By Joe Bruzek on January 13, 2013
Four-door coupes like the Audi A7, Mercedes-Benz CLS and BMW Gran Coupe offer elegant, sleek styling a step above traditional sedans. Audi’s RS 7 is a beefed-up version of the A7/S7 with an additional 140 horsepower over the S7. With the RS 7, there’s now a trio of super-sedan coupes — Mercedes CLS63 AMG and BMW M6 Gran Coupe — with more than 550 horsepower. Audi’s reign as the all-wheel-drive leader could also be challenged in the super-sedan segment by the all-new Mercedes-Benz CLS 63AMG with standard all-wheel drive to combat wheel spin. Let the games begin.
With 560-hp, Audi says the RS 7 accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds. The standard Quattro all-wheel drive splits power 60% to the rear wheels and 40% to the front. Continue past 60 mph and you’ll find the RS 7’s electronically limited top speed of 155 mph — only on some models, however. A Dynamic Package raises the top speed to 174 mph and a Dynamic Package Plus bumps it to 190 mph. Stopping the RS7 are 15.4-inch brakes up front with six-piston calipers; higher-performance carbon fiber ceramic brakes are available and bump rotor size up to 16.5 inches.
When it’s time to turn corners, the RS 7 has two suspension choices. The standard air suspension lowers ride height by 20 millimeters and features adaptive dampening to adjust the suspension’s response to the road. As an alternative, a Sports Suspension Plus Package uses steel springs in place of the air suspension and three-stage adjustable dampeners.
The RS 7 balances performance and fuel economy with a cylinder deactivation system that shuts down four of the RS 7’s eight cylinders during medium-to-light load conditions to save fuel. When all eight cylinders are firing during acceleration, the RS 7’s exhaust features switchable flaps in the exhaust for a fuller sound, Audi says. An optional sports exhaust system is also offered.
Other options include a Carbon Styling Package with a more boldly shaped front splitter and diffuser, side mirrors with exposed carbon housings, all-LED headlights, a head-up display and Comfort Package. Standard equipment includes RS sport seats with pronounced side bolsters covered in Alcantara simulated suede and leather (all leather is optional), xenon headlights, 20-inch wheels and navigation.
Road Test Editor Joe Bruzek covers Cars.com’s short-and long-term fleet of test cars and drives a 1998 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am. Email Joe