From £87,6107
Did Audi's RS7 need an extra 44bhp and 37lb ft? No, it didn't. Regardless, this Performance model has just that – and we've driven it in the UK

Our Verdict

Audi RS7

New all-wheel-drive RS7 Sportback mixes 552bhp punch of the RS6 with sleek looks of the A7, but rivals like the Porsche Panamera offer a more composed and complete package

  • First Drive

    2016 Audi RS7 Performance review

    Did Audi's RS7 need an extra 44bhp and 37lb ft? No, it didn't. Regardless, this Performance model has just that – and we've driven it in the UK
  • First Drive

    Audi RS7 Sportback first drive review

    Hottest version of the Audi RS7 offers high-power thrills, but the firm suspension brought as part of the Dynamic Ride Control spoils the package

What is it?

That's right, if you were about to lay down £85,485 for an Audi RS7, then wait. Because if you can find another £6500 down the back of the chaise longue, you can have this Audi RS7 Performance instead. Stumping up the extra gets you another 44bhp at the bi-turbo V8's top end and 37lb ft more torque, taking the Performance's totals to 597bhp and 553lb ft - the latter on overboost. 

The Performance suffix is an apt one. The standard car isn't exactly slow, but with this upgrade Audi claims it can now charge from 0-62mph in just 3.7sec (an improvement of 0.2sec over the regular RS7) and will hit 124mph in just a smidgen over 12 seconds. It tops out at an electronically limited 155mph, or, if you've a screw loose, you can pay even more to have that figure raised to 189mph. 

Also included over the standard RS7 are larger, 21in alloy wheels, a sports exhaust system, a drive mode select button on the steering wheel, more privacy glass and blue stitching on the RS7's sports seats. A Titanium pack is also standard, which turns the RS7's lip spoiler, mirrors, diffuser and air intake ducts a pleasing shade of titanium grey.

What's it like?

The RS7 Performance falls into a special group of cars, cars in which, should you commit to full throttle (in any driving mode, on wet or dry roads), you need to be 100% certain that the next half-mile of road is absolutely clear. Without doubt, Volkswagen Group's twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 that powers the RS7 Performance remains one of the most impressive ways there currently is of combusting fuel in return for forward motion. That said, you'd be hard pushed to feel the Performance's extra on the road. 

We were surprised to see our press example relatively free of options; indeed, it's possible to spend more than £8000 on carbon-ceramic brakes alone, and many will be tempted by Audi's Dynamic Package Plus pack. At nearly £11k, the pack includes those brakes, allows the Performance to hit that aforementioned unrestricted top speed, swaps the car's suspension to Audi's RS Dynamic set-up from the as-standard adjustable air springs and introduces the firm's dynamic steering set-up.

Experience tells us that the above extras will improve an RS7's handling, and judging by the heat pouring off the ticking standard brakes of our car (with only optional parking and safety packs added) after a lengthy, meandering strop, the ceramics at least may be worth the money if you plan to head out on track once in a while.

That's not to say the pace at which our car crossed wet and dry countryside was anything short of staggering. Bearing in mind that the RS7 weighs more than two tonnes with people and fuel on board, the combination of its sheer mechanical grip and rear-biased all-wheel-drive system ensure it takes a huge amount of overcooking before the front wheels begin to drift wide.

What's missing is a real sense of connection with what's going on. The standard steering is the biggest culprit, feeling too heavy in Dynamic mode and a little light in Comfort, and in neither does it make you feel definitively dialled in. You're left with complete confidence that the chassis will haul you around bends at fantastic speeds, and set you up to fire out the other side with equal gusto, but never that your steering inputs will be acted on immediately. 

It's a shame, because the RS7 is a competent car otherwise. Despite its huge 21in wheels, the standard air suspension does a remarkable job of sponging away ruts and bumps. There's some road roar at speed, yes, but otherwise the cabin is civilised for a car that's capable of such savagery. Rear headroom is tight for the particularly tall but four adults will be seated inside, and the only negative is that Audi's last-generation MMI infotainment and interior materials aren't in line with the firm's latest and greatest examples. 

Should I buy one?

Even with its optional Dynamic Pack added, the RS7 Performance shouldn't be classed as the last word in driver enjoyment - Mercedes and Jaguar have proven that luxury and performance can be more playful. Nevertheless, for many, the way the Performance explodes up the road one minute, then plays a sleek, comfortable companion the next will certainly appeal.

