The all-new second-generation RS7 takes the fastback four-door formula set by its predecessor and concentrates it. Audi Sport — the geniuses behind all of Audi’s RS models — has spared no expense. And, well, we’re in love.
This time around there’s no mistaking the hotrod RS model for the more common A7, as only four body panels carry over. The swollen wheel arches are stretched over 22-inch rims. Behind them are enormous 440-millimetre carbon-ceramic brake discs clamped by 10-piston calipers. This race-spec hardware is a warning, a subtle clue that the RS7 should not be taken lightly. The wider body is slammed on your choice of suspension — adaptive dampers or air shocks — which gives the whole car a perfect stance. It looks planted, aggressive, like a running back crouched down in formation.
Inside there’s seating for five, instead of the four of the old version. The cabin feels next-generation compared to its rivals.
Hauling across Bavaria with nearly 600 horsepower, we’re thankful for the prodigious stopping power of those new brakes. The revised V8 engine is quite literally breathtaking; when all 590 lb-ft of twin-turbocharged torque hits, the all-wheel drive system digs the fat Pirellis into the tarmac and it feels like there’s a medicine ball pressing on your chest.
While the original RS7 was merely fast, the new one handles, too. All-wheel steering and an optional limited slip rear differential transforms the driving experience. The big Audi changes directions with the eagerness of a foxhound. U-turns are completed with room to spare. An “RS” button on the steering wheel allows you to program your two favourite driving modes and access them in an instant — when, say, a delicious on-ramp or empty stretch of road presents itself.
Above all, though, we love the RS7 because it’s an original in a sea of copycats. The automotive landscape is becoming increasingly homogenous and the RS7 stands out like a one-finger salute to ordinary. Audi could have easily diluted it to broaden the car’s appeal, but they didn’t; they kept the RS7 weird. If it’s a freak, then so are we.