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The Audi RS7: Perfect Timing or Too Late to the Party?

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On: Tue, Oct 29, 2013 at 7:42AM | By: Lou Ruggieri


The Audi RS7:  Perfect Timing or Too Late to the Party?

The automotive industry seems as if it's tripping over itself to make sure there is a car to fit just about every niche imaginable. This practice makes sense from a business standpoint because at its most basic level, if you make what someone is looking for, odds are they will buy it. The problem comes when a rival company fills a niche before you do, and then they start making money in a way you cannot. So, you begin making the a rival to what they made, and suddenly everyone is making everything. Such is the way it is now in the German luxury car market, for example. Somewhere, some designer came up withe idea of making a four-door coupe, and it got the green light from the bean-counters, so Mercedes came out with the CLS; then seeing their success, Audi came out with the A7, and then BMW came out with the Gran Coupe. Shortly thereafter, someone else decided, like most car guys do, that these cars needed more power. With that in mind, Mercedes sent the CLS over to AMG to create the CLS63 AMG, then BMW utilized their M Division to create the M6 Gran Coupe, and finally Audi has come to join the fray, creating the RS7. And we have never been happier with so many decisions to make.

Although they are last to the party, Audi's entry into this segment is one that steals the show. Simply put, the RS7 is the most powerful Audi available to an American buyer who doesn't want to cross the pond to buy a car. With 552 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque, the Audi has enough go for anyone who isn't named Mario Andretti or John Force.

Audi used their time well and it shows under the hood of the RS7. While any production engine that makes 550 horsepower is impressive, Audi has taken things a step further. The RS7 sports an almost tiny 4.0-liter motor—almost half a liter smaller than the M6 and a full liter-and-a-half smaller than the CLS63! The tech guys worked overtime with the RS7, and strapped up a twin-turbocharging system that pumps out a whopping 17.5 psi (40% higher than the standard A7). And as if having the smallest motor of the bunch while still packing the biggest punch wasn't enough, the Audi also puts the smack down when it comes to MPG. At a combined 19 mpg, the RS7 blows away the M6 and puts the CLS in its place. Audi accomplishes this feat with a combination of features—an eight-speed automatic that uses the top few gears as nothing more than overdrive, as well as lighter drivetrain parts to cut down on mass, and variable displacement which shuts down cylinders when the engine rpm is below 3,500 and torque need is less than 185 lb-ft.

Granted the RS7 is no svelte welterweight at 4,475 pounds, but thanks to Audi's trademark all-wheel drive and that aforementioned 552 ponies, the RS7 gets up and goes anytime you want it to. Audi claims a 0-60 mph run of just 3.7 seconds and, although we don't have official specs, we estimate a 0-100 mph time of right around 8.5 seconds and a quarter-mile time of about 12.0 seconds @ 120 mph.

The RS7 does what it set out to do—be good at just about everything. It's eye-catching, it can handle any weather conditions, haul a family of four, or 49 cubic feet of cargo if need be, and it can smoke anything this side of a Ferrari California all for a "reasonable" $105,795. While the idea of any car with a six-figure price tag being called reasonable seems somewhat tongue-in-cheek, the RS7 comes in eight grand less than an M6 Gran Coupe, and almost 40 grand cheaper than a Porsche Panamera Turbo. The CLS63 AMG is the price winner among these heavy hitters with an MSRP of $95,900, but one ride in the all-wheel drive Audi and you might not think twice about ponying up an extra ten large for a more complete car. Whether it's streaking down the interstate, getting the kids to school on a snowy morning, picking up new bedroom furniture at IKEA, or teaching some punk in a WRX what 552 horsepower tail lights looks like, the RS7 can do it all, and fast. It's a niche we weren't sure we needed, but now that cars like the RS7 are here, we are sure glad Audi gave us one more decision to think about.


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