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Audi RS 7 Sportback Review: Audi RS7 Performance first drive review CT

Audi RS7 Performance first drive review CT

By Santosh Nair; 30th September, 2016
Introduction

 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. 

Audi RS 7 Sportback

  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. 

Audi RS 7 Sportback

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.

Exterior

Audi RS 7 Sportback 

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.

Audi RS 7 Sportback

 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.

Audi RS 7 Sportback

Interior

Audi RS 7 Sportback 

 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.

Audi RS 7 Sportback

 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.

Audi RS 7 Sportback

 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.

Audi RS 7 Sportback

 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.

Audi RS 7 Sportback

Performance

Audi RS 7 Sportback 

 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. 

Audi RS 7 Sportback

 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. 

Audi RS 7 Sportback

 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. 

Audi RS 7 Sportback

 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. 

Audi RS 7 Sportback

 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.

Audi RS 7 Sportback

Tech specs
Make Audi
Model RS7
Fuel Petrol
Variant

Performance

Engine Capacity 3993cc
Max. Power (bhp@rpm) 605 @ 6100-6800
Max. torque (Nm@rpm) 750 @ 1750-6000
Gears  eight-speed tiptronic
Length mm 5012
Width mm 1911
Height mm 1419
Wheelbase mm 2915
Fuel Capacity (in litres) 75
Tyre size 275/30 R21
Features
Features  
Audi drive select on steering Yes
Titanium styling package Yes
'Leather with honeycomb stitching  Yes
21-inch alloy wheels with titanium look Yes
Sport exhaust Yes
Heads up display Yes
Sunroof Yes
RS Sport seats Yes
Ambient lighting package Yes
Adaptive air suspension Yes
Competition

 

Specifications Audi
RS7
BMW
6 Series
Variant Performance M6 Gran Coupe
Fuel Petrol Petrol
Engine Capacity 3993cc 4395cc
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
Length mm 5012 5011
Width mm 1911 1899
Height mm 1419 1393
Wheelbase mm 2915 2964
Fuel Capacity (in litres) 75 80
Tyre size 275/30 R21 265/35R20 & 295/30R20

 

Conclusion

 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!

Audi RS 7 Sportback

Pictures: Kapil Angane