Thunderous is one way of describing it, especially if you stand outside and watch an RS7 head horizon-wards in full Dynamic mode, its exhausts crackling with each thumping upshift. If you’re driving, the horizon comes at you even quicker, especially if the road is even slightly narrow. Yet it puts the power down without fuss (on dry roads, at least) and, depending on which mode you’re in, with considerable surety.
As with many high-end Audis you can not only toggle between Comfort, Auto and Dynamic modes, but also apply these settings individually to everything from the steering to the suspension and seatbelt pre-tensioners.
Some of these settings can produce some odd quirks, including a wheel rim that writhes like it was torque-steering when you unleash full power in Comfort, and steering so high-geared in Dynamic that you must concentrate extra hard if you’re not to deploy the lane departure system on a too-regular basis. But whatever combination of settings you choose, there’s never one that quite delivers the subtleties of feedback via (very comfortable) seat and wheel that keen drivers crave, and will more fully enjoy aboard the RS7’s rivals.
Some might be tempted, then, to order Dynamic Ride Control for a fuller tactile experience. DRC eliminates pitch, eliminates roll and, sadly, eliminates most of this Audi’s ride quality, and especially so when in league with an admittedly handsome quartet of 21-inch alloys. Even Audi’s very own chief chassis engineer, Dr Horst Glaser, advises against choosing this option if you live in Britain, because the ride is simply too firm.
And he is not wrong, if the RS7’s light agitation over mild German bumps is a guide. This suspension is best suited to track work, says Glaser, and although the RS7 seems an unlikely circuit tool despite its power, there are open-road moments in full Dynamic mode when you can feel the combination of DRC, all-wheel drive and the active rear diff producing a car more responsive and wieldy than it feels for 95 per cent of the time in real-world conditions.
The fact is that like so many ultra-potent Audis, this one feels like a mighty effective exercise in the containment of a mass that is being forced to go where it doesn’t quite want to. So while it rarely feels naturally agile, the RS7 has grip, composure and high reserves of artificial-feeling front-end bite when you pile-drive it bends. But if it’s real balance you want, a balance that can be tuned by your right foot, then it’s the AMG, the BMW or the Porsche that you need.