Glance at the Audi RS7 performance stats and you’ll see figures that would embarrass many supercars. The 0-62mph sprint is obliterated in 3.9 seconds and, if you tick the right box on the options list, it’ll go on accelerating to a top speed of 189mph.
In standard trim the top speed is electronically limited to 155mph. This can be increased to 174mph as part of the optional Dynamic Package or derestricted further to 189mph if you spec the more expensive Dynamic Plus Package.
Power comes from a twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine, the same powerplant used in the Audi RS6 Avant super-estate. It’ll generate 552bhp (more than an Audi R8 V10) and a rather substantial 700Nm of torque.
It’s that second figure that gives the car such rapid acceleration. Maximum torque is available from 1,750rpm all the way to 5,500rpm, which means overtaking is rarely a problem – RS7 drivers won’t arrive late very often.
There’s a pleasantly wuffly V8 soundtrack to accompany proceedings, too.
There’s one transmission available, an eight-speed tiptronic automatic system with a pair of paddles behind the wheel if you prefer to change gear yourself. It’s an impressive transmission, swapping gears smoothly and feeling equally at home pootling around town or under hard acceleration.
Like the RS6, the RS7’s gearbox is set up with close-ratio lower gears for fast acceleration and a very tall top gear to help save fuel.
There’s certainly no shortage of grip. The RS7 sits on extremely wide 275-section tyres and possesses a four-wheel drive system with various clever electronic systems such as torque vectoring and a self-locking centre differential.
All of the above combines to allow enormous reserves of traction out of slow corners and upper handling limits that are best explored on the race track rather than the public road.
It’s certainly impressive, but the main bugbear with the RS7 concerns its steering. Of course, steering feel is subjective but the RS7’s variable-rate power steering (which varies in weight and response depending on the car’s speed and cornering stance) feels frustratingly artificial and numb, making it difficult to feel confident in the car and drive it with real precision. With front tyres as wide as that though, it’s perhaps unreasonable to expect the most incisive steering in the world.
As standard, the RS7 rides on adaptive air suspension. An optional hydraulic sports suspension system with steel springs is available as part of the Dynamic and Dynamic Plus package. Both allow the driver to select from different modes for more comfortable ride or more agile handling.
Our test car was fitted with the Dynamic Plus package, which included the sports suspension and larger carbon ceramic brakes for increased stopping power. Even with these fitted, you’re conscious that at nearly two tonnes the RS7 is quite a heavy car when it’s time to haul it down from high speeds - a rapid stop takes a really good hard stamp of the middle pedal.
You’re conscious that it’s a wide car, too, when threading it along narrow roads and streets. The sports suspension contains body roll impressively well and, when set to ‘Comfort’ mode, soaks up bumps effectively too.