Of course, its main rivals are already off-sale and we await their next efforts, and it's worth bearing in mind that Audi's A3 now has more up-to-date tech and architecture than an A7. As such, there's still much pleasure to be had from RS7 ownership, which is heightened further by committing to a Performance, but enter it knowing full well the length of this car's tooth. 

Audi RS7 Performance

Location: Surrey; On sale: Now; Price £92,060; Engine V8, 3993cc, twin-turbocharged, petrol; Power 597bhp at 6100-6800rpm; Torque 553lb ft at 2500-5500rpm; Gearbox 8-spd automatic; Kerb weight 1930kg; Top speed 155mph; 0-62mph 3.7sec; Economy 29.7mpg (combined); CO2 rating & BIK tax band 221g/km, 37%

Join the debate

Comments
9

20 May 2016
"What's missing is a real sense of connection with what's going on. The standard steering is the biggest culprit, feeling too heavy in Dynamic mode and a little light in Comfort, and in neither does it make you feel definitively dialled in."

So it's quintessentially an Audi through and through.

20 May 2016
Another depressing Audi. Big cars just get stuck in Traffic.

www.KOOOLcr.com

 

21 May 2016
It's a waste of time trying to make a two tonne vehicle sporty.

21 May 2016
Superchips will add another 106bhp and 153nm of torque to the standard version for £430. A dyno test shows 685bhp and 831nm torque.

www.superchips.co.uk/curves/AudiRS6V8TTbefore&after.pdf

21 May 2016
Citytiger wrote:

Superchips will add another 106bhp and 153nm of torque to the standard version for £430. A dyno test shows 685bhp and 831nm torque.

www.superchips.co.uk/curves/AudiRS6V8TTbefore&after.pdf

Don't you think cars should come with a health warning?,too much power can seriously affect your health,because i believe you can sit and pass your test in a Micra,and be driving something like this the next,graduated licenses i think are needed nowadays to lessen the chance of someone either killing themselves or others.

Peter Cavellini.

21 May 2016
Peter Cavellini wrote:
Citytiger wrote:

Superchips will add another 106bhp and 153nm of torque to the standard version for £430. A dyno test shows 685bhp and 831nm torque.

www.superchips.co.uk/curves/AudiRS6V8TTbefore&after.pdf

Don't you think cars should come with a health warning?,too much power can seriously affect your health,because i believe you can sit and pass your test in a Micra,and be driving something like this the next,graduated licenses i think are needed nowadays to lessen the chance of someone either killing themselves or others.

Not sure if you're joking, trolling, or serious. Driving a car is really, really easy. Especially modern cars. If average everyday people can surf, skate, MTB, climb rocks, etc... I think we can manage siting on our behinds and steering!

21 May 2016
Peter Cavellini wrote:
Citytiger wrote:

Superchips will add another 106bhp and 153nm of torque to the standard version for £430. A dyno test shows 685bhp and 831nm torque.

www.superchips.co.uk/curves/AudiRS6V8TTbefore&after.pdf

Don't you think cars should come with a health warning?,too much power can seriously affect your health,because i believe you can sit and pass your test in a Micra,and be driving something like this the next,graduated licenses i think are needed nowadays to lessen the chance of someone either killing themselves or others.

Well I passed my test many moons ago in a series 3 Landrover whilst I was serving in the British Army (24 years), I have driven everything from a Ferret Scout car to a Challenger Tank and lived in Germany for 20+ years, I agree with you to a certain extent, but the chances of a newly qualified driver jumping in something like this are fairly slim, unless they are overpaid footballers or have very rich parents, and either way I care for neither of those groups. Too much power isnt the problem, its lack of responsibility, they say there is no such thing as a bad dog, just a bad owner, the same could just as easily be said about cars, there is no such thing as too much power, just bad drivers. Graduated licences could well be the answer, or something along the lines of Fords "my key", that restricts the power/speed etc of the vehicle.

23 May 2016
Citytiger wrote:

I have driven everything from a Ferret Scout car to a Challenger Tank

So as long as it's armoured, green and British you've driven it?

Have a go in a car some time - you'll probably like it.

tlb

23 May 2016
Still never driven a dynamic steering setup (particularly Audi's but others not much better) that I like. It's particularly annoying to see it as a standard item - even if it's deleteable.

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