Remember when 500hp was the glorious high-water mark for performance cars? Well, that was the past, and Audi is prepping us for the next generation with its 605hp RS7 Performance.
The last thing the Audi RS7 Sportback needed was more power. This is the car that still holds a very special distinction at Autocar India – the quickest accelerating sedan we’ve ever tested. 3.8sec to 100kph from a standstill from a car that weighs two tonnes is just astonishing. But of course, Audi decided to give it some more. This new Performance variant of the RS7 uses the same powertrain – a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, eight-speed torque-converter automatic and Quattro AWD – but now cranks out not 560, but 605hp, which makes for a staggering 151hp per litre! And while torque is still pegged at 700Nm, it now has an overboost function that’s activated when you’re going flat out that, for a limited time, winds it up to 750Nm!
Now Audi came close to 600hp with its mental 580hp V10-powered last-gen RS6 (the current-gen RS6 famously makes less power than its predecessor), but it was actually BMW who first crossed the 600hp mark in this segment with the M5 ‘30 Jahre Edition’ (celebrating 30 years of the M5, of course) back in 2014. There’s even one of them in India, belonging apparently to a certain sporting legend/BMW enthusiast. The next M5 and AMG E63 are just around the corner and are tipped to have over 600hp as well, so it’s only fitting that Audi bumped up its current RS7 to keep things relevant until the next iteration.
The result is, Audi claims, 0-100kph 0.2sec quicker than before – or 3.7sec – but as is often the case with German performance cars, it’s even quicker than the claims. We managed a 3.5sec time, which is enough to embarrass many supercars.
But how does that extra 45hp and 50Nm feel? Quick, sure, but any quicker than the standard RS7? It would take some serious back-to-back scrutiny to find out, because they’re both so ballistic from within one inch of throttle travel. Even if you floor it without the traditional, brake-holding, rev-building launch method (there’s no electronic launch control), it takes off furiously with little regard for your ability to handle all that thrust. You better have your wits about you and a lot of road ahead of you. 200kph feels like 80kph would in other cars; it’s just so effortless.