When is 420 horsepower not enough? That's easy: when you find yourself wanting more. For us, that's hard to imagine, but for you, the 2014 Audi RS 7 might be just what the doctor ordered.
The regular Audi S7, you see, already boasts a twin-turbocharged V8 that pumps out 420 horses. It's incredibly swift and impeccably refined. But these days, that's not a truly impressive amount of power. The Porsche Panamera Turbo, for example, makes far more. So does the Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG. And if you're paying this much money, you probably want something truly impressive, right?
That's where the 2014 RS 7 comes in.
Granted, the RS 7 commands a hefty 30 percent price premium over the S7. But consider this: The RS 7's 560 horses are a 33 percent improvement over the S7's stable. Also, how can you put a price on knowing that your RS 7 is more powerful (by 10 hp) than the aforementioned Mercedes? Only the gonzo 570-hp Panamera Turbo S outdoes the RS 7 in standard form, and it costs an eye-watering $75 grand more.
So, when is 420 hp not enough? When you find yourself reading the previous paragraph and nodding in agreement. The 2014 Audi RS 7 isn't for everyone. But if you've got the cash, it's going to make you smile.
What's New for 2014?
The RS 7 is all-new for 2014.
What We Like
Supercar acceleration; dynamic handling; exquisite interior; show-stopping style; top-shelf tech
What We Don't
Lacks rear headroom for tall riders; limited versatility from hatchback trunk
The all-wheel-drive RS 7 is powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 rated at 560 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque -- gains of 140 and 110, respectively, relative to the lesser S7. The transmission is an 8-speed conventional automatic, as the S7's 7-speed automated manual can't handle this much output.
Fuel economy is quite impressive given the RS 7's insane acceleration. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, you'll see 16 miles per gallon city/27 mpg highway in normal driving, though good luck keeping your foot off the floor.
Options & Standard Features
The 4-seat RS 7 is offered only in the top-of-the-line Prestige ($105,795) trim level.
Standard equipment includes 20-inch wheels, dual oval exhaust tips, unique exterior trim with available aluminum matte or carbon fiber accents, full LED headlights and taillights, a power rear spoiler, an adaptive sport-tuned air suspension, a sport rear differential, a power lift gate, a sunroof, a blind spot monitoring system, power-folding exterior mirrors, the Drive Select system (featuring electronic adjustments for steering, throttle and transmission), the Multi Media Interface (MMI) with a 7-in display and a console-mounted control knob, a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, quad-zone climate control, carbon fiber inlays, aluminum pedals, RS-specific gauges and door handles, a sport steering wheel with shift paddles and contrast stitching, leather upholstery, heated power sport seats with honeycomb quilting and driver memory functions, a Google Earth-based navigation system, Wi-Fi hotspot capability, Bluetooth and a 14-speaker Bose audio system.
Options include three different 21-in wheel designs, an Innovation package (head-up display and night-vision assistant with pedestrian detection), a Driver Assistance package (adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation with automatic braking, lane-departure prevention and a corner-view camera system), a Cold Weather package (heated steering wheel and rear seats), a Comfort Seating package (22-way power front sport seats with ventilation and massage functions along with driver and passenger memory), rear side airbags, an Alcantara headliner and a 15-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system.
The RS 7 comes with standard stability control and 4-wheel anti-lock ventilated disc brakes. Eight airbags are standard (front, front side, front knee, full-length side curtain), with rear side airbags available as an option. Also offered are a blind spot monitoring system, a lane-departure prevention system, a collision mitigation system with automatic braking, a corner-view camera system and night-vision assist with pedestrian detection.
Behind the Wheel
In our interior evaluation, we found the RS 7's design and quality pretty much beyond reproach. That's normal for high-end Audis, of course, but the RS 7 goes one step further with its unique honeycomb seat inserts, carbon fiber inlays and iconic RS gauges. The standard technology features are first-rate, from the ever-improving MMI system (now with finger-pad scribble recognition) to the rolling Wi-Fi capability. If we could change anything about the RS 7's cabin, we'd just give it a little more rear headroom and cargo space. However, the car's slinky profile looks so good that these may seem like reasonable prices to pay.
According to the spec sheet, the RS 7 is actually 33 pounds lighter than the S7. At 4,475 pounds, though, it's still a portly fellow. On the road, it's a dynamo, leaping forward at the slightest throttle squeeze and slicing through corners like a car half its size. As sublime as the S7's engine is, the RS 7's is noticeably better. So if you're not sold on the latter's price point, take it for a test drive. We do miss the S7's rapid-fire automated manual gearbox, however. While the RS 7's 8-speed automatic is highly competent, it's not quite as quick-witted in aggressive driving.
Other Cars to Consider
BMW M6 Gran Coupe -- The 4-door M6 stacks up well against the RS 7 in terms of power and equipment, but it's not as lithe and lively on winding roads.
Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG -- The AMG-tuned CLS offers beastly acceleration and a more livable back seat. But like the M6 Gran Coupe, it's less precise than the Audi.
Porsche Panamera Turbo -- While the Panamera Turbo is considerably more expensive, it's also got the athleticism of a sports car and the comfort of an executive sedan.
No one really needs the RS 7's preposterous performance, but the lucky few who own this car will enjoy it to the utmost.