Like an elephant trying to blend in with a pride of lions, the updated Audi RS 7 Sportback Performance was placed amongst all the other RS Models, trying hard to blend in. Coated in matte blue and sitting on new 22-inch matte titanium grey wheels, it stood out like a shimmering diamond in a sea of ordinary stones, impossible to miss.
Audi RS 7 Sportback Performance Fast Facts:
- Price: R2 444 500
- Engine: 4,0-litre biturbo V8 TFSI engine
- Power: 463 kW
- Torque: 850 N.m
- Transmission: Eight-speed steptronic transmission
- Fuel consumption: N/A
- 0-100 km/h: 3,4 seconds
- Top speed: 305 km/h
- Rivals: BMW M8 Competition Gran Coupe, Porsche Panamera Turbo S
What are we driving?
After spending the morning driving various RS models, it was time to dive into the recently updated RS 7. Under the bonnet, the new RS 7 Sportback Performance packs a 4,0-litre biturbo TFSI engine, now cranking out 463 kW of power and 850 N.m of torque. This puts it among the most potent RS models to date. Thanks to a pair of larger turbos and extra boost, the V8 engine delivers 22 kW and 50 N.m more than its non-performance counterparts.
Why is the Audi RS 7 Sportback Performance significant?
The A7 four-door coupe lineup has been around for just over a decade, but the evolution of its performance variant has been short but impactful. Audi has consistently updated this brawny car over the years.
In 2012, the landscape saw the emergence of potent four-door sedans, including the Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG, BMW M6 Gran Coupe, and of course, the Audi S7 Sportback. The S7 Sportback was equipped with a 4,0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 petrol engine producing 304 kW and 550 N.m, mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission sending power to all four wheels.
The RS 7 Sportback made its debut in 2013, maintaining Audi’s subtle exterior design. Beneath the understated looks, it packed a punch, with the S7’s 4,0-litre twin-turbo motor tweaked to churn out 406 kW and 700 N.m. Paired with an eight-speed torque converter and Quattro AWD, it sprinted from 0-100 km/h in a swift 3,9 seconds. In 2014, the RS7 received some visual updates but no performance changes.
Things got serious in 2015 when the RS 7’s power was bumped up to 445 kW, with an ‘over-boost’ function pushing peak torque to 750 N.m for short bursts. This reduction in weight enabled the RS 7 to hit 0-100 km/h in a mere 3,7 seconds. In 2019, at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Audi unveiled the new RS 7 Sportback. It followed the A7’s trend with an evolutionary exterior and interior redesign, an efficient powertrain and more features. The 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 still roared but now produced 441 kW of power and an improved maximum torque of 800 Nm. 0-100 km/h was achieved in just 3,6 seconds.
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Over the years, Audi has consistently added power and performance to the executive sedan segment, and the new RS 7 Sportback Performance takes it a step further with a beefier exterior, subtle interior tweaks, and reduced weight. The evolution of this performance powerhouse continues.
What’s new on the Audi RS 7 Sportback Performance?
In addition to the upgraded turbochargers and heightened boost pressure, the RS 7 Sportback Performance boasts a set of 22-inch matte titanium grey wheels meticulously designed to enhance brake cooling. These wheels work in harmony with high-performance Continental Sport Contact 7 tyres, not only shedding weight but also delivering remarkable grip and reducing braking distances significantly. When it comes to personalisation, the RS 7 Sportback Performance offers a wide spectrum of choices with 16 exterior colours, spanning both metallic and matte finishes.
One of the standout features of the RS 7 Sportback Performance is its new self-locking centre differential. This mechanical marvel intelligently allocates engine power to the rear axle, maintaining a 40:60 power distribution ratio. This dynamic setup adapts power distribution, enhancing traction for various driving conditions. The result is a car that can send up to 70% of its power to the front axle when needed or up to 85% to the rear axle, delivering precise and agile cornering capabilities.
What does the new Audi RS 7 Sportback Performance cost?
- Audi RS 7 Sportback performance – R2 444 500
What are the Audi RS 7 Sportback Performance rivals?
Cars that would go toe to toe with the RS 7 Sportback Performance are the BMW M8 Competition Gran Coupe which also has a V8 powerplant that produces 460 kW @ 6 000 r/min and 750 N.m of torque @ 1 800 r/min. The BMW M8 Competition Gran Coupe is currently priced at R3 372 466.
Another vehicle that can take on the RS 7 is a Porsche Panamera Turbo S, boasting a V8 that produces 463 kW of Power @ 6 000 r/min and 820 N.m of torque @ 2 300 r/min. The Porsche Panamera Turbo S currently costs R3 584 000
What is the Audi RS 7 Sportback Performance like to drive?
The RS 7 Sportback Performance offers a versatile driving experience with its trio of distinct driving modes: Efficiency, Comfort, and Dynamic. These modes progressively ramp up the aggression, tightening the steering and suspension while adjusting the ride height for air-suspension models. For those seeking a more personalised touch, the RS1 and RS2 modes allow drivers to finely tune the engine, steering, suspension, exhaust and ESC settings. Notably, full stability control can be deactivated only in RS2 mode, which also unlocks the exhilarating launch control feature.
Inside the cabin, reduced noise prevails, drowned out only by the fruity V8 burble emanating from the rear as the RS 7 powered through the Kyalami track. The eight-speed steptronic transmission, with quicker shifts, pairs each gear change with an explosive exhaust note. Accelerating from 0 to 100 km/h in just 3,4 seconds is an impressive feat in any vehicle, and achieving it in a car tipping the scales at over 2 000 kg makes the experience all the more astonishing.
Yet, the RS 7’s allure extends beyond acceleration, its handling prowess is equally remarkable despite its heft. Thanks to its poised chassis and the added agility of a standard rear-wheel-steering system, complemented by specially-designed Continental Sport Contact 7 tyres offering superior grip on the track, the RS 7 Sportback Performance navigated through corners with ease and finesse. It’s a blend of crazy speed and unwavering comfort that characterises its driving personality. The RS 7 exudes confidence, allowing drivers of various skill levels to extract impressive speed on the track.
While it may not emulate the driving experience of a Porsche or Mercedes, the Audi carves out its own unique identity, setting it apart from the competition. It offers a distinct balance and feel, catering to those seeking something different in the automotive world. Having the opportunity to drive both vehicles back to back, it’s evident that the new RS 7 exudes a purer and more muscular persona compared to its predecessor. With its sculpted and bespoke body, it boasts an unmistakable aura of aggression and intimidation that makes it a formidable presence on the road.