THE V8 purrs, its gentle growl making its presence felt in the spacious cabin.
The Audi RS 7 Sportback Quattro is a sleek machine, which effortlessly pulls ahead of anything that, just a second or so ago, was waiting abreast. 0-100kmh in 3.6 seconds, and on to 200kmh in 12 seconds, the time it would take some cars to just about make it to 100kmh.
What a delightful drive this Audi presents. And it is a car like this RS7 Sportback that makes it that much more difficult for electric vehicles.
The tangible aspects of the twin-turbo internal combustion engine (ICE) as it snarls to life and then delivers a smooth stream of refined visceral power adds that dimension of purposeful and impactful sound that is naturally lacking in EVs.
The RS 7 Sportback is not new to Audi, having its roots dating back to the 1960s’ Audi 100. But it is making its debut in this region and is packed with the latest bells and whistles in its current sleek form. It just shares the roof, bonnet and front doors with the A7, and the rest of it is very distinctive styling that belies a versatile five-metre-plus car.
Four doors make it practical, a huge boot is convenient, a big engine exceptionally delightful, and looks that will get you anywhere.
Playing With Textures
The large areas of textured black — the grille in gloss black with the black-on-black logo save for the red stroke of the badging, the black diffuser and exhausts combine to create a snazzy but edgy look and feel. Add a bit of drama with laser headlamps and a light show with the rear cluster, and you’re wowed even before you get in.
The feeling inside continues that sense of refinement and edgy taste.
On Valcona leather seats with the honeycomb pattern and RS embossing, you are clearly in some comfort. To the point where the ventilated seats can keep the occupants in front cool, or warm, depending on personal preference. The Alcantara steering wheel may seem a bit like a worn out towel, but is good for those with sweaty palms, which this car could induce when it’s on the move.
The clean lines of the dashboard — where the driver gets all the informative gear via the two touchscreens and the instrument cluster — emphasise the spaciousness of the cabin. Everything empties out into neat lines on the passenger’s side of the car except for carbon fibre, leather, chrome bits, ambient lights and various textures that come together smartly.
You know you’re in a classy joint when the black seatbelt has outstanding red edges.
The vital connectivity everyone craves these days is available, and easy to activate, once you’ve poked your way through a few layers of instructions. The touchscreens are easier to navigate, but not the safest thing to tackle when on the move. So, voice activation comes in handy.
Gun the engine, and it snarls into life like some angry wild cat. Beyond that, the cabin is quiet, well-cocooned to let you enjoy your conversation, and if that’s not in abundance, there’s always music to fall back on, or just the sound of the engine.
The twin-scroll turbo 4.0 TFSI V8 dishes out 441kW of power, distributed to all four wheels via the Quattro all-wheel-drive system.
Despite riding on huge 22” wheels, there are no bone-jarring journeys, instead a cushioned, stable ride in comfort, and a gripping experience when Dynamic or RS modes are engaged. The largely aluminium five-link front and rear axles handle the pulling forces independently, and the air suspension keeps things stable.
Fast But Safe
The behaviour and the tone of the RS 7 Sportback changes depending on the drive mode selected, delivering an accomplished run that urges more out of the driver, since the car can deliver, while showcasing its precautionary assets such as forward collision warning, automated emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, all delivered to an array of beeps, vibrations and tones to alert you, amplified through the Bang & Olufsen 3D sound system, which you can mute (mercifully).
The 8-speed tiptronic shifter is smooth in its shifts, and when in Dynamic or RS modes, the gears are held longer, though not uncomfortably so. With paddle shifters, you can easily get to the spot you’re after and the response is fast and without dramas.
It comes to a stop quickly, too, and the bite can be felt as a slight jerk when it comes to a quick halt.
For its length, it impressively does a sharp U-turn, within two lanes. The dynamic all-wheel steering reduces the turning circle by one metre in low speed by turning the rear wheels up to 5° in the opposite direction of the turn. At mid to high speeds, the rear wheels turn in up to 2° in the same direction of travel.
Despite having a 48V mild hybrid set up to recoup energy, and a cylinder on demand configuration, which deactivates cylinders to improve efficiency, it’s still in the least emissions efficient C2 VES band.
But, when you shell out close to *$590K for a car that pumps out 800Nm of torque, you want it to deliver, and that the Audi RS 7 Sportback certainly does.
AUDI RS 7 SPORTBACK 4.0 TFSI QUATTRO RATING
*Please reconfirm price with dealer.
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