Nearly each Audi to obtain an RS badge has been an overwhelmingly competent machine, delivering enviable ranges of energy, poise, tech and luxurious. That stated, not each one of many German automaker’s performance-branded fashions has managed to ship an aesthetic and visceral punch that matches their dynamic skills. Many — particularly the corporate’s four-door RS fashions — have as a substitute reservedly adhered to Teddy Roosevelt’s oft-quoted foreign-policy maxim, “Converse softly and carry an enormous stick.”
As you may see by the 2020 Audi RS7 Sportback pictured right here, that way more refined strategy is evidently lifeless and buried. In actual fact, one have a look at the entrance finish of this swoopy five-door grand tourer door means that not solely is that strategy lifeless and buried, it has been subsequently exhumed, pulverized to a fantastic powder after which combusted contained in the RS7’s fire-breathing, twin-turbo, Four.Zero-liter V8.
Whereas the outgoing RS7 coyly hinted at its energy with subtly reworked fascias, discreet badges and distinctive wheel patterns, the 2020 RS7 Sportback bellows about it. The brand new automobile is a broad-shouldered bully, sporting a radically completely different and altogether extra aggressive look due to its unique-to-RS widebody stance. In fact, the RS7 solely sports activities about 1.6 inches of additional width over its A7 and S7 siblings, however visually, it would as properly be a foot wider. The RS7 shares simply its hood, roof, entrance doorways and rear hatch with its siblings.
The RS7’s greatest look change is up entrance, the place it now brandishes a bezel-less, outsized, hexagonal honeycomb grille bookended by a pair of huge intakes that stretch upward towards the automobile’s glowering LED headlamps. In profile, the RS7’s trademark teardrop form boasts the aforementioned blistered fenders, together with model-specific facet sills and distinctive 21- or 22-inch alloy wheels. Out again, a outstanding rear diffuser has a bridge aspect that serves to emphasise the sewer-pipe-size oval exhaust finishers.
Even in shades apart from this tester’s tango pink, and with out our picture automobile’s optionally available black optic package deal, the RS7 lastly has the visible muscle to face as much as its Volkswagen Group kin, Porsche’s Panamera Turbo, in addition to rivals just like the Mercedes-AMG GT Four-Door and the forthcoming BMW M8 Gran Coupe. Some patrons could want the outgoing RS7’s extra reserved look, however Audi says house owners and cross-shoppers alike have been vocal in in search of extra visible aggression and larger differentiation from lesser familial fashions. iI’s laborious to fault that logic, particularly when the RS7 is prone to value round $50,000 greater than a base A7 ($68,000) when it arrives in sellers.
The RS7’s twin-turbo V8 whips up 592 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque.
Depraved V8 coronary heart
That snarling and taut new bodywork is not an empty promise. The RS7’s Four.Zero-liter, TFSI twin-turbo V8 produces 592 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque routed via an eight-speed paddle-shift automated transmission and rear-biased Quattro all-wheel drive. Apparently, the exiting RS7 Efficiency mannequin’s Four.Zero featured barely extra horsepower (605), however considerably much less torque — 553 lb-ft.
After all, there may very well be incrementally higher-performance RS7 fashions but to come back, however both means, it is awfully laborious to discover a place to deploy this type of firepower in public. Happily, I had a greater shot at than most, as on the take a look at drive occasion, Audi let me unfastened on each derestricted sections of Germany’s famed Autobahn in addition to on some surprisingly difficult mountain roads simply hours after the automobile debuted on the Frankfurt Motor Present.
Audi says the brand new RS7 Sportback will hit 62 mph in in three.6 seconds and energy on to a high velocity of at the least 155 mph (an optionally available Dynamic package deal relaxes the limiter out to 174 mph, and the full-whackadoo Dynamic Plus pack pushes that complete to 190 mph). If something, Audi could also be barely underselling this automobile’s acceleration. When the visitors clears, thrust from the V8 is speedy, linear and monstrous, with peak torque kicking in from simply 2,050 rpm. On speed-limit-free sections of the Autobahn, the RS7 is hilariously fast to attain velocities you’d in any other case solely discover on a racetrack, doing so with rock-solid stability and surprisingly little wind noise.
