Fresh from the shock factor of the Audi RS6 Avant, the German carmaker debuted the 2020 Audi RS7 Sportback at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show. And similar to the RS6 Avant, you won’t be mistaking the RS7 Sportback with the S7 and A7 performance saloon. Besides getting a wider and more aggressive bodywork, the new RS7 Sportback has all the bells and whistles to run side-by-side with BMW’s M8 Gran Coupe.
Thankfully, Audi’s newest second-generation RS7 Sportback is devoid of the oddities seen in the outgoing model. Chief among which is the availability of five proper seats, with three seats in the rear passenger compartment. The outgoing model was only offered as a four-seater, which is the opposite of what we’re expecting in what is conceivably a large and cosseting luxury saloon.
Audi’s New RS7 Sportback is clearly distinguishable as an RS model
Buyers pay a significant premium for the RS experience, and Audi knows this all too well. It’s only natural for customers to want their RS cars to look different from the base models, and the RS7 Sportback makes this clear right off the bat. “The RS 7 Sportback is our interpretation of a five-door high-performance coupé with a grand tourer design,” said Oliver Hoffmann, Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH. “With refinements to make it even more suitable for everyday use plus its incredible performance, what we have here is an outstanding piece of sports equipment for customers who like their cars to feature stunning design.”
Keen readers will notice the new and wider Singleframe grille, which is positioned lower and devoid of a contrasting border. The new front bumper has large front air inlets with vertical fins. This design feature gives the new RS7 a more aggressive and intimidating fascia. Those larger inlets also feed copious amounts of air to the burly V8 motor hiding underneath the long, wide hood.
Speaking of the hood, it’s one of the only three shared components over the base A7 Sportback. The roof, the tailgate, and the front doors are also common in the RS7 Sportback, but that’s basically it. However, both the A7 and RS7 Sportback have that succulent, tapering coupe-like roofline, but the latter benefits from well-toned curved surfaces and sharply defined lines to make it look muscular than the former. The RS7 is also 1.6-inches wider than the A7 Sportback to give the car a more planted stance.
It looks outrageously sporty from the back as well
When you’re following an RS7 Sportback on the road, it’s hard not to notice the continuous LED strip linking the main rear lights. The rear design is clean yet5 purposeful, and you won’t even notice the rear spoiler hiding under the boot lid. Interestingly, the spoiler extends from the tailgate at a speed of 75 mph and upwards. This helps give the RS7 better stability and aerodynamics at higher speeds without giving the vehicle a ridiculous fixed-wing design.
Also, you’ll be hard-pressed not to notice the large and shiny oval-shaped tailpipes on each side. The exhaust tips are big enough for small, furry animals to all home. The new rear bumper is also equipped with a new rear diffuser in gloss black to further accentuate the sporting intent of the vehicle.
The crème of the crop: 600 HP twin-turbocharged V8 engine
There’s more good news in the new Audi RS7 Sportback. If the new U.S-bound RS6 Avant came with a burly V8 engine, Audi wasn’t going to allow the RS7 to have nothing less than 600-horsepower, right? With that in mind, it’s good to know the new RS7 Sportback has proper bragging rights in terms of engine size. It has the same 4.0-liter TFSI V8 engine in the RS6 Avant producing the same 600-horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque.
The engine is bolted to an eight-speed Tiptronic transmission driving all four wheels courtesy of Audi’s Quattro permanent all-wheel-drive system. The system feeds a 40:60 ratio of torque between the front and rear wheels in normal driving scenarios. But if you push it hard around corners, the mechanical center differential can feed up to 70-percent of torque to the front and up to 85-percent to the rear axle. This gives the RS7 a more athletic and more stable driving feel on any type of road surface.
Audi’s new RS7 Sportback is fast enough to shame proper sports cars. It scoots from 0 to 60 mph in 3.6-seconds and has a top speed of 155 mph. If that’s not enough, selecting the Dynamic or Dynamic Plus package increases the top speed to 174 mph (280 kph) and 190 mph (305 kph).
The new Audi RS7 Sportback is a mild-hybrid vehicle
But unlike other mild-hybrid systems that boost power output, the MHEV architecture in the new Audi RS7 Sportback is engineered to boost efficiency and fuel economy. There’s a belt alternator starter that offers two functions: recover up to 12 kW of energy when driving and to start-stop the V8 engine in traffic and stoplights.
The system stores energy into a small lithium-ion battery pack. It enables the vehicle to coast with the engine switched off at speeds between 34 to 100 mph. This same MHEV technology allows the start-stop mode to engage below 13 mph. The unique thing is the system starts the engine automatically as soon as the vehicle in front starts moving, even if your foot is hard on the brake pedal. And all of this happens seamlessly with no hiccups, vibrations, or jerkiness.
Audi says it helps the new RS& Sportback to save up to 0.8-liters of fuel for every 100 kilometers (62 miles) of driving. Also helping the cause is an innovative COD or cylinder-on-demand system that shuts off four of the eight cylinders as needed.
The RS7 Sportback has standard air suspension
The 2020 Audi RS7 Sportback is offered in two suspension options: the standard RS adaptive air suspension and the optional RS sport suspension plus with firmer coil springs and new adaptive dampers. There’s a reason why air suspension is standard in the RS7 Sportback, and it all has something to do with long-distance comfort. However, the RS air suspension system is good enough to reach the claimed 190 mph top speed with the Dynamic Plus package. It can also lower the vehicle to improve ground effects at high speed, and it can raise the car to clear speed bumps.
Meanwhile, the optional sport suspension is better if you’re planning to drive hard in your RS7 Sportback. Equipped with Audi’s DRC or Dynamic Ride Control, the system virtually eliminates pitch and roll during spirited driving. Also standard in the RS7 Sportback is progressive steering with sporty and direct ratios but all-wheel steering is optional. The latter can turn the rear wheels to reduce the turning circle when parking or making a three-point turn. It also improves handling and responsiveness when you’re pushing the car to its limits.
The interior is typical Audi: immaculate, luxurious, and refined
The new Audi RS7 Sportback may be a sports car hiding underneath a sleek coupe-like sedan body, but the interior is befitting of a flagship luxury car. The interior provides a careful balance of sporty accents and luxurious touches. The upper MMI touchscreen display is cleanly integrated into the dashboard with its black-paneled architecture. The driver gets to stare at the beautiful Audi virtual cockpit to monitor vehicle and performance functions like tire pressure, engine torque, boost pressure, g-forces, and even your lap times.
But the awesome flat-bottomed RS steering wheel and RS sport seats are hints to the RS7 Sportback’s mesmerizing performance capabilities. The tiller is wrapped in fully perforated leather while the large shift paddles are milled from solid aluminum. The front and rear doors are equipped with logo projectors that beam the Audi Sport emblem on the ground when open. The seats are upholstered in black Nappa leather with RS embossing while perforated Valcona leather is optional.
The new RS7 Sportback is practical to a fault
For the first time, Audi is offering the new RS7 Sportback with a three-seater bench for the rear seats. Meanwhile, the sportier four-seat design remains an option if you don’t need the middle rear seat. Opening the power-operated tailgate reveals 18.9 cubic-feet (535 liters) of cargo room. Fold the rear seats down and the capacity increases to 49.1 cubic feet (1,390 liters). The new RS7 is not just fast, but it fulfills the role of family hauler quite well.
The 2020 Audi RS7 Sportback will arrive at European Audi dealerships in the first quarter of 2020. First U.S. deliveries are expected to commence not long after that. Pricing is yet to be announced, but we expect base prices to start upwards of $115,000.