A new Audi RS 7, a high-performance version of the big, swoopy A7 four-door coupe, goes on sale this fall. The 2014 Audi RS 7 Sportback unveiled at the 2013 Detroit North American Auto Show will be the highest-performing, sexiest looking (and therefore most rare and expensive) non-sports car Audi offers.
The German upscale automaker's naming practice for passenger cars is pretty straightforward. Audi model names run from the A3 hatchback at the bottom to the A8 large luxury sedan at the top, with the higher odd numbers (A5 and A7) the sexier fastbacks that the Germans like to call four-door coupes. (Traditionally, coupes have just two doors.) Substituting an S for the A, the Audi S7, for example, designates higher-performance sport models. The addition of an R before the S signifies the very hottest of those. Hence, the RS 7 is at the top in terms of performance attributes.
Developed by quattro GmbH, Audi's performance division, RS models are thoroughly track tested, including 5,000 miles of flat-out running by Audi engineers and race drivers at Germany's legendary Nurburgring race course to achieve the maximum possible levels of performance and durability.
The 2014 Audi RS 7 will be powered by a 4.0-liter TFSI (Turbocharged Fuel Straight Injected) V8 producing 560 hp and capable of propelling it from rest to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in just 3.9 seconds and to a (governor deactivated) top speed of nearly 190 mph. Yet Audi says it will also be capable of delivering fuel efficiency in the 24-mpg range.
The twin-turbo V8 develops an awesome 553 pound-feet of torque between 1750 and 5500 rpm. Its cylinder heads are the opposite of normal industry practice, with their intake manifolds on the outside of the cylinder banks and their exhausts on the inside, directly feeding the two twin-scroll intercooled turbochargers for near-instantaneous response. Top speed is 155 mph in standard configuration, 174 mph with an optional Dynamic Package, or that potential 190 mph with a Dynamic Package Plus.
The engine's innovative efficiency technology features the Cylinder on
Demand system, which deactivates cylinders two, three, five and eight (by closing their valves via electromechanical actuators) to let it operate as a 2.0-liter four-cylinder at low to medium engine speeds and loads. Audi says it can increase fuel efficiency by five to 10 percent.
The standard Tiptronic 8-speed automatic, specially tuned for the RS 7, will let you choose between D (Drive) and S (Sport) modes, or you can shift yourself with the selector lever or steering wheel shift paddles.
Also standard is Audi's quattro permanent all-wheel drive, which uses a high-locking-rate center differential and a separate oil cooler. It distributes torque as needed between the front and rear axles within a wide range, with 60 percent rear/40 percent front the standard configuration. Intelligent torque vectoring applies light braking to the unloaded wheels at the cornering limit, and an optional sport rear differential uses two super-position gears to actively distribute power between the wheels.
Audi RS 7's electronic stabilization control (ESC) has a Sport mode, and it can be deactivated for track driving. Standard wheels are 20-inch polished forged aluminum, while optional 21-inch cast aluminum wheels are available in a choice of three designs.
Adaptive air suspension lowers the body by 20 millimeters (0.79 in) to reduce drag and improve handling at highways speeds. Adaptive damping adjusts the suspension’s response to the road condition, the driver’s style and the mode selected in the Audi drive select system.
Dynamics-enhancing options include a taut Sport Suspension Plus with steel springs and three-stage adjustable dampers and Dynamic Steering with steplessly variable boost and ratio.
The 2014 Audi RS 7 is expected to go on sale Fall 2013. We can only guess at the price, which we are expecting somewhere around $110,000 to $125,000.