Audi’s RS7 Performance is about to get introduced in our market, and so the obvious question would be: What’s new about this version? Well for one, it’s got more power and as the name suggests a bump up of 45bhp and 50Nm has been factored in to make your already fast RS7 touring machine, even more entertaining.
There’s more, and the brand has equipped this version with 21-inch titanium look alloys, sport exhaust, Audi drive select button on the steering, and honeycomb stitching on the upholstery. One will also get a shade of titanium grey on the front lip spoiler, side flaps, door mirrors, rear diffuser, front grille and air intake ducts.
We decided to take this touring show off machine on a long drive to test its manners, and read on to find out what we experienced.
Up front, the RS7 is characterised by the sharp head lamps and the humongous air dams below them which are collectively split apart by the charming single-frame honeycomb grille with matt grey borders, Quattro and RS7 logos proudly showcased. This bottle green shade didn’t get any of our adrenaline pumping and we believe that cars of this stature should be available in nothing less than a set of invigorating shades.
In profile, this car shows off those huge 21-inch double-spoke alloys with shiny edges, and somehow this shade of green makes the car’s rear look less heavy and more aggressive. The low rear end stands out thanks to the distinctive wide shouldered and sharply etched boot lid, a brake light that spans across the rear windscreen, and a spoiler that cheekily pops out of the boot section.
Swing the rimless doors open and the cabin will expose the enormous amount of carbon fibre trim that begins from the door pads and runs under the windscreen, across the dashboard, and on the centre console. You’re welcomed by a meaty flat bottomed steering with perforated leather that provides supreme grip. A huge screen pops out of the dash and reveals all the information, while doubling up for the navigation and rear camera display.
Once seated in the low RS sport seats with honeycomb stitching, one will notice the adequate bottom support, manually adjustable thigh support, and the seat back that’s aggressively contoured to provide comfort and a fixed amount of lateral support. Being a four seater means there’s a plastic centre console at the rear which can accommodate phones or any other knick-knacks.
As much as the low rear seats are supportive, well angled, and offer ample legroom, occupants can easily scrape their head while getting in, and tall passengers will find the headroom a bit intimidating. Pop the boot and the 535 litres of boot space is visibly deep and wide enough to swallow adequate travel baggage. However, one may need to watch out for the sloping boot lid from hitting the luggage.
With the RS7, one gets features like the Audi matrix LED headlamps, slide and tilt sunroof, 21-inch alloys, and a titanium package for highlighting key exterior elements. Also being offered is the MMI navigation plus including MMI Touch, Bose surround sound with 14 speakers and a 12-channel amplifier with Bluetooth, RS three-spoke flat bottomed multifunction steering wheel, and an ambient lighting package to name a few.
Depress the start button and the 4.0-litre TFSI motor coughs to life with an enthusiastic rev. It now makes all of 605bhp between 6100rpm and 6800rpm, and in the process also sheds 750Nm of torque (in overboost) between 1750rpm and 6000rpm. Compare this to the regular RS7 which manages 560bhp and 700Nm of torque, and we are looking at a power gain of 45bhp. With the Audi Drive Select, pre-set modes called ‘Comfort’, ‘Dynamic’ and ‘Auto’ are offered along with a programmable ‘Individual’ mode.
These settings change the way the car handles through the adaptive air-suspension, alter the throttle response from the motor, and adjust the steering feel. In ‘Comfort’ mode, the steering feedback, throttle response and damping is not as sharp and aggressive as the ‘Dynamic’ mode, and gears upshift and settle down once you back off the throttle. However, if you spot an empty road ahead, dial-in the ‘Dynamic’ mode and the steering instantly gets crisper, throttle response improves dramatically, and the air-suspension stiffens up smartly. In kickdown, the 20-80kmph and 40-100kmph runs took just 2.67sec and 3.16sec.
Floor the accelerator pedal in this mode and the RS7 will leap forward in a manic manner while shoving one into those purposefully bolstered sports seats. It charges to 100kmph in just 3.63sec, and 200kmph comes up in a brisk 13.63sec. Don’t forget to add an aggressive growl to the equation, which even crackles when you lift off the gas each time. Every gear is held on to sportingly, all the way to the 6800rpm redline and this eight-speed tiptronic gearbox does a decent job of accommodating shifts quickly. Even when you lift your foot off the accelerator pedal, the gear is held on to so that the motor can respond as soon as any input is fed. Nevertheless, there’s no doubt that a DSG ‘box would have made the package even sweeter.
With the RS7, one gets an adaptive air-suspension system, and in ‘Comfort’ mode it makes sure that the damping makes way for a comfortable drive regardless of the speed. The ‘Lift’ feature makes superb sense for our kind of roads and we did not encounter an instance where the belly scrapped when this was activated. When ‘Dynamic’ mode is selected, the ride gets stiffer so that the handling gains can be achieved. That said, whatever mode is selected, the ride never gets to a point where the occupants get uncomfortable. While the steering setup allows the driver to get into bends and power out of them reasonably well, there seems to be a disconnect with the entire package due to the quality of feedback relayed from this electromechanical power steering.
There are obvious handling benefits thanks to the Quattro all-wheel drive and the sport differential which distributes variable amounts of driving force to each rear wheel. However, you need to enter bends at the right speed and power out of them, or else you could end up with quite a bit of understeer. The RS7 tends to roll a bit too, and under fierce acceleration it also squats making the steering a little too light. On the other hand, the brakes are sharp and impart accurate feedback.
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||605 @ 6100-6800|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||750 @ 1750-6000|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||75|
|Tyre size||275/30 R21|
|Audi drive select on steering||Yes|
|Titanium styling package||Yes|
|'Leather with honeycomb stitching||Yes|
|21-inch alloy wheels with titanium look||Yes|
|Heads up display||Yes|
|RS Sport seats||Yes|
|Ambient lighting package||Yes|
|Adaptive air suspension||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Variant||Performance||M6 Gran Coupe|
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||605 @ 6100-6800||560 @ 6000-7000|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||750 @ 1750-6000||680 @ 1500-5750|
|Gears||eight-speed tiptronic||eight-speed auto|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||75||80|
|Tyre size||275/30 R21||265/35R20 & 295/30R20|
Audi’s RS7, in the regular form, costs Rs 1.53 crore and going by the price variation between this and the ‘Performance’ variant in the markets abroad, we expect it to cost an additional five lakh (Rs 1.58 crore). So, if you’re on the lookout for a really fast tourer that can drop a few jaws, we think the RS7 makes great sense. With a hoot of an engine, travelling long distances with four people and their luggage on-board is an easy affair. What you also get in addition to this is the practicality of the lift function and even more power if thanks to the ‘Performance’ version, after all, more power is always welcome!
Pictures: Kapil Angane