V8 and quattro four-wheel-drive provides some serious straight-line performance
Audi Virtual Cockpit and twin screen setup
Not as exciting to drive as a Porsche Panamera
The Audi RS7 is back for a second innings and you’ll be relieved (or perhaps you won’t?) that they’ve now included 5 seats to compete with the best compact saloons on the market. Great, another family friendly Audi saloon.
Except, the new Audi RS7 Sportback isn’t your run-of-the-mill saloon. As the RS in the name suggests, this car is more attuned to the racing track than the suburban sprawl. It manages 0-62mph in 3.6 seconds and has a top speed of 155mph. The quattro all-wheel-drive system provides fantastic cornering for a car of its size. We’re not going to lie, if you told us that your ‘ideal’ family car would allow you to pack in your wife and three kids for one of your adrenaline-fuelled joy-rides along the autobahn, we’d actually be rather concerned. But hey, it’s a niche in the market and Audi probably knows it’s fanbase better than we do!
It packs a punchy twin-turbo V8 with cylinder-on-demand technology to reduce fuel consumption. Paired with a mild-hybrid system for marginally improved fuel economy, this uber-practical sports car almost makes you feel like you’re doing the environment a favour (you’re not, of course).
But the Audi RS7 isn’t the only car attempting an unholy marriage of sports car performance and family car functionality, with competitors including the BMW M5, Mercedes-AMG GT four-door and the Porsche Panamera. Which of the German giants should you go for? We’ll let you decide.
Overall we think the latest Audi offering is one of the best small luxury cars around if you're struggling to make up your mind - but we’re sure a supercar five-door with a bounteous boot was exactly what you had in mind.
For something even more practical but equally powerful, why not check out our Audi RS6 Avant review?
Audi RS7 Sportback
The entry-level RS7 Sportback packs plenty of premium features - as you’d expect for a price tag like that. You’ll get 21-inch x 10.5J alloy wheels in Galvano Silver, Audi’s dazzling HD matrix LED headlights, Audi’s MMI Navigation Plus infotainment system with twin touch screens, RS ‘Sports Seats’ in Valcona leather and Audi’s class-leading quattro technology with sports differential and dynamic all-wheel steering.
Audi RS7 Sportback Carbon Black
The mid-tier Carbon Black trim brings a touch of dark mystique to the RS7. Out with all traces of silver and in with black gloss alloy wheels, a “carbon black” front spoiler, grille, side flaps and sill inserts. You’ll also get a black four-ringed badge and a gorgeous ‘grey’ interior redesign.
Audi RS7 Sportback Vorsprung
The range-topping Vorsprung comes with trendy titanium matt gloss finish alloy-wheels, RS-sports suspension Plus with Dynamic Ride Control, a gloss black styling package and a panoramic glass sunroof. As if RS7 wasn’t fast enough for you already, you’ll also be able to frighten the living daylights out of your children with an improved top-speed of 174mph.
There have been some big exterior changes with the second generation of the RS7. Most of the body panels from the standard Audi A7 Sportback have been replaced to give the RS7 a thickset frame and more intimidating stance.
Though the RS badge is fairly consistent among Audi’s performance cars - the actual driving experience is not. As far as we’re concerned, the new RS7 is actually one of the better RennSport offerings, giving it the platform to be one of the best affordable sports cars on the market.
Engine and Performance
The RS7’s engine is its main selling point. It packs a twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine with 552bhp. This colossal output is fed through an eight-speed tiptronic automatic transmission. Upgrade to the Performance Pack and you’ll get 605bhp. Whichever you opt for, you’d better buckle up.
The official 0-62mph for the performance model is 3.6 seconds. To say that’s more than enough for a five-door would be a huge understatement. It does however beat the closest contenders from the likes of BMW, Mercedes and Porsche. Top speed is 155mph, but with the Performance Pack or Vorsprung trim, you can take off the proverbial stabilisers and push it to 174mph.
At 2 and a half tonnes, the RS7 is a bit of a mastodon of the motoring world. That usually doesn’t translate well to handling. The RS7 bucks that trend, with relatively responsive steering, despite its somewhat cumbersome size.
Audi’s ‘drive select’ button on the steering wheel allows you to adjust the adaptive air suspension to suit your mood - not that you’ll be wanting to go into ‘dynamic’ mode too often. This is the firmest mode, and will stiffen the suspension to reduce body roll and tackle corners flatter. Unfortunately it makes anything other than the smoothest tarmac feel like you’re the human equivalent of a guiro scraper. However, the suspension changes considerably depending on the drive mode selected - opt for ‘Comfort’ and you’ll cruise with relative ease.