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
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.