Audi RS7: Sport Coupe For Family of Four

Audi is well known for creating some of the most unique and interesting cars fueled by cutting edge technology a touch of attitude.  Ever since my first encounter and resulting affection with the first generation S5 at Tokyo Motor Show 2007, I was always under impression that all modern Audi's possessed a very distinctive "cool" factor to them.  There is just something special about Vorsprung durch Technik vehicles that make you turn your head and appreciate a perfectly proportioned object that happens to be a lot more than just a good looking car.

It is therefore a forgone conclusion that ever since I started this web-site I was dying to take one of the high-end Audi out for a spin.

Even though driving an R8 is my ultimate goal, today Audi Japan threw me the keys to a 2014 "Misano Red" Audi RS7.

Not, too bad, right?  I have always admired the mixed personalities of four-door coupe's as an ultimate solution for people... well, just like me actually - a hard working family man with inextinguishable lust for high performance cars.

BMW 6 series and later 4 series Gran Coupe, Benz CLS, CLA, and of course Audi A5 and A7 Sport Back are hitting the nail on the head in this department,

Audi's, however (and I must add - BMW 4 series Gran Coupe) come with a twist: not only they are sport four-door coupes with luxurious interiors, they are also hatch-backs, which means extra space in the back for baby stroller and shopping bags and hence more interest from the demanding wives.

Don't forget, these are family cars and without practicality and comfort these just won't sell and in my humble opinion Audi has absolutely nailed it.

What's more, is that with a simple rotation of the dial to "comfort" the car loses is sportiness, relaxes all its muscles, shuts off couple of cylinders, closes the exhaust flaps and becomes a perfect replacement for whatever most people have in mind for a family car.  It even has all wheel drive so technically, there is no need for an SUV!

And who in their right mind would pick a minivan over this?  I mean just look at it!  The car is a proportional masterpiece that incorporates form and function into one free flowing shape that is pleasant to look at from any angle.

On the inside you get the top end German luxury treatment with beautifully stitched leather seats,

ergonomically laid out controls, and an awesome sounding infotainment system with SSD navigation and media storage.

Audi RS7 Sportsback does indeed share lots of interior features with their flagship A8, and the moment you step into the car you know that this indeed a very special place.

Once I spent enough time appreciating the cabin, I pushed the start button and fired up the glorious 4L twin-turbocharged V8.

The engine is shared across top end Audi models and even finds itself under the bonnet of Bentley Continental GT.  As result of current downsizing trend it replaced the thirsty twin turbo V10 and while losing a bit of low end torque it gained response, lightness and is a giant leap forward in terms of fuel economy.

Yes, V10 is the ultimate cool when it comes to engines, but I am yet to meet an enthusiast who would say "no" to a V8?

There is a definite wow factor once you set off as the the immense low end torque can really throw this car forward. 

The engine is extraordinarily lively and gets to 6800RRM red-line in a blink of an eye, a gear change at high RPM is accompanied by a loud thud from the exhaust pipes making everyone aware that the boss has just changed up.

Down shifts are even more spectacular as the thud resonates inside the cabin and is even felt on the steering wheel and is accompanied by cracks and pops on lift throttle the over-run.

Steering is as expected sharp, but felt extraordinary light as if I was driving a Toyota Camry or a Lincoln Towncar.  The car felt well balanced and planted despite its rather heavy weight  But even though on occasions it felt like this sizable machine was on the verge of braking laws of physics, reality was that it was pretty far from it.

You could feel this long wheelbase car transform its weight from back to front on braking and acceleration, while high seating position, although helps with visibility does create an illusion that you are piloting a barge rather than a sports car.

Despite the car's performance and sound track, after driving it for a while it becomes evident how disconnected the driver is from the machine. You could almost sense computer nannies taking care of transforming your inputs into commands that are suitable for the car at that given moment.

Not only you are robbed of instant response as the car processes every single bit of input and applies it in the way it thinks is right, there is also no sensation of you being engaged in the actual process of controlling the vehicle.

Don't get me wrong, by no means I am saying that the Audi RS7 is a bad car, but when it comes to being a multi-purpose family friendly sports car, despite being very quick and powerful it lacks in the essential"sports-car" feel.

Where BMW M6 Gran Coupe still feels like a sports coupe and nobody can argue with the analogue feel of the CLS63 AMG, Audi RS7 simply does not deliver the thrill that these two provide on every occasion.

Would I be happy if I had an RS7 as a daily driver and a family car - without a doubt, very much so, but  I would be missing the excitement of the BMW each and every time I flick the car into sports mode and hit the mountains on early Sunday morning.

As a matter of fact, this was exactly how I felt when I was done with RS7 Test Drive and got behind the wheel of my (at the time) 335i. It may not have the power or the luxuries of the RS7, and frankly the turbocharged Inline-6 of the BMW has nothing on Audi's V8, but the overall driving experience was just that much more exciting, and to guys like me this would be the decisive factor.

A few months after taking ownership of the M3, I can do nothing more than but to stand by opinion that when it comes to ultimate driving machines, nobody can take the crown away from the BMW.

So there we have it, without a doubt Audi did their homework when they designed the RS7 as the car checks off all the boxes of being a practical, good looking, valuable and very very fast.  To an every day buyer who wants a bit of thrill in his daily routine this car may be the answer, but to the true die-hard enthusiasts who value purity in their driving experiences it falls short of being the very reason why car guys would consider buying it: it fails at being a toy.




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