2021 Audi RS7 review: What’s not to like?
If for some reason you can’t jump to thebandwagon (pun intended absolutely), Audi has another option for you: the RS7. With its sleek looks, handling and class-leading cabin technology, the Audi RS7 is one of the best all-round luxury cars you can buy today.
- Huge V8 power
- Sharp handling thanks to standard hardware performance
- Best-in-class multimedia technology
I do not like
- Not as functional as the less expensive RS6 Avant
- 17 mpg combined – damn!
- Driver assistance technology is not standard
The RS7 certainly looks business, all angular and mean, with broad shoulders and wide hips and that classically beautiful Sportback silhouette. I have to admit that I still find the taillights on the current A7 / S7 / RS7 models a little sloppy, but it’s a little fussy to pick on an otherwise flawless design. Considering the latest RS7 was a little too quiet for its own good, it’s good to see Audi flex some design muscles with this latest RS hatch.
On the other hand, I am equally pleased that Audi’s designers exercised a lot of restraint when designing the interior of the RS7. What could have been a mess of unnecessary angles and overly stylized surfaces is rather elegant. The interior isn’t all that different from what you find in the rest of the A6 and A7 range, but I’m not upset about it. The overall aesthetic is clean and modern, with refined accent stitching on the RS-specific seats and no superfluous buttons – just flat, clean surfaces and screens, screens, screens.
Audi currently leads the charge on luxury car cabin technology and it’s easy to see why. The company’s MMI Touch Response infotainment system is easy to use, with colored tiles for frequently used functions, fast response times, and a relatively intuitive menu structure. The 10.1-inch screen in the center of the dash houses the main multimedia interface, and there’s an 8.6-inch secondary display below. That slightly smaller screen is where you’ll find climate control functions and on-off switches for the stop-start system and various driver assistance functions. The lower display doubles as a handwriting tablet for easy destination search or address entry. Open a navigation search, type “tacos” and boom, go to lunch.
The MMI interface is really robust, but most of the time you don’t even need it. That’s because the RS7 comes standard with Audi’s Virtual Cockpit digital instrument cluster, housed on a 12.3-inch steering wheel screen. This core technology may be a few years old, but Virtual Cockpit is still the bomb, with Google Earth navigation overlays and simple controls for things like phone, audio, and vehicle data via the steering wheel sticks.
Oddly enough, while the RS7 comes with Audi’s best multimedia tech offerings, all good driver assistance magic costs more. Yes, a 360-degree camera, parking sensors, and front collision warning are standard, but full-speed adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assistance, traffic sign recognition and rear cross traffic warning they’re all stuck behind the $ 2,250 driver assistance package. Why this stuff doesn’t come standard on a six-figure luxury car is beyond me, but it’s not uncommon either, so whatever.
Then again, it’s not like buying an RS7 to let computers take over every time you get behind the wheel. This thing absolutely rips, and you’d be doing yourself a disservice not to throw your pants off whenever you get the chance.
The fun starts with Audi’s 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8, the same one you’ll find in a bunch of other cars, including the RS6 Avant. This engine sends 591 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels through Audi’s excellent Quattro all-wheel drive system, with a 0-60 mph time of just 3.5 seconds. It’s damn fast.
Fortunately, every RS7 gets Audi’s full roster of high-performance hardware, including adaptive air suspension, electronic rear differential, and four-wheel steering. The last two bits are particularly important, giving this all-wheel drive car some rear-wheel drive in the corners, the rear-axle steering practically shortens the wheelbase as you go through tight corners. The RS7 is an incredibly agile thing, with well-thought-out, communicative steering and solid power from standard steel brakes. You can pay $ 8,500 to add ceramic brakes with gray calipers, which offer a world of stopping power, but I don’t think you’ll need this upgrade in everyday use. If you’re tracking your RS7 or hit triple-digit speeds frequently, then sure, experience it. For the rest of you, stick to the steel caps.
No matter which brakes you choose, they are hidden behind absolutely massive wheels. The standard RS7 configuration wraps 21-inch wheels in 275/35 tires, but this tester has the optional 22-inch package with 285/30 lower profile rubber. Audi says the 21s are the smallest diameter wheels that will obliterate the RS7’s huge brakes, and the 22s just seem overwhelming by comparison. Thankfully, the air suspension is tuned to filter out much of the hardness you might otherwise expect from such an aggressive wheel and tire package. Whether you’re rolling in the RS7’s Comfort or Dynamic modes, the ride quality I’ve observed on the roads of Southern California is exceptional – smooth and supple on the freeway but beautiful and taut during sporty driving. I struggle to think of another car that is this neatly tidy as I drive on huge wheels – aside from the RS6 Avant, anyway.
Indeed, the RS7 is nicer to drive and experience than its closest competitors, theis . The Audi is simply more balanced and has sharper in-car technology, and this car’s Sportback shape means it’s much more roomy, with 24.7 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats and much more if you fold them down. . The only thing that comes close is Audi’s RS6 Avant or an ordinary crossover. Why buy a crossover when you might have it This?
In fact, the RS7’s closest competitor is the aforementioned RS6. The RS7 is a bit more expensive, at $ 115,045 to start (including $ 1,045 per destination) compared to the RS6’s $ 110,045. Personally I can’t imagine choosing the Sportback over the more interesting and functional Avant, but not everyone shares my opinion.
No matter the roofline, Audi’s latest RS is a winner.