- the new audi rs7 offers 591 horsepower from a twin-turbocharged v-8, plus a very attractive new silhouette.
- it will compete with cars such as the mercedes-amg gt 4-door and the bmw m8 gran coupe.
- look for the rs7 to go on sale in the u.s. sometime in 2020 with a starting price around $120,000.
that rumbling you hear coming from the audi stand at the frankfurt auto show this year is the brand's audi sport department revving up for its 25th anniversary. the announcement of the rs6 avant wagon for the u.s. market has already caused a stir, and another highlight is the second-generation audi rs7 sportback which looks far meaner and is significantly more powerful than the a7 on which it's based.
you can't miss the extra width of the rs7 when you first see it. the performance model is 1.6 inches wider at the front fenders. when you throw on the optional 22-inch wheels (21-inchers are standard), the overall impact is a stronger visual character that oozes presence and looks athletic. rs-specific exterior elements include large air intakes, a rear spoiler, oval exhaust tips, and bits of black trim.
looks aren't everything, and the rs7 sportback has upped its powertrain to make sure the driving is commensurate with its appearance. the twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter v-8 engine produces 591 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque, and the rs7 goes from zero to 62 mph in a claimed 3.6 seconds as it stretches towards an electronically limited top speed of 189 mph with the dynamic plus package (with just the dynamic package, the top speed is limited to 174 mph, while the standard rs7 is limited to 155 mph).
all versions of the rs7 have an adaptive air suspension as standard, and the dynamic plus package uses a new air-spring module with a spring rate that is 50 percent stiffer. no matter which package is optioned, the sport suspension in its normal position puts the rs7 0.8 inch lower than an a7. when the rs7 hits speeds above 75 mph, the suspension drops the car another 0.4 inch.
the rs7's sport differential can shift torque between the rear wheels, and the standard eight-speed automatic transmission and quattro permanent all-wheel-drive system can also distribute torque between the front and rear axles. a 40-to-60 ratio is the default, but the system can send up to 70 percent of the power to the front wheels and up to 85 percent to the rear wheels.
the rs7 has a 48-volt hybrid system with a belt-driven motor generator and a small lithium-ion battery that helps efficiency through the use of regenerative braking and engine stop-start. as with the upcoming rs6 avant, the u.s. version of the rs7 will not benefit from the system's capability to coast with the engine off between speeds of 34 and 99 mph. audi's cylinder-deactivation tech is also included.
the rs7's interior continues the sporty tone of the exterior, with a leather sport steering wheel, shift paddles, and standard sport seats in black nappa leather. ventilated front seats with perforated valcona leather are also available. there are some functional rs-only items, such as an rs button on the steering wheel that can be used for quicker access to the customizable rs1 or rs2 drive modes. the new model offers a four-seat arrangement with a two-place rear seat, but there's also a newly available three-place rear bench to bring passenger capacity up to five.
a choice of 13 exterior paint colors includes two that are exclusive to the rs car: nardò
gray and sebring black. there are matte aluminum, black, and carbon exterior styling packages available, as well as rs-specific lighting sequences and ground illumination.
u.s. timing has not yet been announced for the rs7's arrival, but we expect it to go on sale in 2020 with a starting price well north of $100,000.