This is the new Audi RS7 and I recently had the opportunity to take it for a spin, writes Geoff Maxted of North Swindon.
One or two dissenters in the ranks have not been so keen on the design but I certainly am. It’s an Audi so it is beautifully made, roomy, magnificently appointed and as mad as two angry frogs in a box.
Someone at the German company’s HQ must have just received some good news or a pleasant surprise because at that very moment they presumably thought it would be a good idea to slot a hugely powerful, twin-turbo V8 into an A7 and, at a stroke, turn a luxury car into a supercar.
Here’s the broad picture. The engine is tuned to produce no less than 552bhp yet only 229g/km of the poisonous stuff escapes, thanks in part to Stop/Start. That’s very good. The sprint to 62mph is officially 3.9 seconds but it feels quicker than that.
The model featured here was awash with extras – many of them expensive – yet nothing felt superfluous. If a buyer can afford the basic £82,000 then another few thousand isn’t really going to touch the sides.
I didn’t particularly care for the ‘heads-up’ display which I found distracting. On the other hand, you will find that the landscape is going by at such an awesome pace that it is probably advisable to remain eyes-front.
Although it costs over £10k, the selection of the Dynamic Package seems essential. Not for the fact that the top speed limiter is off so much as for the inclusion of ceramic brakes, sports suspension and dynamic steering – because you are going to need them.
It takes a while to come to terms with how a car behaves, so an hour of blistering pace is only enough time to get partly acquainted, much like a like a first date; you’re still weighing each other up.
The combination of sports suspension and gorgeous but massive 21” ‘spoke blade’ wheels made for a very firm ride – not great on our British roads (or tracks as they are known to those on continental Europe).
I can imagine the exhilaration of powering down an Autobahn but on the Fosse Way the car felt a bit unsettled, it has to be said. This notion is possibly all in the mind however as grip was immense and cornering sharp.
It’s funny how opinions differ. I heard on the day that one driver thought the steering vague on the RS7. I, on the other hand, have a general liking for Audi’s steering set-up across the range. Clearly you can’t please all of the people all of the time which must be something of a mantra amongst car makers.
I think the Sportback design is very sleek and attractive. No ostentatious aero here, only the pouting front lip gives a sense of what’s needed to keep this car planted.
The RS7 is perfectly happy to pootle along if that’s what you want but when the need for speed takes hold – and it will – the fabulous ZF eight-speed gearbox offers perfectly smooth ratios and great shifts with the well-sited paddles; whilst the permanent tried and trusted Quattro technology keeps everything under control: Yet beware – I have the sense that the RS7 could bite back at the unwary.
The brute power of this car would make it easy to get carried away as the size and comfort of the vehicle could lull a driver into dangerous speed territory. Maybe the ‘heads-up’ is a good idea after all.
This car is mad and bad and makes a great noise. It is lunacy in a luxury limo and I loved it. I will certainly be after that all-important second date. Will consider marriage.