Let’s play p Retend
OK, I’m a racecar driver, and you’re a racecar. Yeah, who are we kidding? wheels’ Dejan Jovanovic gets a second impression from the Audi RS 7 in Dubai
W hen I first drove the RS 7 in Germany last year it wasn’t love at first sight. Well, actually it was, especially in a sinister Nardo grey and with black-accented wheels, but then I drove it and we went our separate ways. That is to say I wanted to go right while the RS 7 wanted to understeer left.
At high speed the RS 7 is a miracle on four wheels, especially since it’s motivated by possibly the greatest twin-turbocharged V8 on the planet. Through gently curving German countryside, on or off the autobahn, you can munch miles to München and never get full – it’s a brilliant grand tourer.
Unfortunately on the back it doesn’t say GT 7. It says RS 7, and that prefix stands for rennsport, which is German for racing basically, or motorsport. Well, that’s a lie.
To be a real sports saloon in the vein of a hot AMG or BMWM
product, it needs a complete rethink. The RS 7 is fundamentally flawed from the beginning, with its glorious V8 shunned to the naughty corner ahead of the front axle. This gives it a fairly rubbish weight distribution of nearly 60:40 the wrong way round, while the car’s sport differential splits torque 40:60 favouring the rear. Couple that to electronic steering with absolutely zero feel or connectedness to the driver and it’s back-of-the-grid rennsport at best. A sportscar it ain’t, comes up in less than four seconds and 200kph may as well take another four but by then trying to anchor the thing down is terrifying. There’s nowhere in the country to drive this thing. Its best attribute – gloriously fast and safe GT driving – is completely lost on our dead-straight roads with Big Brother stationed every two klicks.
When let loose, say from coast to coast, the RS 7 can hardly be beaten and I include machines from Bentley and co in that statement. It even rides nicely, especially with optional air suspension and despite costlier 21in wheels with lower-profile tyres.
I keep coming back to the engine. It’s obviously what you’re paying for because they didn’t bother much with the rest – the 4.0-litre twin-turbo is my favourite mega-power German V8 at the moment, with buttery power delivery and 700Nm from 1,750rpm.
Somehow they’ve managed to make it sound like Somme circa 1916. Everyone needs to experience this kind of corruptive power, if only to comprehend their universal triviality.
So why have I praised the RS 6 Avant and fallen out with the basically
They’ve managed to make it sound like the Somme circa 1916
but then again I argued the same thing about the M6 Gran Coupé, which is all but undriveable with the electronics switched off and too heavy to be truly enjoyed if you manage to tame it anyway.
So I figured the RS 7 may give a better second impression here in the UAE, but we’re still trying to go our separate ways. I just don’t get it. (I especially don’t get all-wheel drive in our climate.) It weighs two tonnes. The kinetic energy is scary – 100kph identical RS 7 Sportback? Because the Avant laughs at itself while the RS 7 is much too serious – mate, you’re just not as special as you think.
I drove the Avant on the autobahn and touched 270-280kph in an estate that can take a family, the dog and your luggage, while shrugging its shoulders. It doesn’t pretend to be rennsport, but it lives up to being a bonkers, usable family time traveller. I can’t stand pretenders…
Great, now I haveThe Pretenders in my head.