At the 2013 Detroit Auto Show, Audi pulled the wraps off the souped-up version of its A7 premium-midsize liftback sedan.
The 2014 Audi RS 7 Sportback employs a turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine that pumps out a massive 560 horsepower. Contrary to recent convention, the intake and exhaust sides of the cylinder have been reversed, and the turbos and intercooler sit on top of the engine in the valley between the V of the cylinders instead of elsewhere in the engine compartment. This creates a very short path that spent exhaust gases must travel to spin the turbos. What does this mean? Very little turbo lag when the driver tromps on the loud pedal. The exhaust system has flaps that open either under acceleration or at the push of a button to release a full exhaust note. Audi says that a sport exhaust is optional.
The engine is linked to an 8-speed automatic transmission that has been tuned to deal with the engine’s increased power. It has an “S” mode and steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters to deliver best performance. The “standard” top speed is about 155 mph, but the optional Dynamic Package increases it to about 174, and the Dynamic Package Plus tops out at about 190 mph.
Believe it or not, the company says the RS 7 achieves 24 mpg. The miserly performance is credited to a tall 8th-gear ratio and an engine cylinder-deactivation system that shuts down half the cylinders and runs in 4-cylinder mode when all 560 horsepower is not needed.
The RS 7 is all-wheel drive. Thanks to special software programming and a sport rear differential, the RS 7 performs an operation called torque vectoring in which torque from the engine is directed to the outside rear wheel to push the car through turns.
Sport brakes, adaptive air suspension, and a stability system that can be switched off entirely are standard. Also standard is adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, carbon-fiber interior trim, a sport-inspired gauge cluster, an infotainment system with wireless Internet connectivity, and other sporty bits. RS 7 comes with polished 20-inch wheels, and 21-inch wheels in three different designs are available. Optional is a firmer adjustable sport suspension, carbon-fiber body addenda and mirror housings, LED headlights, upgraded leather upholstery, and a drive-mode switch that varies the feel and responsiveness of the steering.
No pricing or an on-sale date were announced, but expect the 2014 Audi RS 7 to hit dealers in mid-2013.
CG Says: An S badge on an Audi tells onlookers that the car isn’t a typical Audi. But, an Audi with an RS badge tells the onlooker that the car is a tweaked, massaged, boosted, and modified version of a typical Audi. For many, this RS 7 is the culmination of gorgeous design with hard-nosed yet refined high-performance driving. Additionally, driveline tweaks resulting in a claimed 24 mpg mean this is a “have your cake and eat it too” kind of vehicle. Rest assured, this version will be rare and very spendy, so you won’t likely spot it on the street anytime soon. However, please check back for our review of the 2014 Audi RS 7 for all the details and our complete drive report.