REVIEW | The 2021 Audi RS 7 is a luxury muscle car
In March Audi Sport launched what can only be termed as a gluttony of high-performance wares. If the aim was to send the equivalent divisions, BMW Motorsport and Mercedes-AMG, a not-so-covert message, they certainly succeeded.
The firm can safely say that from a standpoint of fast and premium, it covers every conceivable category. Think about it.
Compact roadster and coupé bases are taken care of with the TT RS. The RS Q3 and RS Q3 Sportback tick the medium-sized sport-utility vehicle box. You have the RS 5 in two-door and four-door configurations.
If potent station wagons are your thing, take a gander in the direction of the RS 4 Avant and RS 6 Avant.
At the bigger end of the sport-utility vehicle scale you can pick from the SQ7, SQ8 or RS Q8. Even the S8 is finally available on the market and, of course, at the very top of the pecking order, the heroic R8 with its V10 engine.
Somewhere in this middle of this overwhelming hierarchy is the RS 7 Sportback, which we spent three days evaluating recently. The standard A7 was a recipient of significant praise when we reported on it in 2020. From its exquisite shape to the creaminess of the ride and silky powertrain, we deemed it one of the best luxury cars on the market. Expectedly, the RS 7 retains that velvety, opulent character, albeit with the obvious infusion of a crazy streak.
Defying the typical Audi hallmark of subtlety, one can immediately distinguish the RS 7 as the one in the range with nuclear tendencies.
Its girth is 40mm wider than the standard car. With a length of 5,009mm in total, it is hardly compact and nudges the painted seams of average-sized parking bays. The massive single-frame grille looks as if it would sniff small pets in whole. The 22-inch wheels with a V-spoke design border on cartoonish, hiding proportionately large perforated brake discs. Carbon ceramics are optional, weighing 34kg less than the conventional steel variety.
That bulging dome in the hood is a fitting exaggeration, even if the engine beneath is equipped with clever efficiency measures like cylinder deactivation. Couple that with factors like the 48-volt hybrid system and the wild Audi has a remarkably sensible side too. Cruising at a leisurely pace in higher gears, the RS 7 basically transforms into a humble four-pot.
Not that the average owner is going to be doing a lot of sedate cruising. A claimed sprint time of 3.6 seconds from standstill makes it more rapid off the line than the average person would need.
Its mighty 4.0 TFSI (V8) heart serves up 441kW and 800Nm, which translates into momentum dramatically with the easy flex of a big toe. Kudos to the boffins at Audi Sport for taking measures to deliver the right acoustic characteristics.
Stricter regulations have thrown a muzzle on aural theatrics, but the Audi brings the music within the imposed parameters it seems. It rumbles with an assuring bass and clears its throat with authority.
An eight-speed, torque converter automatic shunts power to each corner, while the Quattro system can divert up to 85% to the rear axle. You can see evidence of that from the exterior under launch, where the front-end rears up in an equestrian-type way.
A differential and electronic torque-distribution, coupled with optional four-wheel steering, makes the RS 7 just a bit more manoeuvrable. But it is still a lengthy and wide land yacht (speedboat?) and as such, clearly far happier munching open road and fast sweeps than narrow, technical passes.
You can take the family with because, unlike before, the rear bench has seating for three, while luggage space is commodious as 535 litres. Blending muscle car sounds and sensations with Teutonic efficiency and textbook Audi luxury, the RS 7 Sportback is a feast of thrills.
PRICING: From R2,173,500