Audi RS7 Sportback review – the ultimate all-weather superhatch?
More agile and involving than before, and more affordable than its rivals, the RS7 is quite the usurper
The original Audi RS7 often felt like the odd one out in the RS range, never really living up to the promise of its attractive combination of incredible speed, sleek body and superb build quality. While its RS6 Avant relative bathed in a sea of praise, the RS7… well, it wasn’t quite so loved.
Audi hopes to change the RS7’s fortune with this new, second-generation model, as while it shares its basic ingredients with its predecessor, Audi Sport has worked hard to turn it into a performance flagship worthy of its place as the top RS four-door.
To do this with a package as big and heavy as the RS7’s, Audi has brought out the big guns, with bigger wheels, tyres and brakes than have ever been seen on a performance model such as this, not to mention active differentials and Audi’s clever hydraulically cross-linked dampers.
To accommodate all this new tech the RS7 has also been given a bespoke body, further separating it from the standard A7 while also acting as a clear statement of intent that this RS7 is not going to be the afterthought executive express it once was. With BMW’s new M8 Competition Gran Coupe and AMG’s GT63 S 4-Door on its heels, its rivals have never been more serious either, and that’s before you take into consideration its in-house nemesis from Porsche.
Audi RS7 Sportback: in detail
- Engine, gearbox and technical highlights > Ostensibly the engine and transmission are not dissimilar to those of the RS7 that came before, or indeed its key rivals
- Performance and 0-60 time > Isn’t class leading in numbers on paper, but when was 592bhp ever not enough? It’s definitely enough
- Ride and handling > Doesn’t drive like the Porsche, BMW or Mercedes, but it does have a balance and feel all of its own
- MPG and running costs > Thanks to a raft of fuel-saving tech, drive gently and it’s more efficient than you might imagine
- Interior and tech > Susceptible to Audi’s recent lapse in interior design and quality, the RS7’s interior is fine, but no longer the highlight it once was
- Design > Less pure than the previous RS7, but also more muscular. With its pumped, bespoke body this is one aggressive and intimidating car to look at
Prices, specs and rivals
The RS7 Sportback is available in three forms in the UK, split into basic, Carbon Sport and Vorsprung models. With prices starting at £98,590 the RS7 is not a cheap car, but then it is fully loaded from the outset, with 21-inch wheels, laser-assisted matrix LED headlights and all the other usual high-end German-car fodder. In terms of performance hardware, standard RS7s ride on adaptive air suspension as standard, with Audi’s Sport Differential also standard fit.
Spend £106,490 on the Carbon Sport and the upgrades are mostly aesthetic, with carbon inlays, grey detailing inside and larger 22-inch wheels. For the full experience, the £115,990 Vorsprung adds to this some high-end options such as a panoramic sunroof, a top speed increase to 174mph, the full Bang & Olufsen sound system, a head-up display system and the Dynamic Ride Control DRC suspension system we’ll elaborate on later.
Big-ticket upgrades like the £9200 ceramic brakes, RS Sports Exhaust and the aforementioned DRC are also available separately on the options list.
Despite the near six-figure base price, the RS7 is actually one of the least expensive super four-doors in the market, with all its direct rivals priced over £100,000. BMW’s M8 Competition Gran Coupe starts at £120,970, has slightly more power, and is the ultimately the faster car, but it’ll cost you a further £21,000 to specify the Ultimate Pack, which bundles lots of what you do need, such as ceramic brakes, and lots of what you don’t, like powered rear sunblinds – on a car with frameless doors. Rivals from AMG and Porsche are even more expensive, with the updated Panamera Turbo S and AMG GT 4-door both within £100 of each other at around £135,000. Both of these models do get ceramic brakes as standard, but while the Merc is fully loaded, the Porsche is typically light on standard equipment, asking extra for things such as basic matrix LED headlights or even a rear wiper.