Singapore’s first taste of the high-performance RS 7 Sportback is a forceful powerhouse that’s also full of familiar flexibility
SINGAPORE – The Island finally gets a 7 that goes to 11, and it is glorious. This is the first time the Audi RS 7 Sportback has come to Singapore.
In the A7’s first generation, from 2010 to 2018, the RS model was never sold here on an official basis – the top-dog here was the semi-hot S7.
The A7 Sportback is Audi’s big four-door coupe, for those who think sedans are too boring and SUVs too gauche. Like any RS model, it’s an A7 that’s been cyborged-out and trained in the Dark Art of Going Very Fast by Audi Sport, the motorsport/high-performance outfit of the brand, formerly known as quattro GmbH.
And judging from the number of blinged-out, big-wheeled, body-kitted first-gen A7 Sportbacks on the roads, a high-performance A7 is something that will sell better than Audi’s staggeringly fast RS 6 Avant.
We tested the first-gen RS 7 on a short test ride in the Alps way back in 2013, and it was charmingly GT fast, with an aggressive edge set off by the A7’s elegant styling.
But the new RS 7 Sportback blows that car clear out of the mountain lake, even when standing still.
Anorak tip: The first RS 7 didn’t get the flared-out wide-track treatment, but this baby does. The regular A7 is 1,908mm wide, but the RS 7 gains a mump-esque 48mm (making it wider than a Lamborghini Huracan) and with the normal A7 it only shares the bonnet, front doors, and roof – you can see the rear fenders bulging to contain the 22-inch wheels that are standard fit.
There’s a grimacing front end with huge grille sections, a large rear diffuser and twin oval tailpipes, and all this murdered out in black. Okay, you might find that on a dedicated modder’s ride, but not the colossal brake system. The point is, this is a proper RS car, and definitely not a foam-in-your-(insert undergarment of choice here) type deal.
We could go on about the newest Quattro all-wheel drive system, the rear sport diff that makes the tail kick out like a rear-wheel drive car, the suspension setup – but more on the car’s running gear later.
On paper the new car ‘only’ gains 40hp and 100Nm of torque from the first-gen, with the 0-100km/h time dropping from 3.9- to 3.6-seconds. But in real life the new RS 7 is a slightly mind-bending combination of two opposites – freakishly, ferociously quick and unruffled serenity – in one car.
While the regular A7 is already plenty refined, the RS 7 keeps that nature despite itself. If you managed to smuggle someone into the low-slung, coupe-like monstrosity without them noticing the RS bits, or the V8’s start-up bark, they wouldn’t be much the wiser as the RS 7 can waft along with the best of them.
Double-glazed windows help cut wind noise, and the lack of obvious tyre roar (common on performance cars) is a plus, but that the car can deliver such good ride quality despite 22-inch wheels (this one can’t, in contrast) is also near miraculous.