For some, style must rule over substance and the new Audi RS7 Sportback is aimed squarely at this happy little band of fashionistas.
And this new street rocket has lots of both style and substance because Audi has lifted the stonkingly powerful twin-turbo charged 4.0-litre V8 from the RS6 Avant into the elegant coupe-esque bodywork of the RS7 Sportback to create a beast that combines blistering performance with a catwalk quality silhouette and muscular feline curves.
Naturally, with the same brutish 557 brake horsepower 516ft-lbs of torque engine as its estate sister, the RS7 shares identical performance figures of a 0-60mph time of just 3.9 seconds on the way to a 155mph, 174mph or even 189mph top speeds depending on the performance packs chosen.
Also common to both models is the Formula One technology of cylinders-on-demand where much of the time the car runs as a four cylinder to conserve fuel, producing a claimed 28.8mpg fuel consumption, and only liberating the howling bestial sound of a racing V8 when full power is needed. Standard, too, is adaptive air suspension, which gives the driver three selectable settings of Comfort, Auto or Dynamic to suit the driving mission in hand. For the sporting enthusiasts, the is also the racier Dynamic
Ride Control option giving a much firmer ride thanks to old-school steel springs and three-way adjustable shock absorbers connected by oil lines and a central valve to minimise body roll. I would advise a bit of caution choosing this option with the larger optional 21-inch alloys because UK roads really aren’t the place for the taut ride this combination will deliver!
Other performance aids include an eight- speed tiptronic automatic gearbox able to change ratio faster than the human hand while wavy 390mm steel discs or the option of 420mm carbon fibre-ceramic discs will haul the big car to standstill alarmingly quickly. This is just as well, because using that monstrous power on some of the UK’s narrower roads brings up the next corner a whole lot quicker than you would expect in what is an elegant executive cruiser.
Yet, the array of technical wizardry employed on the RS7, including torque vectoring, sports differential and, naturally, Quattro variable four-wheel drive system, makes this a very safe car to drive briskly. To be fair, in view of the fact the new motor shares so much with the RS6 it’s actually quite hard to differentiate between the two on the road because they both handle and ride almost identically.
But the RS7 will sell as much on its slinky good looks as the performance it provides while the Sportback ‘premium hatch-back’ body liberates a lot of luggage carrying capacity – some 535 litres swelling to a small- van level 1,390 litres with the rear seats folded down.
The fashion-conscious owner will also appreciate the choice of ten exterior colours, including a new Nardo grey and the Daytona grey matt finish, plus three design packages including matt, aluminium or carbon finishing touches. Its interior also reflects a strong design language and boasts figure-hugging super sports seats in quilted Valcona leather with a combination of Alcantara and leather at no extra cost as are more luxurious power adjusted seats instead of the racier numbers.
Equipment is Audi’s usual top class executive kit including Xenon adaptive all-weather headlights and LED tail lamps, RS driver’s information system and BOSE sound system, although you can upgrade to the Bang & Olufsen 15-speaker 1,200 watt system, and also High with Audi connect to bring the power of the web into the car.
So, in view of the similarities the car shares, is the RS7 worth a ticket price of some £7K more than its estate sibling? Well that’s like asking whether a Savile Row suit worth more than one from Jermyn Street!
If cat-like style and grace is your bag then the RS7 will deliver all the longing looks you can handle.
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Engine: 4.0-litre twin turbo
Top Speed: 189mph(unlimited)