Applying the old Affalterbach gloss to the CLS four-door coupe formula makes for quite a potent package, packing in as much as 577 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque thanks to a twin-turbo 5.5-liter V-8. Putting it all to the pavement is a seven-speed automatic transmission and 4Matic AWD system, while adaptive sport suspension helps it all turn and plus-sized brakes make it stop. Carbon, leather, and Alcantara are prevalent throughout the interior. Pricing starts at $131,895.
Read our full review on the 2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS.
BMW M6 GranCoupe
BMW’s M Division is also big in the whole four-door coupe segment, especially with the M6 GranCoupe. Highlights include as much as 560 horsepower and 500 pound-feet of torque thanks to a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8 powerplant nestled behind the kidney grille intakes. The style is aggressive and definitely doesn’t lack in curb appeal, while the interior is packed to the gills with leather and technology. A seven-speed automatic transmission sends the power to the drive wheels, while LEDs illuminate the road ahead. Pricing starts at $120,795.
Read our full review on the 2016 BMW M6.
Of course, we’re most interested to see what the brand decides to do with the engine package.
The 2019 RS7 Sportback is one of five new RS models Audi has lined up for release by 2020, and overall, it looks like it has what it needs to take on the Bimmer and Merc.
Of course, we’re most interested to see what the brand decides to do with the engine package. If Audi does indeed decide to source the Panamera’s hybrid powerplant for as much as 700 horsepower, the RS7 could be the model to beat in this segment.
Stay tuned, because we’re likely to get more information on this one in the next few months.
- Liftback body looks quite good
- Luxury and performance in one tight package
- Possibly with as much as 700 hybrid horsepower!
- Heavy curb weight hurts handling
- Likely a very stiff ride
- Possible modest price increase
Read our full review on the 2019 Audi A7.
Read our full review on the 2016 Audi RS7.
Update 06/19/2018: The Audi RS7, pretending to be an A7, was caught testing on the track, with a look of intent to debut sometime in the very near future. Check it out, along with what we can spot, in the spy shots section below!
The next-generation Audi A7 in its standard configuration won’t be unveiled until the end of the year, but details are already emerging about the hotter members of the Sportback family. After learning about the possibility of a diesel-powered S7 model, a new report has now emerged about the range-topping RS7 set to be offered in two different states of tune.
In an interview with Evo magazine, Audi’s chief designer, Marc Lichte, revealed the flagship model of the A7 lineup is going to be launched towards the end of next year. When it will arrive, buyers will be given the opportunity to pick from a standard RS7 version and a beefier specification blessed with a punchy hybrid powertrain. While the regular RS-badged Sportback is going to get a biturbo 4.0-liter V8 engine with approximately 650 horsepower and almost 600 pound-feet (813 Newton-meters) of torque, the partially electrified RS7 will up the power ante to about 700 hp thanks to a hybrid setup derived from the Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid.
If that nice and round output number will pan out, it means the strongest RS7 of them all will actually have an extra 20 hp compared to the Porsche model from where it will inherit the hybridized powertrain. The combustion engine – a biturbo 4.0-liter V8 - is said to have about 550 hp like in the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid, with the remaining 150 hp to come from the electric motor.
There’s no word about performances just yet, but it goes without saying it will be seriously quick considering the Porsche does 0-62 mph (0-100 kph) in 3.4 seconds and tops out at 192 mph (310 kph) when fitted with the optional Sport Chrono Package.
Meanwhile, expect the standard Audi A7 Sportback to debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show at the beginning of December. The S7 might be unveiled as early as March 2018 in Geneva, with the crown jewel RS7 likely slated for a debut in the second half of next year.
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2020 Audi RS7 First Drive: A Fearsome, High-Tech Hellsled
Capable of high speed and great delicacy, but does it make it sense for our era?Audi RS 7 Full Overview
ABSTEINACH, Germany—The interlopers moving into the autobahn's left lane before our blinding-red, blazing-fast 2020 Audi RS7 Sportback were either brave or daft. As we closed in, the RS7 surely blipped into view in that car's mirror like the object Apollo 17 commander Gene Cernan sighted in space. "I don't know whether that does you any good," the astronaut told Mission Control at the time, "but there's something out there."
