What is it?
The Audi RS7 is essentially a Sportback-style go-faster model, it’s got a similar setup underneath to the RS6 but takes a more focused approach to styling instead.
You could argue that the RS7 has the true spirit of a cross-continent performance car with its powerful engine, comfortable interior and smart looks - but what else does it offer? We’ve been finding out.
As we’ve mentioned, the RS7 does have quite a lot in common with the estate RS6. A recent update for both cars brought more power - not that it needed it, in truth - while a new mild-hybrid system was equipped to make the RS7 a little more economical to drive.
The interior was given a slight remodel with more technology while the exterior gained a full RS-specific bodykit in the update as well. Against the ‘standard’ A7 the RS7 is noticeably more eye-catching and has a whole lot of presence thanks to its flared arches and deep front splitter.
What’s under the bonnet?
The RS7 has some serious firepower to weigh into battle with. Underneath the bonnet sits a 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 producing 592bhp and 800Nm of torque, sent to all four wheels through Audi’s famous quattro all-wheel-drive system. When combined, you get 0-60mph in just 3.4 seconds and onwards to a top speed of 155mph, or 174 in some models fitted with an optional raised top speed.
You get an eight-speed automatic transmission, too, while that aforementioned mild-hybrid system allows the start-stop system to cut in more frequently. It also means that the RS7 can ‘glide’, or coast without the engine running at speeds of up to 99.4mph. Audi claims a combined consumption figure of 22.2mpg, too, alongside CO2 emissions of 261g/km.
What’s it like to drive?
On occasions, the RS7 feels more like an engine which happens to have the rest of a car strapped to it. The V8 under the bonnet completely dominates the driving experience, allowing the RS7 to hurtle towards the horizon at a pace which seems completely alien in a car of this size and shape.
It’s more agile through the bends than you might think, mind you, with the quattro all-wheel-drive system giving the car plenty of traction through the bends. However, when you’re not moving quickly, the RS7 is very refined and quiet while on the motorway it settles into a very comfortable cruise.
How does it look?
The RS7 has absolutely boatloads of presence, with its large front grille and seriously boxy wheel arches contributing towards a car which turns heads wherever it goes. It’s 34mm wider at the front and 25mm wider at the rear compared with the standard A7 - and 20mm lower, too - so it’s got a noticeable difference in look and feel to the normal car upon which it is based.
The tapered roofline is a key characteristic of this performance Sportback, adding some drama to the rear half of the car. Sure, it might not be quite as practical as the estate RS6, but it’s got more than enough visual presence to match it.
What’s it like inside?
From front to rear, the cabin of the RS7 feels special and well put together. Of course, you’ve got all of the top-end tech that befits a range-topping model, but it’s the fit and finish which really puts the RS7 above the rest. Everything is solidly put together and that means it all feels built to last.
There’s plenty of space inside, too, though the sloping roofline might mean taller passengers feel a touch squeezed in. At 535 litres, the RS7’s boot is plenty large enough for a weekend away or a big trip to the shops.
What’s the spec like?
There’s plenty of technology on board the RS7 to keep even the most avid of button-pressers happy. There’s the clever dual-screen setup for the infotainment system - with the top one managing media and navigation and the lower one dealing with heating - which is both easy to use and responsive as well.
The HD Matrix headlights which come on the RS7 as standard are superb, too, and provide huge levels of illumination - particularly handy during the darker times of the year in the UK.
Though you could argue that the RS6 casts a shadow over the RS7, this isn’t a car to be dismissed. It’s comfortable yet powerful and feels well-made both inside and out. On-board technology levels are great, too.
You have, of course, got one of the best engines in the business to fall back on too. When you combine all of these aspects, you have yourself one impressive all-rounder.