Audi RS7 Sportback review
The Audi RS7 Sportback is an incredibly fast four-door coupe that’ll give some supercars a run for their money. It looks great inside too, but alternatives are more involving to drive.
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Plenty of cars come with engines producing 150hp, but there aren’t many models on sale that pump out that much power per passenger. The Audi RS7 Sportback, with its 600hp 4.0-litre V8, is one of them.
This slinky four-door sports car fits into the same uber-fast four-door niche as the Porsche Panamera and Mercedes AMG GT 4-door and gets loads of visual treats to help you tell it apart from the standard A7.
Those massive exhaust tips, for example, are the largest fitted to any Audi RS model and they sit within a completely redesigned rear bumper. Step to the side, and you’ll spot a set of 21-inch alloy wheels that cover beefier brakes and sit within wider wheel arches. In fact, only the bonnet, roof, boot lid and doors are shared with the standard A7 – if you were wondering.
Audi hasn’t made quite so many sporty changes inside the RS 7 Sportback, but you do get some more supportive RS-branded seats with electric adjustment to help drivers of almost any size get comfy. There’s also a flat-bottomed steering wheel and some cool (both to look at, and to touch) aluminium gearshift paddles.
RS logos are scattered liberally about the place too, from the floor mats to the RS-specific dials on the Virtual Cockpit display. This screen looks lovely and it’s dead easy to customise using buttons on the steering wheel. The rest of the infotainment system is pretty easy to get your head around too, but the touch screen heating controls are annoyingly fiddly to use when you’re driving.
Passengers in the back don’t get quite so many toys to keep them distracted, but at least there’s plenty of knee room to go round and you can choose to swap the RS7 Sportback’s standard two-seat configuration for a three-seat bench for the first time. Tall adults will wish there was a little more headroom, however.
One of the Audi RS7 Sportback’s biggest competitors doesn’t come from Mercedes, Porsche or BMW, but Audi itself in the form of the more practical – but equally rapid – RS6 Avant.
You can’t level any space-related complaints at the Audi RS7 Sportback’s boot, though. Sure, it’s smaller than the capacious load bay you get in an Audi A6 Avant, but it’ll swallow more luggage than a Porsche Panamera Turbo or Mercedes-AMG GT 4-door.
Like these cars, the Audi RS7 Sportback comes with a turbocharged V8 petrol engine. It’s pretty much identical to the one you get in an RS6 Avant and produces 600hp. This whopping output is sent through an eight-speed automatic gearbox and split to all four wheels through Audi’s quattro four-wheel-drive system. This, along with a clever launch control system and some seriously wide tyres, helps the RS7 Sportback leap from 0-60mph in less than 3.6 seconds.
How fast your Audi RS7 Sportback can go isn’t determined by its engine, however. Instead, it’s decided by how much you fancy paying Audi when you order it. The RS7 Sportback is limited to 155mph as standard, but you can fork out for various performance packs that use software tweaks to bump this up to 174mph and 190mph – a bit like in-app upgrades on your phone.
You don’t need to pay extra for adaptive air suspension to make the Audi RS7 Sportback comfortable at these speeds though – it comes as standard across the range. This system also lets you stiffen everything up to carve through twisty backroads and works alongside the optional four-wheel steering to help you dispatch hairpin bends without worrying about the RS7 Sportback’s lengthy body clipping any roadside obstacles.
Sure, even with all these features in their sportiest settings, the Audi RS7 Sportback doesn’t feel as playful as a Mercedes-AMG GT 4-door. Its gearbox isn’t as responsive or as quick as that in a Porsche Panamera, either, and the steering doesn’t give you the same level of confidence as in the Porsche on an unfamiliar road.
That said, the Audi RS7 Sportback strikes an excellent balance between B-Road blaster and comfortable cross-country tourer. You’ll just have to decide whether you think its slinky body is worth paying extra for over the equally purposeful, but much more practical, RS6 Avant.