At 120 mph, the RS7 is something, all right—and at that speed, the supersedan is only running at two-thirds of its potential (top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph, but an optional package raises that to 189). Inside of the red missile, I enjoyed a nice conversation with my co-driver while the scenery blurred by. Rather than crowding the slower, lane-insensitive car that had pulled out in front of us on this get-up-and-go section of the A4, I opted to leave a big cushion and touched the brake pedal, finding the mighty brakes (10-piston calipers up front squeezing 16.5-inch rotors as standard, or optional 17.3-inch carbon-ceramic pieces) are capable of delicacy, too. Tapping the brakes smoothly shaved off a third of the RS7's speed without pitching occupants' heads forward.
About that speed: We were hastening to a luncheon meeting at Das Hardberg, a vacation rental on the Steinach River's upper reaches in Odenwald, the UNESCO Geopark of 3,500 square kilometers (about 1,350 miles) between the Rhine, Main, and Neckar rivers in southwestern Germany. The geopark has a slogan, surely one thought up by someone with rocks in their head: "Between granite and sandstone." Village locals had slogans of their own on wall placards: "No Wind Park in Odenwald!" A few bladed turbines fanned on the ridge, part of a grand scheme to achieve 100-percent renewable energy for the whole district.
Like the RS7 Sportback, these anti-renewable citizens are being surrounded by opposite forces. In fact, it's a curious time in Germany for a vehicle such as the Audi. This year in Berlin, anarchists have torched more than 300 powerful, luxurious vehicles and SUVs. Activists around the country advocate restricting SUVs in cities. Hostility to internal combustion is on the rise, and Lärmempfindlichkeit, the sensitivity to noise, is leading to new restrictions. So Audi isn't alone in suppressing exhaust-note boisterousness; it's just too bad that, as a result, the RS7 sounded like it had its head in the toilet after a long Biergarten night chased down with schnapps.
Americans are so lucky. The RS7 we'll get next summer isn't as tainted by greenie activism and will issue a more robust report from its huge tailpipes. The sound will even be adjustable via Audi Drive Select; go for a sportier drive mode, and you'll be rewarded with a louder exhaust. The tradeoff, for those who care about steering-wheel shape, is that the U.S.-spec will have a fully round steering wheel rather than a flat-bottom unit. It'll come with a perforated leather wrap and, glory of glories, internal heating. A sunroof will be standard, too.
The rest of the second-generation RS7 will be as we drove it in Germany, right down to the twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8. Producing 591 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 590 lb-ft of torque at 2,050 rpm, the V-8 is 40-hp stronger than the old RS7's. (It's also the engine that will power the RS6 Avant station wagon that finally will make it Stateside soon.) Credit the turbo compressor wheels, which are 3 millimeters (0.12 inch) larger, and boost pressure, which is up from 17.4 to 20.3 psi. A stop-start feature and cylinder deactivation abet the brute's efficiency, but miles-per-gallon figures in the mid-teens in city driving and mid-20s for highway travel won't keep the RS7 from inciting a frolic among radical greenies.
But wait, maybe you could show those environmentalists a thing or two. The RS7 Sportback is actually a mild hybrid. This means it is equipped with a 48-volt electrical system that includes a compact lithium-ion battery in the rear and water-cooled motor-generator (it also doubles as the starter) attached to the engine. The system recovers energy via the motor-generator that otherwise would be lost during braking, and uses it to power the vehicle at speeds under 13 mph and enable the car to coast for as long as 40 seconds with engine off.
An eight-speed torque-converter automatic transmission doles the power to all four wheels via Audi's Quattro all-wheel drive, the latter of which helps the RS7 tear from a rest to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds (according to Audi). Opt for the RS Dynamic package if you'd like the top speed governor relaxed from its standard 155-mph limit to 189.
The RS7 has monstrous capability, then, in spite of its two-and-a-quarter-ton weight (Audi claims 4452 pounds!). And even so, the new model is only slightly quicker than the first-gen car it replaces. It is, however, broader—much broader. As exterior designer Francesco D'Amore puts it, working on the car "was basically a dream, because we finally made it wider." He's referring to the '20 RS7's bulging bodywork and optional 22-inch wheels (21-inchers as standard), which push the car's width measurement to 76.8 inches, 1.6 inches wider than the regular A7 on which this RS version is based.
