Audi’s new 4-door 552bhp RS 7 Sportback has finally been officially revealed to the public at this year’s prestigious Detroit Motor Show. Coming from the same stable as the RS 6, the RS 7 will square up to the Mercedes CLS63 AMG and the BMW M6 Gran Coupe in a battle for the rich man’s wallet.
With a top speed of 189mph (depending on spec) leaping from the 4-litre twin turbo V8 and a price tag of around £84,000 OTR one would expect top of the range handling from this beast, and most interesting I thought, was the adaptive air suspension. Although it’s already rumoured that here in the UK we will get the sports suspension package (steel springs) as standard rather than air.
Air suspension provides one of the most comfortable rides you can get on a car and Audi say that their adaptive air suspension provides a silky smooth ride that can be adapted to the road conditions, providing at the touch of a button, the choice between comfort, dynamic, offroad, lift or automatic.
The overall look of the RS 7 is aggressive, with prominent side-skirts and a glossy black grille flanked by evil, slanted headlights. Inside, black and grey abound with a familiarly pleasing dashboard layout plus a flat bottomed steering wheel – a nice touch if you’ve ever puzzled over the shiny patch at the top of the leg of your trousers for days like I have.
With 553bhp and 516 lb/ft of torque, and a 0-60 potential of just under 4 seconds, you might be forgiven for wondering if you may need to programme in every petrol station for every journey on the sat nav, but engine design has come on in leaps and bounds over the past few years and this Audi promises around 28.8mpg thanks to stop/start and cylinder-on-demand technologies.
Cylinder-on-demand (COD) technology is interesting, and effectively means the engine will run as a 4-cylinder until full power is required. It does this by ‘shutting down’ the exhaust and intake valves for cylinders 2, 3, 5 and 8. The change from 4 cylinder to 8 cylinder happens in just a few hundredths of a second. In a roundabout way, it reminds me of the old Weber twin choke carburettor – push the throttle and at a certain point when required, extra power was available. Tune it right, and economy (for it’s day) was improved.
Another interesting thing to note about the RS 7 engine is the switchable flaps in the exhaust, meaning you can to a certain extent tune the sound of your engine. And if you really want to stand out from the crowd once you’ve tuned your exhaust note go for the matt black paint option with the gloss black detail replaced by carbon fibre.
The Audi super-coupe will arrive in the UK later this year and dealer ordering opens in the summer. Plenty of time to start saving then.
Images from Audi and carmagazine.co.uk