Bruce Wayne is a millionaire businessman that lives in a mansion on the outskirts of Gotham City. He has a butler that tends to his every wish, he is always well garbed, he is smart, smooth and has a bit of a wit about him. Of course we all know he has a serious alter ego problem, another side to him that lurks in the basement; hidden from the world until it’s really needed. This seemingly (often suppressed) dark character has quiet personality traits and yet has a plethora of flamboyant toys that tends to fit every foreseeable (and unforeseen) situation. This complex but ‘on the face of it’ transparently simple personality combination is what sprung to mind when I drove the new Audi RS7 Performance Sportback.
As you approach the RS7 Performance you are immediately struck on how impeccably well dressed it is. The car’s exterior is all refined and dignified; like a gentleman in a perfectly tailored suit. As a flawlessly pressed handkerchief and cufflinks are ideal additions for formal attire; the RS7’s carbon fibre and chrome accentuates its distinguished look while its (highly polished oxfords) 21” Alloys complete the ensemble.
The refinement and appeal continues inside the cabin. The scent of Valcona leather greets you the moment you open the Alcantara finished doors. Carbon fibre and piano black finishes on the dash and centre console, RS embossed sports seats (with honeycombed patterning) and of course an RS multi function sports leather steering wheel.
Push button start awakens the seemingly gentle giant and the slight growl from the exhaust gives just a hint of what the RS7 performance has in store. The infotainment screen emerges from its dashboard home and offers the full Audi package – with head up display helping to keep your eyes on the road. I slipped it into gear, dabbed on the accelerator and the Sportback effortlessly took to the road.
Around the city it’s quiet and refined, driving through the streets barely unnoticed, at low revs the engine purrs confidently in more of a hum than a growl. Its shade over 5m length is manageable and visibility is excellent. Navigation of parking spaces is handled with electronic assistance (camera’s, beeps and selfpark if required) but again I’m sure that it wouldn’t be a problem without all the help – don’t get me wrong; I welcomed the aid. Bang and Olufsen delivered music from literally all nooks and crannies of the interior and the RS7 even has a 6 CD stacker for the classics amongst us. There is a place to wirelessly recharge your smartphone and plenty of areas to store and organize your gear – lifting up the Sportback (electronically) gives you access to 535 cubic feet of room (1390 if you drop the rear seats) which should be more than enough for most people’s shopping.
Out of the confines of Gotham (ok Auckland) and it was time to open up the 4litre twin turbo V8 Spark ignition monster. Hmmm… The 445kW and 700Nm of torque joins you at 1750rpm but I have to say it’s delivered to you in a very dignified manner – I was half (or in fact wholly) expecting spine tingling; roaring and spitting nastiness but no, it raises its voice but doesn’t appear to shout. Sport and Overboost shoves the motor up to a whopping 750Nm and introduces some drama to the exhaust note but nothing like the aggression of some of the lesser RS numbers. The funny thing is; it’s not something that you miss, especially when you look at where the needle is sitting in the speedo dial. The rate that this car gets into ‘license losing’ territory is sublime. The 0-100 is 3.7 seconds, which is fast in any language but particularly impressive when you’re inside a near 2 tonne vehicle. It has a (limited) top speed of 250kph but when it’s all attached to an 8 Speed tiptronic gearbox it has a reported 9.6l/100 fuel economy
The drive train is Quattro (all wheel) with a 60/40 – rear wheel bias – torque split and it simply conquers the corners with super hero aplomb. In dynamic driving mode the RS sports air suspension drops the body 20mm and makes the entire car poised ready for action.
I must admit that it struggles a little in the day to day fight against the evil of rush hour traffic, the powerful drive train has an aversion to staying around 1000 rpm, making the gearbox a little clunky, but let’s face it none of us like rush hour traffic. On saying that, it did give a good chance to scroll through all the menu’s; open the sunroof and turn up the volume, so maybe it’s not a bad place after all.
I was going to say that the RS7 Performance gets up to mouth watering speeds like a bat out of hell but the fact is it does it (virtually) without any of the gnashing of teeth or wailing drama. It’s a suited businessman that has the gumption and indeed the ability to change from a mild mannered managerial type to an all powerful leader of industry without breaking a sweat. At any given moment (and particularly when called upon); it can dig into its box of toys to thrill and excite and yet will smile as it calmly delivers its memorable one liners – it’s a caped crusader that is comfortable wearing Valcona.
Thanks for the Pic Dillon Photography
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