Enjoy the rapid 2018 Audi RS 7 while it’s still around. This high-performance variant of the A7 "4-door coupe" is still based on the outgoing generation. An all-new A7 premium midsize hatchback is coming for the 2019 model year and we expect the hot S7 to follow soon after. But Audi isn’t always as quick to bring its super-hot RS versions to market. The RS 7 might even skip a model year.
The good news is that the current RS 7 is still dressed in modern styling, has exemplary build quality, intelligent ergonomics and goes like a hurricane. The RS 7 Performance variant enjoys even more power than the regular car, which already comes with a mighty 560 horsepower. In the true sense of the word, the RS 7 is awesome.
What’s New for 2018?
The standard alloy wheels have grown in diameter to 21 inches. A sport exhaust is also standard. See the 2018 Audi RS 7 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
The RS 7 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 RS 7 Performance version delivers 605 hp and the same amount of torque peaking at the same 1,750 rpm, but it also has a temporary over-boost 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 relatively impressive, given the aptitude for acceleration. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) expects both versions to achieve 14 miles per gallon city, 24 mpg highway and 17 mpg combined.
Standard Features & Options
The 2018 Audi RS 7 comes in standard and RS 7 Performance forms.
The standard RS 7 ($114,875) has 21-in alloy wheels wearing high-performance summer tires, sport exhaust with dual oval exhaust tips, full LED lighting (including ambient cabin lighting), power rear spoiler, adaptive sport-tuned air suspension, variable-ratio steering, sport rear differential, powered tailgate, sunroof, rain-sensing wipers, heated windshield washer nozzles, blind spot monitoring, forward-collision mitigation, self-dimming/power-folding/heated side mirrors, keyless entry/start, Drive Select system (featuring electronic adjustments for steering, throttle and transmission), Multi Media Interface (MMI) infotainment system with an 8-inch display, rearview/corner-view camera systems, front and rear parking sensors, 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, power-adjustable sport steering wheel with shift paddles and contrast stitching, Google-Earth-based navigation, Wi-Fi, two USB ports, SD card slot, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and a 14-speaker/630-watt Bose surround sound system with satellite/HD radio.
The RS 7 Performance ($131,675) has ceramic brake discs, contrasting blue honeycomb stitching in the front seats and replaces the air suspension with adjustable dampers. This model is also eligible for a titanium sport exhaust system.
Options include different alloy wheel designs, carbon fiber trim, Driver Assistance package (adaptive cruise control, lane-departure prevention, automatic high beams, more advanced collision mitigation system with automatic braking); Cold Weather package (heated steering wheel, heated rear seats); Comfort Seating package (multi-contour front sport seats with ventilation and massage functions, plus front-passenger memory settings). Rear side airbags, Alcantara (simulated suede) headliner, night vision with pedestrian/large animal detection and a 15-speaker/1,300-watt Bang & Olufsen audio system is also available.
The RS 7 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 RS 7 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.
Behind the Wheel
Design and quality are at stratospherically high levels. That’s normal for high-end Audis, but the RS 7 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 RS 7 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 RS 7 Performance version sprints from standstill to 60 miles per hour in 3.6 seconds, 0.1 quicker than the regular RS 7 (and firmly in sports car territory). Top speeds are 190 and 174 mph respectively.
Other Cars to Consider
2018 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.
2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo — Bigger than the RS 7, but combines the athleticism of a sports car with an executive sedan’s comfort.
2018 Mercedes-AMG CLS 63 S — This AMG-tuned, 577-hp 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.
Admittedly, anyone with the regular RS 7 could never feel short-changed or unsatisfied. But with that Performance version in existence, surely the right thing to do would be to man up and throw that extra $16,800 down. Just make sure you can afford the Driver Assistance package as well. The deeply wonderful 2018 Audi RS 7 and RS 7 Performance have so much power, grip, luxury and style that it’s almost ridiculous.