The Audi RS 7 is unlike anything on the road. It’s powerful, sleek, and oddly practical. It doesn’t easily fit into a particular category.
Is it a supercar? Nope — it has four doors and a ton of storage space, two features that supercars typically lack.
Is it a supersedan? Sort of, but it has a hatchback like an old Honda CRX.
So … it’s a fun little hot hatchback? No! It’s 16 feet long and costs 240 grand.
A four-door coupe? Perhaps.
When earlier this year Business Insider got the chance to spend a few days behind the wheel of a 2015 Audi RS 7 4.0T quattro Tiptronic, I was on a mission to figure out what this beast is all about.
Audi took the stylish A7 luxury cruiser and handed it over to the mad scientists at the brand's high-performance Quattro division, where they promptly pushed the envelope on everything that car can do.
Quattro replaced the A7's 'reasonable' engine with a 4.0-litre V8 and then added twin-turbos for good measure. With an earth-moving 560 horsepower, the RS 7 is the most powerful Audi.
Quattro then installed a sports suspension, massive performance brakes, and 21-inch wheels shod with sticky sports tires.
The result is a car Audi claims will hit 100kmh in 3.7 seconds, with a top speed of 280kmh (which is limited by the car's computers). The European specification RS 7 can hit 305kmh.
Incredibly, Audi seems to be under-reporting its performance figures. Car and Driver magazine's RS 7 test car made the sprint to 100kmh in 3.4 seconds, while Motor Trend casually hit 309kmh on Germany's no-speed-limit Autobahn highway with the Euro-spec car. In all likelihood, a pro driver on a test track could go north of the 320kmh mark.
Even with the conservative performance figures, the RS 7 is still one of the fastest passenger cars sold in North America.
When fitted with Audi's self-driving tech, the RS 7 can lap Germany's Hockenheimring Formula One racetrack at nearly 240kmh without a human driver.
As impressive as the RS 7 is on paper, it's even more enjoyable to drive. Which is pretty much crazy.
From a standstill the Audi zips through the ZF-made automatic transmission's 8 speeds. The car grips like its riding on Velcro tires. Its engine just keeps coming in a never-ending surge of acceleration. And this twin-turbo V8 is enthusiastic about producing power, like a persistent salesman always reminding you he's got more power if you want it.
As you rumble down the road, speed builds effortlessly like a rolling tide restricted only by traffic and the law.
And when the roads do get bendy, Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive system, advanced aerodynamics, and electronic stability control make the RS 7 feel as if it's embracing the road, even when pushed a bit on slippery asphalt. This thing is riding on rails!
When you finally remind yourself to take a breath and settle into the cabin, you immediately realise something. It's a really nice place to be.
In line with other Audis, the RS7 has one of the finest interiors in the business -- not just because of the high-quality materials the company has used but rather it's the beautifully rendered LCD, the brilliantly laid out controls and switches, and a bulletproof infotainment system. Not to mention some of the most comfortable seats I've ever sat in.
Especially when you fold down the rear seats. This came in handy when I took the RS 7 to IKEA on a rainy Saturday afternoon.
The RS 7 fit in perfectly at the store's loading dock. I used it the same way I would a crossover SUV.
Sure, the $AU238,500 base price is kind of steep, but the RS 7 a product that's truly unlike any of its would-be competitors.
The BMW M6 Gran Coupe is incredibly fast and one of the finest sports sedans in the world. But its interior is cramped and it lacks the RS 7's versatility.
The Mercedes-Benz CLS 63 AMG is gorgeous and has more power, but it doesn't have the RS 7's cargo capacity.
Then there's the ground-breaking Tesla Model S P85D. It's about the same price and it hits 100kmh in just 3.1 seconds. But it's limited by its proximity to a Supercharger. You can get better acceleration from the P90D with Ludicrous Mode -- 0-100 in under 3 seconds, Tesla says. But by the time you're done paying for, you could actually spend more than you would on the RS 7.
Back to our original question: What is an RS 7? Is it a supercar or a supersedan, a coupe or even a hatchback?
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