2018 Audi RS 7 Expert Review

4.6 Overall Score
Performance 4.6 Comfort 4.5 Styling 4.6 Value 4.5

Editor's Overview

Do these Audi RS 7s rank among the world’s most desirable hatchbacks? With their handsome looks, phenomenal power, laudable composure, abundant technology, and real-world practicality, the answer is a resounding yes.

You'll Like The 2018 Audi RS 7 If...

Looking for a super-fast European sedan that coddles and carves yet has the added practicality of a hatchback? The Audi RS 7 is for you. Moreover, it oozes style and you won’t see yourself coming and going in this rare German.

You May Not Like The 2018 Audi RS 7 If...

With a starting price of almost $115,000, the 2018 RS 7 isn’t inexpensive. And if you need more cargo capacity, a sport wagon such as the Mercedes-AMG E 63 wagon is a better choice. Also, the RS 7 seats only four, not five.

What's New

The standard aluminum-alloy wheels on this potent Audi are now 21 inches, up from 20. What’s more, a sport exhaust is now standard for 2018.

Interior Features

There's much to like inside. The Valcona leather seats are especially handsome, replete with contrast-stitched honeycomb elements and embossed RS 7 logos. Likewise, the 3-spoke flat-bottom steering wheel is exemplary, comfortable in hand and boasting numerous controls yet somehow managing to avoid being too busy. Carbon-fiber inlays on the dash, center console and door panels add high-tech sizzle, while the overall ergonomics are excellent, placing the major controls where expected. As a German sedan, the RS 7 accommodates tall drivers well, but back-seat headroom leaves something to be desired. On a positive note, the rear seat splits and folds to help this Audi better carry large or awkward cargo.

Exterior Features

The RS 7 is based on the A7, the hatchback Audi sedan (reviewed here) that has been turning heads since 2012 with its smooth silhouette and sleek fastback roofline. What sets the RS 7 apart? In addition to aluminum-look paint around the grille, there’s a lower front lip spoiler, front-bumper air intakes, and unique side-view mirror housings. And in back, there’s a powered rear spoiler that deploys automatically for increased downforce. Unique 21-inch Audi Sport wheels are available in silver, black and titanium colors. The RS 7 Performance distinguishes itself with a black grille surround and carbon-fiber trim on the front air intakes, side-view mirror housings and rear diffuser.

Driving Impressions

In either version of the 2018 Audi RS 7 (560 or 605 horsepower), drivers will be awed by the acceleration. This Audi plants you in your seat like few other cars, yet the quattro all-wheel-drive system keeps these sprints remarkably composed. Audi says the RS 7 Performance hits 60 mph in only 3.6 seconds, and has a top speed of 190 mph (the standard RS 7 tops out at 174).


But there’s more to these Audis than just raw speed. They exude luxury inside, their build quality is stellar, and they have a comfortable ride that can be adjusted via Audi Drive Select, which allows the driver to choose among Dynamic, Comfort and Auto modes, or select an Individual setting that lets the driver tailor steering effort, transmission shift points and throttle response. While the RS 7 is well suited for the high speeds of the German <i>Autobahnen,</i> it feels totally relaxed and refined in the city and on the daily commute, where it pleases drivers with neat technologies such a head-up display, adaptive cruise control, a night-vision camera, corner-view camera, active lane assist, and MMI touch, which lets drivers “write” an entry by moving their fingers across a touchpad. While this the RS 7 doesn’t quite have the agility of, say, a BMW M5 or an E 63 AMG Mercedes, it relishes sweeping mountain roads, where the comfortable seats, beautifully sculpted dash, sumptuous leather and powerful audio system combine to make that ski trip to Colorado feel much shorter than it actually is.

Pricing Notes

The Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2018 Audi RS 7 is $114,875. The RS 7 Performance is listed at $131,675. With just about every option, the standard RS 7 (if there is such a thing) will set you back about $133,000. The 2018 Audi RS 7 Performance model can pass $150,000 with options, including the expensive titanium exhaust. For the record, a Porsche Panamera Turbo, a newer design, starts at about $151,000 and can reach $180,000. As always, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others are paying for this Audi.

Notable Equipment

With a base price of $114,875, the 2018 Audi RS 7 is far from sparsely equipped. Apart from that glorious twin-turbo V8, standard equipment includes the quattro sport rear differential, air suspension, navigation, a 14-speaker Bose audio system, a head-up display, SiriusXM satellite radio, and a 7-inch driver information system. Also included: 12-way Valcona leather seats, split-folding rear seats (with pass-through), a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, and LED headlights and taillights. The RS 7 Performance model goes a step further, adding the mighty 605-horsepower engine, electronically adjustable suspension, and track-ready ceramic brakes.

Notable Options

If you want adaptive cruise control (with stop and go functionality) and active lane assist, it’s available as part of the $2,000 Driver Assistance Package. Other notable options include a night-vision camera ($2,500), a Carbon-Optic package ($4,500), massaging front seats ($1,950) and a Bang &amp; Olufsen sound system ($4,900). The Performance model has basically the same options with one exception: a lightweight Audi Sport titanium exhaust that adds 10 horsepower. A point to consider: While the exhaust saves 18 pounds, its $9,350 option price equates to a payout of nearly $520 per pound saved.

Favorite Features

GORGEOUS INTERIOR

Audi does interiors right, and the RS 7’s is a prime example. In appearance, function and feel, the RS 7 cabin, with its multifunction flat-bottom steering wheel and slick carbon-fiber trim, has few rivals. We love the knurled dials for the audio and climate controls, and the 8-inch display that rises each time you start the car.


QUATTRO SPORT DIFFERENTIAL

Standard on the RS 7, the quattro sport rear differential helps the big Audi turn into corners, even when physics tries to make the car continue straight. How so? Unbeknownst to the driver, the sport diff overdrives the outside rear wheel, creating a force that helps rotate the RS 7 into corners, greatly aiding its agility.


Under the Hood

The RS 7’s twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 produces 560 horsepower at 5,700 rpm and a sweet 516 lb-ft plateau of torque from 1,750 rpm to 5,500. The RS 7 Performance ramps that up to 605 hp at 6,100 rpm and 553 lb-ft. of torque from 2,500 rpm to 5,500, thanks to revised turbochargers, camshafts and intercoolers. Both engines mate to an 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission and quattro AWD.


4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 (RS 7)

560 horsepower @ 5,700-6,600 rpm

516 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-5,500 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/24 mpg


4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 (RS 7 Performance)

605 horsepower @ 6,100-6,800 rpm

553 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500-5,500 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/24 mpg

Editors' Notes

With their timeless style, all-wheel-drive powertrains, beautifully crafted interiors, and top-notch safety and infotainment technologies, the 2018 Audi RS 7 and Audi RS 7 Performance rank among the world’s most desirable hatchbacks. Power, of course, plays a role. The standard RS 7’s twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 puts out 560 horsepower, and in the Performance model, that bumps to 605 hp, which is good for a claimed top speed of 190 mph. Quattro all-wheel drive (AWD) adds to the composure of these super sedans, aided by an 8-speed Tiptronic gearbox that can function like a standard automatic or be shifted manually via paddles on the steering wheel. Competitors include the Porsche Panamera Turbo, BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe, and Mercedes-AMG CLS 63 S, although the latter two are not hatchbacks.

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