Baby, I’m howl­ing for you

The RS 7 Per­for­mance is sen­sory over­load, has a su­per­car’s al­ter ego and could, well, soil your pants

The Luxury Collection - - Corneliani - -By Anand Mohan

293kmph. That num­ber stays in my mind ev­ery time I look at an RS 7. We found an ar­row straight closed road a cou­ple of years ago and Audi lent me the RS 7 for a day. I saw 293kmph on the dig­i­tal in­stru­ment clus­ter down the straight and then my pe­riph­eral vi­sion went into shock. It’s ap­par­ently called tun­nel vi­sion after that. The RS 7 is that kind of bal­lis­tic. A sports coupe with four doors, leather up­hol­stery and a boot big enough to shift houses, that car could hit 300kmph if you had a long enough road and it would give you the con­fi­dence to stay pinned to the throt­tle ev­ery time you at­tempted to do it. You, of course, would be star­ing at the in­sides of a prison cell if it was a pub­lic road. Any­way, here’s my point – it made 552bhp, and on ten days out of ten, you wouldn’t say that you needed more power, but some­one in the prod­uct de­vel­op­ment depart­ment at Audi thought other­wise. Meet the RS 7 Per­for­mance, the car you see in th­ese pic­tures. It looks the same as be­fore but don’t be fooled. It’s mad­der than you ever thought an RS 7 could ever be.

I’ll get to the num­bers later though. When you step into the RS 7 Per­for­mance, turn in to its sporti­est set­ting, get the sports ex­haust on and launch it, you will for­get ev­ery word but one in the English lan­guage, and it’s not in the Ox­ford dictionary. F*#k! Five me­ters of Audi real es­tate squats on its rear wheels, the front wheels get lighter as weight is trans­ferred to the back, and cat­a­pults into the hori­zon at a speed that will pos­i­tively re­ar­range your in­tes­tine after a heavy break­fast. Cor­rupt­ing speed, ex­plo­sive ac­cel­er­a­tion and an ex­haust loud enough to make deaf peo­ple hear again, the RS 7 Per­for­mance howls alright. You’d want to stay on the gas all the time, not for the speed but the sound. You will start scout­ing for tun­nels and un­der­passes, park­ing lots, any place that will am­plify that ex­haust. It’s Beethoven for petrol­heads.

So loud pops and crack­les on the over­run, a sonorous build up to its red­line and just 3.7 sec­onds later, I am north of 100kmph. I swear the 3.7 sec­onds feel like the fastest 3.7 sec­onds I’ve ex­pe­ri­enced in a long long time, just be­cause this car is so un­der­stated that you can’t guess in your wildest dreams that it could go that fast. There’s 45bhp more power and 50Nm of ex­tra torque over the – dare I say it – stan­dard RS 7. Be­cause noth­ing about the RS 7 is reg­u­lar or stan­dard. It’s an au­to­bahn mis­sile that was built for purely de­vour­ing high­ways like a starv­ing tiger chomps on its prey. With 597bhp and 750Nm, there’s ab­so­lutely noth­ing with four doors and a booty for a boot that will go so fast, put its power down on the road so ef­fi­ciently and make you look like a driv­ing god.

The RS 7 is fool proof in the way it drives. Be­sides the bit about mask­ing its speed so well, any­one with de­cent re­flexes can go fast in the car and that’s great be­cause you get that much more ac­ces­si­ble per­for­mance. The adap­tive sus­pen­sion rides very well de­spite its wafer thin side walls, it has got light con­trols and the driv­ing po­si­tion is just per­fect. You could get in and drive it like you would with any Audi south of an R8 and it would love to be treated that way too, as a reg­u­lar fam­ily sedan. But say the fam­ily is a bit bored, has had a tough week at work, or school or with the mother in law, and you de­cide that the mood needs a quick change, give them the RS 7 ther­apy. Hap­pi­ness is just a heavy right foot away.

There is so much more though. The front sus­pen­sion is set up slightly softer to re­duce un­der­steer so it’s great around corners. The Qu­at­tro all wheel drive sys­tem keeps the rear in­ter­ested and be­cause the sys­tem is so smart about feed­ing the right wheel with the right amount of power, the speeds you can do through a se­ries of bends are mind numb­ing. There’s just a 4-litre tur­bocharged V8 un­der the hood and when you are cruis­ing, the on-board com­puter will shut down four cylin­ders to save you fuel. Don’t be fool­ish though. You would have bought an A4 other­wise. You drive an RS 7 lead footed till it’s legally per­mis­si­ble and then you curse your luck for not be­ing on the un­re­stricted sec­tions of the Ger­man au­to­bahn. That head­line fig­ure of 293kmph I started this story with is not about brag­ging rights or prov­ing that I’ve got two wreck­ing balls be­tween my legs. It’s to prove a point that driv­ing this car that fast is pos­si­ble with­out swal­low­ing your brave pills for break­fast.

I’ve driven M cars and AMGS with over 500 horse­power at over 250kmph on sev­eral oc­ca­sions, a few of which have been on the au­to­bahn, but with the Qu­at­tro equipped Audis, the con­fi­dence you feel be­hind the wheel is hard to match at high speed. I’m not say­ing that the other cars are bad in any way, but when only your rear wheels are driven, there’s the fear of you fac­ing the other side of the road in one fool­ish mo­ment. You don’t feel that fear in an RS 7 Per­for­mance, de­spite men­tal 597 thor­ough­bred Ger­man horses at the peak of their testos­terone lev­els.

It’s hard to speak about the way the RS 7 Per­for­mance looks with the ex­plo­sions from its tail pipes and the time travel lev­els of speed it can gen­er­ate. There’s just not enough time. But you park it in an open space around sun­set and stop to gaze at its ex­te­ri­ors and it will mes­mer­ize you. The un­der­stated lines might fool the un­trained eye but for those in the know, the flared wheel arches, the 21 inch wheels and the bulged bon­net re­veal the re­strained ag­gres­sion it is hid­ing. The RS 7 is beau­ti­ful in its lines and manic when it moves.

The RS 7 Per­for­mance is too much for your senses – you hear the loud ex­haust, you feel the sweat in your palms, you smell the sweet fra­grance of 97 oc­tane petrol and you see the world go­ing by at a ridicu­lously alarm­ing rate in your win­dows. The most im­por­tant of your five senses though is taste, and oh boy, if you’ve got an RS 7 Per­for­mance parked in your garage, you’ve got good taste in cars.

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