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Saturday, January 1, 2022

2021 Audi RS 7 Sportback AWD: The Answer To Mercedes Benz's AMG Package And BMW's M-Series

Highlight: The A7, which is Audi’s non performance version of the RS 7, is available with a 4-cylinder, plug-in powertrain.

Test Vehicle's MSRP: $137,540 (Base A7$70,245)

Seating Capacity: 5

Standard Safety Features RS 7: airbags; electronic stability control system; a tire pressure monitoring system; a spare tire; rain sensor windshield wiper system; pre sense pedestrian braking system; front and rear parking sensors; and a rear-view camera


Standard Equipment A7: 3.0-liter, 6-cylinder engine; 335-horsepower;20-inch wheels; a push start engine; a 7-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel drive; LED headlights; power tailgate; an adaptive rear spoiler; steering wheel with shift paddles; power steering wheel with memory feature; a three-zone automatic climate control system; a panoramic sunroof; ambient interior lighting package; leather seats; heated power front seats; driver’s side memory feature; automatic dimming rear view mirror with digital compass; touch control buttons with haptic feedback; navigation system with voice controls; a 10-speaker audio system with AM/FM/HD/ with SiriusXM; and a keyless door and hatch opener

Standard Equipment RS 7: 4.0, liter, 8-cylinder; 591-horsepower; 21-inch wheels; 8-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel drive; a 4-zone automatic climate control system; an adaptive air suspension system; a virtual cockpit; a power operated tilt/telescopic steering wheel; leather sport seats with non adjustable headrests; heated power front sport seats with ventilated power lumbar seats; a headlight washer system; and a power sunroof

Options:  Glacier white metallic paint; red ceramic brakes; carbon optic package: Carbon Optic Exterior Trim; Carbon optic exterior mirror, 22-inch wheels with summer tires; Executive Package: heated rear seats, HUD (heads up display), power soft closing doors, and extended leather package, dash, armrest, sills and console); Driver Assistance Package: an adaptive cruise control system with lane keep assist, Audi side assist with rear cross traffic and pre sense rear braking, intersection assist and traffic sign recognition; a sport exhaust system; and carbon twill structure inlay

Other Trim Levels:

A7 Plug-in hybrid

Audi S7

Standard RS 7Audio On Test Vehicle: a Bang and Olufsen 30-speaker AM/FM/HD with SiriusXM

Bluetooth Connectivity: Standard

USB Connectivity: Standard

Apple/Android Connectivity: Standard

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 4.0-liter Turbo, 8-cylinder engine/591-hp

Recommended Fuel: Premium

Standard Fuel Mileage RS 7: 15 city/22 hwy

What’s New: The RS 7 is virtually a carryover model. 

Pros of RS 7:

Hearing the cooling fan chill the 4.0-liter engine, upon the vehicle resting, after a long drive

All-wheel drive

A sexy stunning work of art on wheels

Coupe-like appearance

Wide body with a low profile

Easy to load items due to hatchback trunk

The front LED headlights looks like a magic show at night, when the lights automatically turn off

A throaty V8 engine -- pushes out 591-horsepower

0 to 60, 3.5-seconds, according to Audi

The RS mode button transforms this baby to beast mode

A variety of driving modes, ranging from comfort to dynamic

Optional 22-inch wheels

Power activated automatic retractable rear spoiler, which automatically extends at 60 mph

At 75 mph, when in dynamic mode the vehicle lowers by .4 inches

Precision steering

An engaging driving experience

Optional red brake calipers, which increases the braking speed from the standard 155 mph to 190 mph on the track

A clean and modern layout of the electronic instrument panel and infotainment screen

Comfortable and supportive front seats

A large 10-inch infotainment screen, which is designed for both haptic and acoustic feedback

An 8-inch screen, which connected directly below the 10-inch screen, is designed for climate control and handwriting functions

A height adjustable and sliding front center armrest

Power pull-down trunk

An oversized power sunroof

A radar-activated cruise control system

Wireless charging for smartphone

Heads-up Display (HUD)

Memory setting for the driver’s side only (unlike Mercedes-Benz, which duplicates the setting for the passenger side)

Manual leg extender for front seats of the

Massaging heated seat option

Automatic closing doors (only occurs when the doors are nearly closed)

The vehicle is compatible with all smart phones

A drag coefficient of a .32

No semi or autonomous mode co-pilot assistance is welcomed on this vehicle

But: 

SiriusXM operated intermittently … like with a previous Audi we had to go through a series of steps to activate the channels

Rear seating area really can only accommodate two, because of limited legroom for center occupant

No brake hold feature, which could be useful at stop lights

No power folding exterior mirrors, reducing accidents or scratches, when parked

The engineering team needs to develop a fingerprint-less touchscreen system

Like with most imports, the vehicle can become quite pricey when adding on options


Verdict:  As opposed to labeling the RS 7 as a hatchback, Audi prefers to use the term sportback. The RS 7 is the performance version of the German’s brand A7 model. Unlike the A7, the RS 7 is powered by an ultra-throaty bi-turbo 8-cylinder engine, which spews out nearly 600-horsepower. In fact, while doing our research, we also found that the stunning looking RS 7 only shares four attributes with the A7. They are the hood, the roof, the front doors and the tailgate.

The RS 7, with its low-profile stance and wide-body, is Audi’s answer to the Mercedes-Benz AMG and the BMW M performance models. And no, the vehicle doesn’t disappoint.

Ironically, the last time we spent behind thewheel of the Audi A7 Sportback was almost ten years ago. At that time, the coupe-like design was all-new to the brand. Conversely, one of the major drawbacks we cited, after reviewing the vehicle, was that it lacked an 8-cylinder engine. Boy, did Audi heed our call with this second- generation RS 7, popping in a fire-breathing 590-horsepower, bi-turbo engine.

While there aren’t too many direct competitors in its class, offering a hatchback or coupe-like styling, we found two that goes head-to-head with the RS 7. Like with the RS 7, they are also both have German roots too. They are the Mercedes-Benz CLS 53 and the Porsche Panamera Turbo S. The Mercedes-Benz has the look, but comes up short in the horsepower area, doling out an underwhelming 493-horsepower. Yet, on the other hand, the Panamera Turbo S, which has a starting price over $180,000, is a better match in terms of horsepower, spewing out exactly 620 from under the hood.

However, dollar to dollar, the RS 7 seems to be the better deal, especially for those seeking a more affordable luxury performance vehicle, with the capacity to comfortably seat four to five occupants.

Despite a few drawbacks we noted earlier within the review, its no wonder why the RS 7 causes grown men and some women to drool over this stunning work of art on wheels. The car has a presence about it, allowing the RS 7 to effortlessly glide down major interstates, as the engine growls and the automatic rear spoiler extends.


Competition: Mercedes-Benz CLS 53 and Porsche Panamera Turbo S

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