Audi RS 7 Sportback 2019: thunderous cruise missile revealed

  • Twin-turbo V8 produces 600hp and 800Nm of torque
  • More practical thanks to the availability of five seats
  • Uplift in interior tech – including proper shift paddles

Audi’s largest RS models promise the ultimate combination of all-round usability and performance – the RS 6 Avant is your supercar-slaying load-lugger, while this RS 7 Sportback is a long-legged continent hopper for four.

Now in its second generation that formula has been tweaked to make this supercoupe even more accomplished for everyday use – for the first time it can now be specified with a three-person wide rear bench, taking its occupant count to the full five.

At the other end of the spectrum the heart and soul of its vast performance – that mighty V8 under its bonnet – has been fettled to offer the holy grail of improved performance and economy.

New looks for the RS 7 Sportback

Separating this car from the standard model is an overhaul of the exterior design – the bonnet, roof, front doors and the bootlid remain, but everything else is RS specific.

Audi RS 7 Sportback 2019 red driving rear

This includes the three-dimensional honeycomb grille and the large front air inlets and fins that flank it, all finished in gloss black. Around the back there’s the distinctive RS exhaust system with its large oval tailpipes, plus a new bumper and rear diffuser pairing, and a bootlid spoiler that pops up at 62mph.

LED headlights are standard while RS matrix LED laser headlights and LED rear lights are optional, the latter performing an RS-specific light show when the car is locked and unlocked.

Mild-hybrid but not mild performance

A familiar 4.0 TFSI powers the Audi RS 7 Sportback, with 600hp and 800Nm of torque on tap from 2,050 to 4,500 rpm. This culminates in a 0 to 62mph time of 3.6 seconds and a top speed limited to 155mph. As has become custom this can be increased to 174mph with the Dynamic package, and to 189mph with the Dynamic plus package. Not that either is particularly useful in the UK.

On the flip side of that a 48v electrical system means a claimed 24mpg and 261-265g/km of CO2 thanks to the ability to shut down half of the engine’s cylinders in periods of low demand, or even coast along under its own momentum.

An eight-speed Tiptronic automatic gearbox is standard, as of course is Quattro permanent all-wheel drive, which can send up to 70% of power to the front wheels and up to 85% to the rears depending on your style of driving.

Huge road-holding from sophisticated chassis

Large powerful Audi cars are not often the last word in handling finesse or driver involvement but they do promise enormous grip, and by the sounds of things this RS 7 will be no different.

Audi RS 7 Sportback 2019 red driving rear

Wheel-selective torque control can apply the brakes on the inside wheels to help agility while cornering and an optional Quattro sport differential increases the car’s ability to shift torque between the rear wheels to improve traction.

Five-link front and rear axles with aluminium subframes are teamed with standard adaptive air suspension – the latter features three driving modes and automatic level control. In its native position the RS 7 sits 20mm lower than the standard car, and above 75mph it can drop a further 10mm for the ultimate slippery profile.

All-wheel steering is available as an option and slices a metre off the turning circle for easy in-town manoeuvres, while the Audi drive select dynamic handling system offers a choice between driving characteristics, plus two new customizable RS modes called RS1 and RS2. The result is a promised broad spread between long-distance comfort and performance.

Revamped interior

Much like the currently available A6 and A7, the RS 7 features a touch screen embedded in the top of the dashboard, integrated so you can’t see where it ends and the upper dash begins.

The Virtual Cockpit digital dials can be set to an RS specific layout with details of tire pressure, torque, temperatures, lap times, acceleration, g-forces and so on.

Audi RS 7 Sportback 2019 red interior

Behind the flat-bottomed, perforated RS sport leather steering wheel are a set of new RS aluminium shift paddles – a huge leap from the diminutive plastic items usually found in fast Audi models.

In the back you can pick a three-seater rear bench to allow five occupants for the first time and there’s a large 535-litre boot for all their luggage too.

The Audi RS 7 Sportback will be in dealerships at the end of 2019 – check back later for the full Parkers review.

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