The magnificence of a resplendent German sports car emancipated with the freedom to explore open pathways like Triple Crown winners was evident during my test drive in the valleys of Nevada recently. Nevertheless, this was not thoroughbred racing, we’re speaking about Truth In Engineering as it relates to the 2014 Audi RS 7 which topped 174 mph at a top-secret high-speed test facility outside of Las Vegas. As expected, resilience manifests when quattro GmbH’s three key pillars — Sporty, Progressive and Sophisticated — are integrated into one machine. Erstaunlich!
“It was a good day” is an understatement of the emotions conjured after accelerating in our Misano Red pearl effect RS 7 quattro Tiptronic. Opportunities were limitless in this $104,900 4-door sports car. From a consumer perspective it’s the consummate Audi if you’re looking for performance to quell aggressive desires. Differentiating the RS 7 from the standard A7 is a specialized task left up to quattro GmbH whose vision for the brand is geared towards exclusivity and individuality. Under their roof resides the Audi collection or lifestyle accessories portfolio, Audi Sport customer racing (Sold 120 R8s around the globe, with approximately 10 cars in the US), Audi exclusive or vehicle individualization program (such as the exclusive hue RS Blue) and High performance cars like their four latest models – RS 5 Cabrio, RS 6 Avant, RS 7 and RS Q3 – as well as the division’s current lineup – RS 4 Avant, R8 PA, TT RS and RS 5 Coupe. “We are taking Audi to the limit… and we have just begun,” are quattro GmbH’s marching orders. Steadily seeing constant growth annually, quattro GmbH will end the year just below 15,000 units sold, an increase of 30% from 2012.
This year marks quattro GmbH’s 30th anniversary with the RS 7 setting off a critical mass of excitement initiated by its invigorating 4-liter TFSI V8 producing 560-horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque. The sleek sports car is capable of sprinting from 0 to 60 mph in a blistering 3.7 seconds and runs up to 100 mph instantaneously as if it’s taking a casual stroll through the park. And it doesn’t need a lot of space to do so either. The only good problem is that it’s challenging staying within speed limits because the RS 7 is so fluid and relaxing even when the motor is operating intensively. On the opposite spectrum of performance are EPA numbers equating to 16 city and 27 highway mpg with Audi cylinder on demand, an intuitive but not inventive technology that deactivates cylinders when such power is not required.
Accompanied with quattro AWD, an 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission (borrowed from the S8 and modified) and the RS Adaptive air suspension. The 4.0-liter V8 harmoniously works in favor of the driver’s riding characteristics: sporty or efficient. A taller 8th gear has been applied to optimize fuel consumption. To put the driver in control simply throw the shifter to the left for manual operation and each gear will be held to redline. You may also use the integrated steering wheel paddle shifters. For comparison, the S7 model is engineered with Audi’s 7-speed double clutch transmission. An optional, aggressive suspension dubbed DRC — Dynamic Ride Control — utilizes a 3-stage damper set-up for those who want the ultimate performance out of their RS 7. It is better suited in regions with flat roads and for those who don’t mind a stiffer ride. The standard air suspension is beneficial for inner cities and places with rougher roads since it provides enough body roll for more feedback. Audi has discovered that quattro not only performs well in inclement weather, but has massively demonstrated that all-wheel drive is best for elevated driving. You can turn into and accelerate out of corners at higher speeds. With a 40/60 front to back torque split and a sport differential (specific to RS 7), the system sends power to the wheels with optimal traction. Now you see Mercedes-Benz’ AMG instilling all of their performance cars with 4MATIC all-wheel drive. Coincidence? I don’t think so!
Aesthetically, a confluence of factors are ascribed to the powerful stance and intensity of the RS 7’s silhouette. Enhancements from a typical A7 include but are not limited to aluminum mirror covers, special LEDS, new front bumper with vertical air intakes, rocker panels, chin spoiler, new rear bumper with large dual tail pipes and a rear diffuser. The RS 7 is one of the ultra lightweight technology cars — constructed as if made for Superman. The combination of high-strength steels, aluminum and carbon fiber components enhance the RS 7 with stiffness, agility and safety. Choose from three exterior packages, Standard, Matte Aluminum and Carbon, and interior craftsmanship inclusive of Carbon fiber, Layered Aluminum/black wood and Valcona leather sport seats with honeycomb patterns to synthesize your Audi with unique flavor. Our vehicle was optimized with the $950 Matte Aluminum Optic package, $1,300 Layered Aluminum/black wood inlays, $1,000 21” 5-spoke Blade-design rims wrapped in 275/30 ZR21 Pirelli rubber and the $1,000 Sport exhaust that reverberates magnificently. The other outstanding audio package comes in the form of the optional $5,900 Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System to go along with the magnetic interior of the RS 7.
Not so long ago sports cars were purely sports cars and only provided their owners with mechanical benefits in the form of speed. Today is a new era of automotive engineering. Safety and convenience are just as important as G-forces and quarter mile times. Audi MMI integrates all vehicle entertainment and system setups such as Google Maps, which display actual topography, buildings and points of interests in real time. The Head Up Display (bundled with the $2,800 Innovation package) keeps you aware of vehicle speed without looking down at the speedometer. The highlight safety innovation is the $2,800 Driver Assistance package which offers Audi active lane assist — uses steering to bring the vehicle back into its lane — Audi pre sense plus with 4 stages of impending collision warnings working within milliseconds and Audi adaptive cruise control with stop and go which can actually brake completely.
Life is full of wonderments. Desires are as intriguing and diverse as political opinions. If an exclusive performance vehicle with luxury accoutrements suited for your lifestyle is the goal, then the solution is a RS 7 from quattro GmbH. The truth is in the engineering.