The Audi RS7 Performance is the top version of the company's sleek A7 sportback. It gets the most powerful 4.0-liter V8 in the lineup and loads of space for cargo under the huge rear hatch.
Base Price: $130,450 As Tested: $136,975
Highlights: The RS7 Performance adds carbon ceramic brakes, a new sport suspension, a new front end treatment and unique tailpipes over the 'basic' RS7. It makes 516 lb-ft of torque to go along with its 605 hp, but with the overboost function drivers can get an extra 37 lb-ft for short amounts of time. The RS7 performance model sprints from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.6 seconds and reaches a top track speed of 190 mph.
Opinion: I like this car better than the S8 Plus I recently drove, and checking prices, it’s about 20 grand cheaper. It starts with the growl that was nowhere to be found in the S8. The RS7 rumbles on startup, and gets loud earlier in the rev range than the S8 does. It also snaps and pops on shifts, which the S8 doesn’t really do. It has the same blown V8 engine though, and the same output. It’s only about 100 pounds lighter.
The eight-speed automatic is near perfect, never getting hung up and never taking too long to drop a gear, or two. It’s nearly as fast as a dual clutch, but smoother at slow speeds.
A few years ago, we had an Audi S4 here at Autoweek for a long-term review. I said it could be your “one car.” It was fast, it handled well, it wasn’t overly stiff and it could fit ...
Taking off from a red light, there’s no skill involved. Just mat the throttle and hold on. There aren’t many cars that could beat the RS7 to the next traffic signal. Thrust continues until you hit the redline, which increases as the car gets up to operating temperature, something you’ll notice when it pop, pop, pops at about 7,000 rpm, letting you know it’s time to shift, 1.5 seconds ago.
The brakes are a little soft, but sensitive. At normal speeds you really just have to brush them to slow down; at higher speeds it takes more effort, obviously, but they haul the RS7 down with gusto.
The S8 is definitely a more luxurious choice than this RS7 -- it doesn’t have the massaging seats, though it does have the cool diamond stitching, and it looks a little sportier inside with blue stitching and carbon fiber trim.
As for the competition, I think I would take this over BMW 6 Grand Coupe, it’s only direct four-door-coupe-like-sedan competitor, and probably over the 7-Series and S-Class too, if I was looking for “sports.” If I was looking for luxury, then obviously the S-Class has that covered. But I’m looking for a car that’s light on luxury, heavy on the sports, and the RS7 fits the bill quite nicely.
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