Engaging in a truly delightful game of one-upmanship, Audi used Detroit to unveil its latest power player in the form of the 2014 Audi RS 7. This more intense version of the already pretty spectacular S7 liftback will offer harder-core sport-luxury enthusiasts an even more engaging and rewarding driving experience when it goes on sale here in the fall.
Like the rest of Audi's high-perf RS clan, upgrades on the new RS 7 involve functional cosmetic tweaks as well as adrenaline-bolstering mechanical enhancements. Here, the RS 7's even badder-boy looks are keyed to its more aggressive front and rear fascias treatments, both set off with appropriate RS 7 badging. The nose job adds a unique air dam, massive air intakes, gloss-black honeycomb grille inserts and matte-aluminum trim while larger-diameter elliptical exhaust outlets and a bespoke diffuser put a bit more sting in the tail that still retains the auto-deploying rear spoiler. The RS 7's standard polished 20-inch forged light-alloy wheel fitment can be upgraded to a 21-inch alternative and the options roster includes both matte-aluminum and carbon fiber styling packages.
As for changes that directly bolster its exhilaration index, the S7's upgrade to RS 7 status starts with a revamped version of the car's 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 that gets RS-spec control management and an unthrottled intake system. The changes help raises output from 420 to a stunning 560 horsepower and pump peak torque from 406 lb-ft to 553 lb-ft, which it churns out from 1,750-5,500 rpm. In place of the S7's 7-speed Tiptronic automatic, Audi's hottest hatch is fitted with an RS-tuned 8-speed alternative from the Audi S8. Also paddle shiftable, it interfaces with the most capable sport version of the automaker's famed Quattro all-wheel-drive system and a more aggressively programmed Electronic Stability Control system. In max-charge mode, Audi claims the new RS7 can blast from 0-62 mph in a mere 3.9 seconds. While baseline top speed is limited to 155 mph, the optional Dynamic Package and Dynamic Package Plus step the RS 7's maximum velocity up to 174 mph and 190 mph, respectively.
Underpinning the RS 7 is a bespoke version of Audi's adaptive air suspension system that also integrates with the automaker's multi-mode Drive Select setup and features adaptive damping that lowers ride height by 0.8 inch. However, ultra-performance fans can opt for the tauter Sport Suspension Plus with Dynamic Ride Control (DRC) that uses steel springs and features interconnected 3-stage adjustable shocks. The standard and extremely capable 4-wheel discs brakes also can be upgraded to a set of carbon-ceramic super stoppers.
The well-finished, well-appointed cabin of the new RS 7 looks and feels the part of a thoroughbred performance machine. Complementing the elegant Audi design themes found in the S7 are features like deeply-bolstered RS-spec sport buckets covered in black Alcantara and diamond-tufted leather, flat-bottom steering wheel, unique gauge graphics and a custom driver information system as well as highline standards that include MMI Navigation Plus, tri-zone climate control and adaptive cruise control. Expect pricing for the new 2014 Audi RS 7 to be released closer to its on-sale date.
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