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Review: Audi RS7

Driven March 2014

Review: Audi RS7

By now, you all know just like BMW has the M division and Mercedes has the AMG division, Audi has the RS division. With the RS7 though, Audi have taken an A7, lit a fire in front of it, chanted aggressively, danced around it like they were possessed, broke a coconut at the end of it all and slapped some RS badges like they were beauty spots. Because I don’t think it is possible to use engineering or other fields of science and technology to make a four-door, four-seat sedan, weighing two tonnes get to a 100kph in 3.93 seconds. It has to be black magic or one of the darker arts.

To give you some perspective, 1987’s Porsche 959, considered one of Porsche’s most advanced road cars took 3.7 seconds to get to a 100. The Ferrari F40, from the same year -- considered the greatest supercar even today -- took 4.1 seconds. And that had a string instead of a door handle to save weight. So considering the swathe of leather, luxury, space and practicality on offer in the RS7, 3.93 seconds in 2014 for a four-door car should make Mach 3 seem like just half a century away.

The car we got had superb-looking but back-breaking 21-inch wheels with very low profile rubber. And that did not help the ride. But you’d be amazed at how accurate this car is around corners. It’s never fun. It’s never supercar or sportscar natural around corners. But it sticks around a curve like spider on a web. In place of the RS5’s naturally aspirated V8, the RS7 gets a turbo-charged 4-litre V8. As far as noise is concerned, it’s a no-contest. The RS5 wins with its loud, revvy, naturally-aspirated goodness. But the RS7’s 552bhp of power and 700Nm of torque as early as 1750rpm is what makes all the bloody difference. At 552, it’s more than a 100 horses in addition to the RS5’s 444bhp. And if you keep the engine in Dynamic mode and be a bit hard on the throttle, you can hear the comforting sound of a violent V8.

So is it safe to entrust ordinary people with power that shames an old Ferrari? If it does, shouldn’t there be a lot of computers ruining the experience in trying to keep the car in check? Tell you what, the RS7’s got idiot-proof handling. Throw into whatever bend at whatever speed, it simply does your bidding. You won’t enjoy the finer nuances of balance and handling, but you will never complain over a lack of will. And while the steering isn’t an epitome of feedback, it doesn’t keep altering intensity based on some trigonometric calculation constantly intruding into your driving.

The only chink in the RS7’s dull but competent dynamics is the eight-speed single clutch automatic transmission. From a company that makes delightful dual-clutch seven-speeders in cars like the R8 and the RS5, this is disappointing. But I guess, it may have something to do with the 700Nm of torque. For the record, the RS7 is the most powerful road car Audi produces. Thankfully, the RS7 isn’t a power-monger that just lights up in smoke in a straight line or goes all over the place around a corner. It’s extremely simple to drive, and all that power is as easy to handle as a pram with a sleeping baby in it. And it has comfortable rear seats, proper rear doors, a massive boot and is orbit-defying fast. Any questions?

The numbers
3,993cc V8 turbo-petrol, 552bhp, 700Nm, 8A AWD, 1,995kg, 75 litres fuel capacity, 535 litres (min)/1390 (max) boot capacity, 0-100kph: 3.93 secs (60 metres), 80-0kph: 2.52secs (25.49 metres), 30-50kph: 0.97secs, 50-70kph: 1.34secs, City kpl: 5.3, Highway kpl: 5.9, Average kpl: 5.6, Rs 1.7 crore (on-road, Mumbai)

The verdict
The best value four-door hypersedan out there

Sriram Narayanan

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