It is not simply the fuel engine making the magic occur, there are electrons at work, too. On the Frankfurt present, Audi’s Oliver Hoffman informed Roadshow, “Electrification is the muse of RS Sport sooner or later.” Because the managing director of Audi Sport and head of technical growth for Audi AG, he ought to know. To that finish, the RS7 and its RS6 Avant station wagon sibling are the primary RS fashions to make use of hybrid expertise. The automobiles borrow the identical 48-volt system from the A8 luxurious sedan, and the mild-hybrid tech additionally helps handle the automobile’s stop-start system and — on European fashions — allows the engine to close off beneath coasting.
That plunging roofline would not assist headroom, however damned if it would not look dashing.
Sharper than anticipated
I discussed mountain roads, and Audi’s routemeisters even put us on some tight ribbons of pavement that after upon a time doubled as an area hillclimb course. Given this Sportback’s not-insubstantial dimensions (197.2 inches lengthy, 76.eight vast), this was a very daring transfer, particularly as previous RS four-doors may really feel considerably unwieldy and liable to understeer on the restrict, the results of their engines hanging out over the entrance axle.
Certainly, I initially felt that very same (admittedly smart) reluctance to rotate the rear finish on my first and second tentative runs over these slim, serpentine and rutted sections. However after familiarizing myself with that very same stretch of highway, I dialed up Sport Plus on the Drive Choose toggle and attacked the route anew with larger dedication and velocity. The chassis responded sharply, sluicing its again finish round obediently and moderately dramatically, the automobile’s all-wheel steering and rear-biased energy supply combining to ship rear-wheel-drive-like dynamics. The automobile shrunk up round me in a means no four-door RS mannequin (save the tiny RS3) ever did. Previous RS7s may put up nice dealing with numbers thanks partly to their vast, sticky tires, however by no means beforehand delivered this degree of engagement and tossability.
Lively rear steering, which might run counter to the entrance wheels by as much as 5 levels at low speeds, helps the RS7 really feel like a foot or extra has been cleaved from its wheelbase. Audi says the system shaves three.three ft off the automobile’s turning circle, which must assist in tight confines. Nonetheless, it is the steering’s efficiency at velocity that sells me, when the rear wheels deflect as much as 2 levels in the identical part because the fronts to sharpen responses and enhance stability. I even discover even respectable highway really feel up via the tester’s RS7’s 22-inch watchstrap-like Pirelli P Zero summer time rubber, additionally one thing of a shocking new growth.
The aforementioned all-wheel steering setup shall be optionally available on Euro fashions, however customary match on US automobiles, together with a sport differential. Audi will supply a smaller array of RS7 choices within the States, however we’ll get the great things, together with the customer’s alternative of normal adaptive air suspension or the firmer optionally available RS sport suspension with Dynamic Journey Management.
If you happen to have been anticipating something lower than peerless lodging, you have not been in an Audi these days.
Suspended two methods
I used to be capable of take a look at a number of automobiles to expertise each suspension setups. The latter is a fixed-height, steel-spring, mechanical system that employs diagonally opposed shock absorbers tied collectively by hydraulic strains and central valving to regulate oil circulate within the dampers, firming up the shocks of the surface wheels with a view to flatten cornering. DRC works as marketed, enabling the Sportback to nook flatly and adroitly, however the base air-suspension automobile works each bit as properly beneath 95% of driving circumstances at no extra value. The latter has the advantage of a wider user-adjustable vary, affording a extra softly-sprung relaxed grand touring really feel together with a firmer setting for observe days and canyon carving.
The opposite noteworthy merchandise on the efficiency components choices listing shall be ceramic brakes. The large discs (17.three inches up entrance, 14.6 out again) present herculean stopping energy for this Four,500-pound automobile, all whereas shaving a whopping 75 kilos from its unsprung weight. Pricing for the US-spec RS7 has but to be launched, and if historical past is any information, these binders appear destined to be a part of an possibility bundle, not essentially a stand-alone improve. They’re nice, however do not child your self — the usual metal clamps are all you will ever want for road use.