There is very little A7 left up front, at least. Although the hood and front doors carry over from the A7, the headlights are unique. "They're darker," D'Amore tells us, "so they have a little meaner look." The signature Audi single-frame grille is stuffed with an all-black honeycomb mesh insert that evokes Audi's racing heritage, and larger intakes flank its gaping abyss. The story is much the same in back, where the roof and decklid are standard A7 fare, but are joined new rear doors that were necessary to bridge the RS's blistered fenders. And of course there is that rear diffuser—which reprises the grille's mesh motif—and RS-specific bumper. The optional 22-inch wheels not only offer machined-face and contrasting colored elements (blue, gray, red, or black), but their surfaces are dimpled for a dynamic look that. Caught eyeing the wheels, D'Amore pointed out to us the obvious, which is that the treatment is expensive and requires careful machining.
Inside the cabin, we found a posh but not lush atmosphere that also emphasized Audi's tech-heavy image. The RS7 has the brand's latest MMI interface, which is touchscreen-based and does without a center-console controller. Despite a "flatter" menu structure Audi claims is simplified, the central display still distracted me, and even the configurable Virtual Cockpit was too much. The head-up display beamed onto the windshield, on the other hand, was very useful on my fast drive up along the Neckar River from Heidelberg and into the hills. It displayed key information while I paid close attention in the tight bends so as not to deflect a cyclist into the trees. Speaking of, you might want to deflect any potential fifth passengers when driving the RS7; though rated to hold five, the cabin more realistically accommodates four gentlepersons and a rear, center-mounted lhasa apso.
Bicyclists safe, we proceeded along our route in welcome serenity, interrupted only by the occasional skritching from the pads meeting the ceramic brake rotors. Optional rear-wheel steering, introduced in the A8, migrates to the RS7 Sportback. At low speed, the rear wheels turn up to five degrees in the opposite direction of the front wheels, shortening the turning radius by up to 3.3 feet. Beyond 60 mph, the rear wheels follow the angle of the fronts by up to two degrees, unobtrusively adding a stabilizing effect to high-speed lane changes.
Other RS tricks include an optional sport suspension with Dynamic Ride Control, which substitutes steel springs for the standard four-corner air springs and adds three-way dampers. Those dampers operate with extra damping from a clever oil line between diagonally opposite corners to quell chassis motions—no electronics needed! Audi Drive Select allows the choice of any of six modes, including two custom settings, to tailor nearly every aspect of powertrain and chassis performance as well as engine sound and even the air conditioning. On ever-narrower roads with low speed limits, the Auto setting worked fine and left a lingering sense of wonder at the suspension's smoothness.
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As we wended our way out of Odenwald after our lunch meeting, pears and apples ripened on trees and the September sun kissed the meadows and woods. The RS7 Sportback had proven impressive in its abundant and refined power delivery, pleasant ride, and cornucopia of features. Outrunning noise, fuel-economy, and speed restrictions and outmaneuvering anarchists in it is no problem. Partly, that's because even with its edgy flares and flukes, the RS7's design provokes no outrage; and at least in the cars we drove, the exhaust volume was subdued for speaking a 591-hp V-8's language . Nevertheless, as Audi presents the RS7 Sportback as the Summation of All We Know, does the fight against social forces militating against esoteric vehicular statements really need something this relatively incognito? We'd pick one of the many rides that are more visceral and less expensive for thumbing our noses at progress.
|2020 Audi RS7 Sportback Specifications|
|ON SALE||Summer 2020|
|BASE PRICE||$115,000 (est)|
|ENGINE||4.0L twin-turbo DOHC 32-valve V-8; 591 hp @ 6,000 rpm, 590 lb-ft @ 2,050 rpm|
|LAYOUT||4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, AWD hatchback|
|EPA MILEAGE||114/26 mpg (city/hwy, est)|
|L x W x H||197.2 x 76.7 x 56.0 in|
|0-60 MPH||3.3 sec (est)|
|TOP SPEED||155-189 mph|
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