2016 Audi Rs 7

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2016 Audi RS 7 with a sleek, fastback body, 20-inch wheels and aggressive styling mods, the RS7 could get by on looks alone—but as an RS model, that’s not necessary. This bahn-burner packs a spectacular twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 that makes 560 hp, a performance-tuned eight-speed automatic, all-wheel drive, and a lowered suspension. For more power, the RS 7 Performance makes 605 hp. While the six-figure price tag is not cheap, the RS7 is as close as it gets to an R8 supercar with four doors and a hatch.

Four doors typically signify compromise in the world of high-performance cars. So does the use of underpinnings borrowed from the rather commonplace A6 sedan. But even though the 2016 Audi RS 7 has both, this hot-rod hatchback still has the goods to get any enthusiast's heart racing. With a 560-horsepower turbo V8, an advanced all-wheel-drive system and seductive styling, the RS 7 is a genuine thrill ride that just happens to have room for four adults and their luggage.

The only problem is that much the same could be said of the "regular" S7, which packs a twin-turbo V8 of its own and costs a whole lot less. The savvy shopper's question, then, is what exactly you get for that extra suitcase full of cash. For one thing, the RS 7 gains 110 hp under the hood, increasing the 450-hp S7's already stupendous speed by a factor of OMG. Between the wheels, there's an RS-specific active sport suspension if you specify the Dynamic package, though of course that costs even more. The RS 7 also boasts a number of unique exterior and interior trim elements, including gaping front air intakes that give the car a subtly sinister look. Then there's the eight-speed conventional automatic transmission, which supplants the S7's excellent seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual.

Wait, what? Alas, it's true. Although the dual-clutch gearbox generally serves duty in Audi's sportiest models (including the exotic R8), it couldn't handle the RS 7's increased torque output, so a regular automatic had to suffice. To be clear, the ZF-built eight-speed that seemingly everyone's using these days is a wonderful unit that drew rave reviews in our RS 7 track test; owners are quite unlikely to be disappointed. But if you look at BMW's lineup, for example, it's the M6 Gran Coupe that gets the racy automated manual setup, not the 650i Gran Coupe with its lesser engine.

Nonetheless, you probably won't be pining away for a different transmission when you're sprinting to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds. If the 2016 Audi RS 7 isn't the fastest four-door on the planet, it's certainly in the conversation, and that's the name of the game in this league. The Porsche Panamera Turbo is roughly as quick in a straight line and nimbler going around corners, but it's more expensive and arguably less attractive. The Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG and the aforementioned BMW M6 Gran Coupe can hang with the RS 7 in spirited driving, but they lack the Audi's hatchback versatility. You might also consider the Tesla Model S if you're open to going electric. But for uncompromised speed in a stylish yet functional package, it's tough to top the Audi RS 7.

The 2016 Audi RS 7 comes in a single well-equipped trim level that's similar to the Prestige trim of the regular Audi A7, albeit with a number of performance-themed upgrades. Unlike the A7 sedan, which has a three-passenger rear seat, the RS 7 has two individual rear seats, meaning a limit of four passengers instead of five.

Standard features include 20-inch wheels, LED headlights and taillights, a sport body kit, an adaptive sport-tuned air suspension, variable-ratio steering, a sport differential, a sunroof, a power liftgate, auto-dimming mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, a basic collision mitigation system (Pre-Sense Basic and Pre-Sense Rear), a blind-spot monitor and keyless entry and ignition.

Inside you'll find ambient LED lighting, leather upholstery, heated eight-way power front sport seats (with four-way lumbar adjustment), a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, driver memory settings, four-zone automatic climate control, Audi Drive Select (providing driver control over steering, suspension, transmission and exhaust calibrations), Audi's MMI technology interface (with a console-mounted controller that includes touchpad functionality), an 8-inch display screen, a rearview camera, voice controls, a navigation system, a head-up display, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, Siri Eyes Free, Audi Connect (including 4G LTE connectivity, WiFi hotspot capability and Web-based navigation and information services) and a 14-speaker Bose audio system with a CD player, satellite and HD radio and an iPod interface.

There are numerous options packages available for the 2016 Audi RS 7. The Driver Assistance Plus package adds automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning/keeping assist, a corner-view (front and rear) parking camera system and the upgraded Pre Sense Plus collision mitigation system with automatic braking. The Dynamic package adds a sport exhaust with black tailpipes, red-painted brake calipers and a "Dynamic Ride Control" active sport suspension that replaces the air suspension.

The Comfort Seating package features different leather upholstery (lacking the standard honeycomb stitching), "contour" front seats (with ventilation and massage functions), passenger memory settings and comfort rear seats. The Cold Weather package adds heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel. Finally, there are several Optic packages that alter the finish and appearance of the car's mirrors, grille, lower air intakes and rear diffuser.

Stand-alone options include 21-inch wheels, power-closing doors, a night vision system, a simulated suede headliner, rear side airbags and a 15-speaker Bang & Olufsen surround-sound audio system.

The RS 7 is powered by a turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 that sends 560 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels. An eight-speed automatic transmission, a self-locking center differential and a sport rear differential are standard.

During performance testing, an RS 7 leapt to 60 mph in an absurdly quick 3.4 seconds, which is more than half a second quicker than a Chevrolet Corvette. According to the EPA, the RS 7 returns 19 mpg combined (16 city/27 highway), remarkably frugal numbers for this level of performance.

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