Extra thunder, please
In Europe, Audi will supply two completely different exhaust techniques — customary and optionally available RS sport plumbing you may spot on the road due to a set of black tailpipes. Factor is, despite the fact that the latter setup is energetic due to a switchable baffle for extra noise, to my ears, its max-angry mode is not vocal sufficient for a automobile of this efficiency and visible influence. Blame Europe’s more-stringent pass-by noise rules, however RS engineers even have a historical past of erring on the (too) conservative facet.
Extra promisingly, Audi officers I spoke with promise a “dramatically louder” exhaust shall be fitted to US automobiles once they arrive subsequent yr. You could not need a fireplace and brimstone soundtrack on a regular basis, however with the switchable nature of the RS7’s pipes, it’s going to be good to have the choice.
Audi says the RS7 may have a louder bark by the point it arrives within the US. Good.
I have never talked about this automobile’s inside but, as a result of it is all however a provided that Audi interiors are a tour de pressure of luxurious and tech as of late. The usual A7 provides one of the considerate and solid-feeling cabins wherever within the automotive kingdom, and the RS7 solely builds on that base.
Enchancment value noting? Barely bigger and better-feeling aluminum shift paddles (Audi has caught with small and annoyingly plasticky tab selectors on its mainline fashions for too lengthy), in addition to hip-hugging quilted leather-based seats that lastly supply not simply heating, however air flow, too. Sadly, the US will go with out Europe’s optionally available flat-bottomed Alcantara-wrapped sport wheel, a concession to American patrons who evidently cannot dwell with out a heated rim. Happily, our wheel ought to nonetheless will get an RS Mode button to toggle via to the motive force’s individually tailor-made drive mode presets.
That apart, the RS7 advantages from Audi’s newest MMI Contact Response infotainment, the dual-widescreen system that blends crisp graphics and snappy processing with well-laid-out menus and excessive diploma of customization. There is a little bit of a studying curve and quite a lot of fingerprints, however mixed with a colourful head-up show and Audi’s reconfigurable Digital Cockpit gauge cluster, the power to reconfigure and customise this automobile’s digital atmosphere to 1’s private preferences is all however unmatched. After all, if you cannot be bothered to be taught the ins and outs of MMI, the system additionally consists of wi-fi Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration — tremendous handy for Waze addicts trying to preserve a watch out for velocity traps.
Talking of “security first,” the RS7 enjoys a bounty of superior driver help techniques (ADAS), together with ahead collision warning with auto brake (with bicycle owner and pedestrian detection). In actual fact, the RS7’s built-in lidar and zFAS central processor allows conditionally automated Degree three hands-off, eyes-off driving in choose markets exterior the US. Designed as a commute easer for use beneath particular circumstances (particularly divided highways in slow-moving visitors), Audi’s Visitors Jam Pilot nonetheless hasn’t made it to North America. As an alternative, our RS7 will get a less complicated, lidar-free Degree 2 adaptive cruise management system with lane centering. (Even with out the laser scanner, our can nonetheless come to a cease with the hazard lights on and name emergency providers if it detects a non-responsive driver.)
There shall be no mistaking the RS7 for an S7 or A7 this time.
The worth of greatness
2020 Audi RS7 pricing and gasoline financial system figures have not been launched for the US, however given the place the final one left off, it is honest to imagine a base value within the neighborhood of $115,000 and mixed gasoline financial system someplace round 20 miles per gallon.
Given how resolutely succesful and opulent the usual Audi A7 already is, it is laborious to view this automobile as worth. That stated, the 2020 Audi RS7 Sportback not solely handles higher than ever, it is extra communicative and fascinating. If nothing else, the RS7’s menacing new widebody appears means no one will confuse your six-figure Sportback with its extra strange counterparts. When this factor fills up their rearview mirrors, your neighbors are going to know precisely what it’s that is about to blow their doorways off.
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