XCAR: Audi RS 7: Is it the perfect car?
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XCAR: Audi RS 7: Is it the perfect car?5:55 /
Any Audi with RS in its name is as crazy as a crazy thing. We took an RS 7 out to see how the latest superpowered supercoupe is on the road.
In 2009, Audi released the Sportback concept. It was a 4-door coupe akin to the Mercedes CLS albeit with Audi's typical design flare. It previewed 2 cars, the A5 Sportback which is more practical take on the A4-derived A5 Coupe and the A7 Sportback, a more stylish take on the A6. It's the kind of car you go for if you want a halfway house with practicality between a saloon and an estate but wants style neither can provide. The A7 is a fine-looking car and since its 2010 launch Audi saw fit to inject some spice into the mix. In 2012, a 414-brake horsepower 4-liter twin turbo V8 S7 was launched. It's very brisk but not brisk enough for Audi because it's just released this, the indecently powerful RennSport 7. It shares its engine with the S7 but the wick has been turned up somewhat. It's got a dizzying 553-brake horsepower and is beyond silly. That number may seem familiar to you because this car shares an engine with the RS6 which means it can hit 62 in just 3.9 seconds, and if you take the right options box you can hit 189 miles an hour, big, big speed. It's also worth noting that the engine in here as well as being shared with the RS6 is also shared with the V8 Bentley Continental GT, which means it sounds pretty damn awesome. You know what? The RS7 is a massively confidence-inspiring car, and I say that because the Quattro 4-wheel drive system, it means you do have the extra safety net. Each wheel has 140-brake horsepower to deal with, but that can be shuffled around, thanks to Audi's really smart torque vectoring system, so the power is where you need it when you need it, which means you can go into a corner quite hot, and if you go in a little bit too hot the car will sort you out. There are 2 main criticisms leveraged against big fast Audis and that's the ride and the steering. Now the RS6 upon which this is based rides incredibly well, but its steering has been criticized for being a bit numb in feeling this so how does its bigger, most stylish brother stack up? Thankfully it rides incredibly well. Now what we've got here is the standard air suspension. You can spec it with steel springs and dynamic ride control which has lots of iron filings to stiffen up the corners and what have you, but on the standard suspension it's really lovely and comfort mode is very, very floaty. It's a very comfortable place to be. Having naught to 60 in 3.9 is faster than a Porsche 911, and that's quite something in a car this size. It really is otherworldly. Its gearbox works seamlessly. It just changes from gear to gear to gear. It's an 8-speed Tiptronic and it is really, really genuinely good, but the steering isn't that engaging. If I'm honest, it's not the most responsive I suppose. It does feel a little bit numb which is a great shame. It is the car's Achilles heel if it's going to have one, but to justify it to an extent, fast Audis as far as I'm concerned aren't about all-out dynamic, incredible driving and sideways antiques and all of that. Now for that you get an M car. Fast Audis are about big, easy, direct speed. And for that kind of purpose, steering like this is fine. Now this is obviously the first RS7, but this is the first time that there'd been so many RS's available. You can have the RS3, which is the old shape. You can have the RS4, the TT RS, the RS5 in all of its many guises, the RS6 and now the RS7. This being released in 2013 actually makes this almost something of a milestone car. You see 2013 is the 30th anniversary of Quattro and that's an Audi thing. You will only ever find an RS car with the Quattro system on it because Audi firmly believes that it will make it the most capable vehicle available, and I can't help but agree. As far as lineage goes this thing has a pretty awesome grandfather. Of course the original Audi Quattro, the one that beasted Group B. The one that was a king of the road and the lineup just has stunning powerful cars all the way along it. There hasn't really been a properly duff one ever. As lineage goes the RS7 is in very, very, very good company and happily it can match up to all its 4 bests. Audi's done it again. So as well as being able to best the Porsche 911 to 62 and being able to keep up with most things flying out of Italy at the moment, it's also achingly beautiful. In standard trim the A7 is just stunning. Its strong shoulder line and swooping back really do make it stand out in a crowd and Audi has of course tweaked it to put it in RS form. So its giant grills and vents and massive wheel arches make it kind of look like a car we're going to be driving in the future, and then at the back there's 2 giant oval exhausts penning in a massive splitter. It's stunning. It's meaty and it's angry. The RS7 is a type of car you look out when you see other cars in its performance and price set you would think no. It doesn't have the mentalness of an AMG nor the driving precision of an M car. What it does have though is something Audi does wonderfully, easy speed. You put your foot down and off you go to the horizon as many times as you see fit in perfect comfort. It also offers that halfway house between saloon and estates. You get practicality as well. In short, the RS7, yes please.