Audi’s RS 7 Sportback is a 591-hp V-8 widebody missile
If you don’t fancy the now America-bound Audi RS 6, how about the equally mad RS 7 Sportback from which said wagon borrowed its headlights?
While Audi talks about increased drivability and the new option of a three-seater layout at the rear, all I saw standing next to the 2020 RS 7 was an extremely wide, low-stance super-four door with oval exhausts no doubt inspired by a small moon’s orbit. With 591 horsepower, 590 lb-ft of torque, and a top speed of 189.5 mph, this RS 7 is ready to storm the Autobahn in style.
Inside and out, the recipe is very similar to the RS 6 wagon. Maximum differentiation from the A7 with fenders flared by 1.6 inches, a more aggressive power bulge, darkened trim all around, and a widened, blacked-out grille with three slots under the hood, which is a visual lowering element introduced on the R8. Inside, it’s a digital tech-fest with acres of stitched honeycomb leather. It’s a high-end Audi.
To go with your now optionally 22-inch wheels, you can choose the Dynamic Plus package with the 440mm 10-piston carbon-ceramic brakes, which approves you for 189.5 mph. With the Dynamic package, you can still do 174 mph, while the base RS 7 is limited to 155. There’s also the now expected option of rear-axle steer, which counter-steers up to 60 mph. Either ticked or not, the rear spoiler will still extend at exactly 74.6 mph, so you know when you’re speeding in America.
In base form, the car comes with steel brakes behind 21-inch wheels, as well as an air suspension system with electronic dampers. Active anti-roll bars are not involved, but two individual RS modes give you the most control in an instant, with the RS2 mode also switching off the ESP.
For those who wish to push the RS 7 to its absolute limit, Audi offers dynamic ride control with steel springs and three-stage adjustable dampers that are connected to one another via diagonal oil lines and a central valve. This setup is 22 pounds lighter than the air suspension, while being roughly 30 percent stiffer overall.
Others will be happy to learn that despite all the fireworks onboard, cylinder deactivation and coasting with the mild-hybrid system makes this 4.0-liter a very efficient twin-turbo V-8 indeed. (It’s not clear if the mild-hybrid system will have full functionality in the U.S. market, as in the case of the Q8 where the technology is essentially limited to the stop-start system).
In return, the hybrid bits add 70 pounds to the car’s weight, but 591 horsepower and 590 lb-ft will still catapult you to 62 mph in 3.6 seconds. That’s quicker than a racing driver perfectly shifting a Ferrari F40. But again, Ferrari’s tiny 2.9-liter twin-turbo V-8 from 1987 produces a pathetic 478 horsepower. That’s no match for your five-seat family car.