On a gloomy cloudy day, when everything was all dreary and
one could sense a heavy downpour any moment, we were given two of the best
things in the world, an open road and the keys to the Audi RS7 Sportback.
Last year, back in January, Audi had launched the RS7
Sportback in India, and we had been crying over the phone to Audi to let us
have a go at it ever since. It’s taken a while, but now we finally got it in
our possession. So what has Audi’s Quattro division done to the regular A7
Sportback? Well they firstly removed the measly 3 litre V6 and fitted it with a
4 litre V8 with twin turbos mounted between the cylinders heads which gives it
560bhp and 700Nm of Torque. The car weighs just over 2500 kilograms which is a
lot, but understandable. Unlike its rivals though, (the CLS AMG and M6 Grand
Coupe) who only have to make do with two wheel drives, the RS7 is four wheel
drive all the time which is all well and nice on paper, but how does it fare on
tarmac? We will get back to that shortly.
Firstly let’s take a look at the interior. The cabin looks
as busy as Times Square when you see it first, but it’s actually quite simple.
At the push of a button, the Audi MMI display screen slides out of the front
dash. This along with the aluminium knob on the centre console lets you
navigate through the brilliantly easy, idiot proof, system. It’s so easy to
use, you can send the family dog to go and set the sat-nav before you head out.
Above the knob are a few more buttons which handle some other features like the
radio and the electronic hand brake next to the gear lever. The steering wheel
is nice and thick, with a flat bottom and brilliant grip. The buttons on the
steering are the same as all Audis these days. The rake and reach adjustability
is extremely easy and so is the cruise control which can be done with just a
touch of a button. You just bring the car up to the speed you want the car to
maintain, and just press the button and the car will maintain that speed. Back
to the centre console… the front dual zone climate control can take some time
to figure out but you usually just use the knobs and a couple of the buttons
anyway. It’s the same with the controls for the dual zone in the rear. This
560bhp monster also has a massive boot with 535 litres of space and it can seat
4 people in case anyone needs to convince their spouse that it’s essential to
get the kids to school on time. Apart from all of that, the buttons are my
favourite. Push the start button and the dial in front goes all theatrical, the
needles max out and return to their positions, which is quite cool when you see
it with all the lights glowing. Then there is the roar from the engine, with
the push of the start button, the engine comes to life and screams a baritone
shimmering the rear with the vibrations. The same vibrations you get when the
Spartans march into town. I have seen and heard them in the movies!
From the outside, you can tell it’s not a normal Audi, but
only if you have a keen eye for detail. Even with its flat grey paint, it
doesn’t drag attention like any other car in its power range would. It looks
like a regular 4 door saloon, which it actually is but it looks harmless, calm,
and docile. It’s inconspicuous, but if you let it loose, it will bite your head
Put it in comfort, everything is all gooey and soft, put it
to automatic and the car changes its characteristics with an educated guess
while assessing how you’re driving. You can also set it to individual and make
the settings yourself but if you don’t want to bother with any of that just
simply put it into Dynamic mode and awaken the 560 wild horses and the
acceleration is sickening, I mean truly sickening. 0-100kmph the RS7 devours it
in just 3.9 seconds and keeps going to 250kmph and to top it all off, is the
baritone from the archives of Beethoven’s symphonies through the exhaust. Apart
from the exhaust, there is the sound from the engine. Even though the 8 speed
ZF gearbox feels like it’s made out of lard and you never really feel the gear
changes, mostly because the transmission is just so good and partly because
Audi has directed the fuel injectors to drop a blob of fuel into the cylinders
every time a gear is changed and the result of that is a loud burp of fuel
being burnt. The blob of fuel is basically there to regain the power that is
lost in those milliseconds the car is busy changing gears to compensate and in
conjugation with its four wheel drive system from Quattro AG, the acceleration
will make you wish you didn’t have that full plate of butter chicken before you
set off. To our knowledge, there is probably no other car especially in its
segment that goes off the line quicker than this animal. While competitors
would be spinning their wheels and would be being stationary for quite a long
time, they would also be left like little dots in the Audi’s mirrors.
When you introduce the RS7 to some corners, it just sails
through with no drama at all thanks to the Quattro four wheel drive system.
This car isn’t meant to go sideways in; it’s serious German engineering with no
sense of humor. But usually four wheel drive cars tend to have a whiff of
understeer at high speed cornering; Audi has addressed that with torque
vectoring. So when you tell the car to turn right, what the traction control
does is, it uses its massive ceramic disc brakes harder on the wheels on the
right and sends more power to the wheels on the left, or when you turn left, it
would do the same to the wheels again to the other side. Acting like
centripetal force, torque vectoring allows to eliminate as much as understeer
as possible and the result is blisteringly fast. The limit of the RS7 is the
driver, as long as the driver knows what he is doing and his threshold to
G-forces determines how fast this car can actually go.
The ride quality of the RS7 with its adaptive air
suspension, when in Comfort mode, you can really feel the difference in change
from Dynamic how the car behaves, even at low speeds. But if you use the feline
friendly MMI to navigate the infotainment system, you can set the dampers,
engine, transmission and throttle to your liking, in either in auto or dynamic
mode. In addition, you can also change every component from braking, steering,
suspension, steering, engine, transmission individually. To enjoy a comfortable
ride and pump up the performance of the powertrain and leave the suspension in
soft gooey mode when driving along, but bring it back down obviously in city
traffic which would make it more economical. But you don’t buy this car to be economical.
You buy it for its pure joy and essence of acceleration.
Let’s get to the practicality of the things now shall we?
The RS7 Sportback has a price tag of Rs.1,35,93,000/- and that is before all the
paperwork. Then there is the fuel consumption, which won’t be something to brag
about to your friends at a party, but all isn’t lost quite yet. You can still
convince your significant other that because of the 4 seats and the large boot,
you can still use it every day and drop and pick up the kids from school. Also
another pointer is that with 6 airbags, safety is assured in addition to the
parking sensors, ABS and the massive Carbon Ceramic ventilated disc brakes. So
if you can shell out the cash, then there is one thing I can and I will tell
you. When the Rolling Stones said that wild horses couldn’t drag them away,
they had never witnessed the power of the 560 wild horses in the RS7 Sportback!
4.0 litre, V8 twinturbo DOHC
8-speed tiptronic with DSP
and sports programme with paddle shift
560bhp @ 5700-6600rpm
700Nm @ 1750-5500rpm
Superplus sulfur free high
Top speed (Kmph)
Air Suspension with Dynamic
Five link suspension, double
upper and lower wishbone, anti-roll bar
axle with wishbone, anti-roll bar
Ventilated Discs with fixed
calipers and hydraulic brake assist
Pirelli 275/35 ZR20
Kerb Weight (Kgs)
4WD with torque vectoring
Price (ex-showroom Delhi)
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