Like its predecessor, the RS7 is available with two suspension options - both of which are based around a front and rear multi-link architecture. Height-adjustable air springs come as standard and our test car had the optional RS steel coils and adaptive dampers.
Combined with those enormous, optional 22in alloy wheels and eye-liner levels of side profile from the 285/30-section Pirelli P Zeros, you’d be excused for having reservations about the car's potential lack of on-road manners. But the reality is the complete opposite: aside from a real-world economy figure that will likely dwell somewhere in the low to mid-20s, as a daily driver, the RS7 would be just about as easy to live with as any posh diesel executive saloon you’d car to name.
Okay, so there is a tauter edge to its ride and its flying-saucer rims do serve to amplify intrusions from any imperfections that they happen to roll over, but it’d be a stretch to call the RS7 uncomfortable. Set its adaptive dampers to Comfort and it bats off motorway miles as if they were nothing. Leave them in their default setting and more technical A- and B-roads are dispatched in quick, controlled fashion and with minimal jostling.
Admittedly, winding the dampers up to their firmest Dynamic setting does cause the RS7’s ride to become quite animated and tetchy, with an almost iron-clad level of vertical body control that would likely dissuade frequent use. That said, customisable RS1 and RS2 drive modes mean you can easily make the dampers, engine, steering, differential and stability systems as angry or soft as you choose – so chances are you won’t find yourself using Dynamic mode too often anyway. Even so, the RS7 never really feels like a car that encourages a full attack mode style of driving anyway, regardless of how you’ve opted to set it up in the first place.
There are a few reasons for this and surprisingly it starts with the engine. It’s undoubtedly potent and partners with its eight-speed automatic transmission and quattro all-wheel drive system to deliver consistently unflappable and explosive straight-line acceleration in all conditions. But despite having the immense performance, sharp throttle response and slick cog-swapping dexterity that would otherwise mark out a pretty exceptional performance powertrain, the RS7 doesn’t seem too fussed about flaunting its wares. Even with our car’s RS sports exhaust (a £1450 option) in its shoutiest setting, the deep, mellifluous V8 bellow remains distant. Subtly menacing, sure, but muffled all the same.
The steering works to similar effect. Be in no doubt that it’s integrated smartly with the RS7’s rear-wheel steering and works to make the nearly 2.1-tonne, 5.0m-long RS7 handle in a manner that's wieldy and sure-footed. But at the same time, it doesn’t pack the sort of immediate off-centre responses you might expect from a car that moves in the same circles as the likes of BMW’s M5 Competition or Mercedes-AMG’s E63 S. A gearing that feels comparatively relaxed means you find yourself turning its Alcantara-wrapped wheel a just a bit harder and a bit further to get its nose to shark in to a corner with the desired level of immediacy, and in typical Audi fashion, you’re rewarded with very little in the way of textural feedback.