The 2017 Audi RS7 takes the S7 (a high-performance machine based on the excellent A7) to a whole new level. Actually, this year it takes things to two levels, since we see the debut of the Performance variant, with even more power than the regular RS7, which already comes with a mighty 560 horsepower.
By virtue of being derived from the A7 premium hatchback, the RS7 is a car with contemporary "4-door coupe" styling, exemplary build and intelligent ergonomics.
What’s New for 2017?
The RS7 Performance model comes into being, not only with greater power but also sporting a more track-friendly focus. Equipment is reshuffled between the two. Both cars now receive Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration. See the 2017 Audi RS7 models for sale near you
What We Like
Supercar acceleration; sublime handling; exquisite interior; show-stopping style; top-notch tech
What We Don’t
Rear headroom not great for tall passengers; limited versatility from the hatchback trunk
The RS7 is propelled by a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8. In what passes for "normal" form, it develops 560 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. The newly minted RS7 Performance version delivers 605 hp and the same amount of torque peaking at the same 1,750 rpm, but it also has a temporary overboost function that pushes maximum twist to 553 lb-ft between 2,500 and 5,500 rpm.
The transmission is an 8-speed automatic, and all-wheel drive is standard.
Fuel economy is quite impressive, given the aptitude for acceleration. Both versions are expected to achieve 15 miles per gallon in the city, 25 mpg on the highway and 18 mpg in combined driving.
Standard Features & Options
The 2017 Audi RS7 comes in standard and RS7 Performance forms.
The standard RS7 ($111,650) has 20-inch alloy wheels, dual oval exhaust tips, full LED lighting, a power rear spoiler, an adaptive sport-tuned air suspension, variable-ratio steering, a sport rear differential, a power lift gate, a sunroof, blind spot monitoring, forward-collision mitigation, self-dimming/power-folding side mirrors, keyless entry/start, a Drive Select system (featuring electronic adjustments for steering, throttle and transmission), the Multi Media Interface (MMI) infotainment system with an 8-in display, a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, a head-up display, quad-zone automatic climate control, carbon-fiber inlays, aluminum pedals, RS-specific gauges and door handles, leather upholstery, heated/8-way power-adjustable sport front seats with honeycomb quilting and driver’s-side memory functions, a power-adjustable sport steering wheel with shift paddles and contrast stitching, Google-Earth-based navigation, Wi-Fi, two USB ports, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and a 14-speaker Bose audio system with satellite radio and HD Radio.
The RS7 Performance ($130,450) has 21-in alloy wheels wearing high-performance summer tires, ceramic disc brakes, contrasting blue honeycomb stitching in the front seats and adjustable dampers to replace the air suspension.
Options include different 20- and 21-in alloy wheel designs; carbon-fiber trim; a Driver Assistance package (adaptive cruise control, lane-departure prevention and a corner-view camera system); a Cold Weather package (a heated steering wheel and heated rear seats); and a Comfort Seating package (multicontour front sport seats with ventilation and massage functions, plus front-passenger memory settings). Rear side airbags, an Alcantara (simulated suede) headliner and a 15-speaker/1,300-watt Bang & Olufsen audio system are also available.
The RS7 is officially a 4-seater, with no small middle seat in the back. Trunk space behind the rear seats is 24.5 cu ft. Those seats split and fold down for a little extra versatility.
The RS7 comes with standard stability control and 4-wheel anti-lock ventilated disc brakes. Eight airbags are standard (front, front-side, front-knee and full-length side-curtain), with rear side airbags available as an option. Blind spot monitoring is standard, while lane-departure prevention, a more advanced collision-mitigation system with automatic braking, and a corner-view camera setup are also available.
Behind the Wheel
Design and quality are at stratospherically high levels. That’s normal for high-end Audis, but the RS7 goes further with its honeycomb seat inserts, carbon-fiber inlays and RS gauges. Standard technology features are first-rate, including the excellent MMI system (with handwriting recognition) and Wi-Fi.
If we could change anything about the cabin, we’d give it a little more rear headroom and cargo space. However, the car’s profile looks so good that such drawbacks seem like reasonable trade-offs.
According to the spec sheet, the RS7 weighs a considerable 4,497 pounds, but it’s a dynamo on the road, leaping forward at the slightest throttle squeeze and slicing through corners like a car half its heft. Power levels might be called "brutal" if the delivery wasn’t quite so refined. The engine is civilized and quiet in normal driving conditions but can transform into something far more active once the accelerator pedal is exercised. That’s also when the 8-speed automatic is quick to kick down.
The RS7 Performance version sprints from standstill to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds, 0.1 quicker than the regular RS7. Top speeds are 190 and 174 mph, respectively.
Other Cars to Consider
2017 BMW M6 Gran Coupe — The 4-door M6 stacks up well against the RS7 in terms of power and equipment, but it’s not as lithe and lively on winding roads.
2017 Porsche Panamera Turbo — All-new for 2017. Bigger than the RS7, but combines the athleticism of a sports car with an executive sedan’s comfort.
2017 Mercedes-AMG CLS 63 — The AMG-tuned CLS has fierce acceleration and a more bearable back seat. But like the M6 Gran Coupe, it’s less precise than the Audi.
Used Aston Martin Rapide — For a sleek sport sedan with as much exclusivity as performance, a low-mileage Rapide is certainly worth a look.
Most of us would be perfectly happy — no, make that ecstatic — to have the regular RS7. Paying an extra $18,800 for the Performance version seems a little extreme for power that could never be explored or exploited on public roads. But if you’re the kind of person who relishes extremes, then have fun and be careful out there. Find an Audi RS7 for sale