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Practical Magic: Audi RS7

Howard Walker

Remember the ’70s? Back then, if you were a testosterone-charged teen, chances are you had a poster of a Lamborghini Countach supercar pinned to your bedroom wall.
   The original Countach was everybody’s dream machine. It had origami styling, a screaming 12-cylinder engine and bat-out-of-hell performance.

Audi RS 7 - luxury automobile review by Howard Walker

   The only problem was one of entry and exit. Getting in and out of a hip-high Countach was best attempted only after a consultation with your chiropractor. And once settled in the skinny seats, you were not extracting yourself anytime soon.
   Fast-forward 40 years, and while today’s supercars provide unparalleled driving thrills, they’re generally still a pain in the back.
Which is why the new genre of practical supercars, like Audi’s breathtaking RS7, has so much appeal.

Audi RS7 - twin-turbo 4-liter V-8, 560 hp

   Here is a car with a weapons-grade, twin-turbocharged, 4-liter V-8 cranking out 560 hp—185 hp more than that old Countach. Pedal to the metal, it can scythe from standstill to 60 in an insane 3.7 seconds. That’s almost two seconds faster than the Lambo.
Yet this sport-back Audi also offers stretch-out seating for four, a quartet of doors, superb leather upholstery and a trunk beneath the liftback that could double as a PODS storage unit.
   Sure, the RS7 lacks a certain exclusivity, being based on Audi’s high-volume A7 sedan. But this $104,900 projectile orbits in a whole other stratosphere. It’s honed and developed by Audi’s in-house performance meisters in Quattro GmbH, which acts like Mercedes’ AMG division.

Audi RS7 - 21-inch rims

   Its design treads between road racer and unassuming stealth machine. While aficionados will zero in on the bulging fenders, ground-scraping front spoiler, pop-up rear wing and 21-inch rims, others will see it as simply one heck of a cool car.
   There is nothing like the RS7’s twin-turbo V-8. It is a masterpiece of automotive technology, capable of delivering 516 pound-feet of torque from just 1,750 rpm.

   Squeeze the throttle from low speed and the car erupts with a tsunami of torque, slingshotting past slower traffic or blasting from an on-ramp into fast-moving traffic.

Audi RS7 - twin-turbo V-8 -516 pound-feet of torque - 560-horsepower

   Then there’s the noise. The optional sport exhaust, with its pair of huge, ovoid tailpipes, delivers a wall of primordial snarling, crackling and bellowing. Linda Blair in The Exorcist didn’t have this many demonic voices.
   And boy, this 4,500-pound monster can carve curves. The magical combination of quattro all-wheel drive—which can channel as much as 85 percent of power to the 21-inch rear wheels—and laser-precise electric-assist steering make the RS7 feel alive.

interior of the Audi RS7

   Inside, there’s all the style and luxe befitting a $100,000 sports-luxury sedan. We love the honeycomb-paneled leather seats, the black wood and aluminum inlays and the optional, ear-bleeding Bang and Olufsen audio—a deal at $5,900.
   Maybe it’s a sign of maturing, but it sure is fun driving a two-seat supercar without having to be a contortionist to clamber in and out. Practical magic, indeed.

 

Power File

Price: From $104,900   

Engine: 4-liter twin turbocharged V-8 Max

Power: 560 hp

Max Torque: 516 pound-feet

Transmission: 8-speed automatic

0-60 mph: 3.7 seconds

Top speed: 174 mph

Length/width: 197.3/84.2 inches 

Weight: 4,475 pounds

Why we love it: It’s one of the world’s great supercars that will do double-duty as a family hauler.

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