You could be forgiven for thinking that the previous model was an understated bahnstormer – a sleeper for the executive who wanted to fly under the radar. Thanks largely to beefier styling, the 2020 Audi RS7 Sportback is now anything but a stealth bomber.
Park the old RS7 next to an RS6 Avant and it unequivocally looked like the meeker sibling – despite the power, torque and performance that lurked beneath its steeply raked roof line. Do that now with the 2020 siblings, though, and it’s an entirely different matter. Now, the RS7 looks as aggressive and purposeful as the RS badging indicates.
Flared guards embody the 42mm width increase and the pumped styling ensures the RS7 looks lower, meaner and more hunkered down than before. Our launch models ride on whopping (standard) 22-inch wheels filling those bulbous arches perfectly.
Whereas the only real criticism of the previous RS7 related to soft or understated styling, this 2020 model is nothing if not purposeful.
Performance and brawn of this depth don’t come cheap, and pricing for the RS7 Sportback starts from $224,000 before on-road costs.
We’ll work through the options list and pricing once we get an RS7 into the garage for testing, but one launch model was bumped up to $235,000 before on-road costs and the other up to $258,050 before on-road costs. Suffice to say, the bottom line can climb quickly if you get excited with the options choices.
Still, the base RS7 without any options is hardly lacking…
When an Audi has a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, an eight-speed Tiptronic gearbox and quattro AWD, you’ve got every right to expect mountainous power and torque figures. For those of you so inclined, the RS7 doesn’t disappoint.
The V8 generates 441kW between 6000–6250rpm and 800Nm between 2050–4500rpm and thunders the big four-door from 0–100km/h in 3.6 seconds. Claimed fuel use is 11.6L/100km on the combined cycle, which we’ll test when we spend more time with the RS7.
Does a big, weighty car of this nature feel fast, even though the numbers indicate that it is? Yep, you bet it does. It has an insulated, effortless feel to it, though, which masks some of the speed you’re piling on.
Audi’s 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit is, as always, excellent. The way in which the driver integrates with the car and the main controls is seamless and orderly. The tiered design of the control system – Virtual Display high for the driver, infotainment in the centre and HVAC below that – is neat and beautifully laid out.
Tactile touchscreen functionality also worked faultlessly at launch.
The standard ventilated RS sport front seats, afforded longish stints behind the wheel in comfort. The general feeling of insulation and isolation inside the cabin is excellent, and perfect for this style of cosseted executive express. Wind and road noise are also kept to a minimum, even on coarse-chip country roads.
Keep the second row in use and you get 535L of storage behind that capacious liftback door. Fold those seats down and it expands to a very handy 1390L. Yes, the RS7 is a big car, but that’s very useful – not to mention family friendly – storage for something so fearsome at the limit. You can therefore raise the practicality argument despite the fact that this is an unabashed performance car.
We’ll delve into specific performance a little more when we wind into a longer drive, but the balance with which the RS7 can attack a set of corners is astonishing for a vehicle of its size. Even a short drive illustrates the fearsome capability and will leave you looking for a track day to explore the outer reaches. Y
es, you need to be switched on, and yes, you need to be aware that you’re hustling a big car, but it’s sharp, precise and beautifully balanced as you push it harder.
It seems on face value as if the revised styling of the new RS7 Sportback will ensure that it appeals to more buyers than the old model – largely because it now looks as aggressive as the numbers indicate. There’s no doubt it’s a proper performance four-door wrapped in a sensible and practical skin.