We've had to wait a while to conduct our review, but the 2021 Audi RS7 Sportback has finally arrived on US shores, and it's something special. It was supposed to be here as a 2020 model, but the pandemic delayed it. Nevertheless, with a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 under the hood that is shared with the more aggressive-looking RS6 Avant, the wait has been worthwhile. Producing 591 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque, this is a luxury performance fastback that few can keep up with. Combined with Sportback practicality and drop-dead gorgeous looks, the RS7 is a difficult combination to outdo.
However, the RS7 is not without competition. The Porsche Panamera Turbo and Mercedes-AMG GT63 S are just as impressive when it comes to insane acceleration, and both offer tons of tech. Each of those rivals has something special that sets it apart, so is the Audi capable of convincing buyers to look towards Ingolstadt for their fast four-door fix? More importantly, is the cheaper RS6 the real threat to the RS7's potential sales success? We spent a week with the 2021 Audi RS7 Sportback to find out.
The Audi RS7 is an all-new model for 2021, replacing the first-generation model that wowed us with stunning styling and stupendous speed. Everything is new, from the three screens in the cabin to the aggressively widened bodywork that makes the regular A7 Sportback look a little tame. Audi now pairs the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system, improving the stop/start smoothness.
See trim levels and configurations:
|4.0 TFSI quattro||
4.0L Twin-Turbo V8 Gas
The exterior of the 2021 Audi RS7 is simply incredible. A visually arresting design that grabs your eye from any angle, the body of this car is arguably faultlessly designed. HD Matrix Design headlights with Audi Laser light feature at the front end, which is also characterized by massive grilles in the typical RS shape that is also seen on the RS6 wagon. You also see a vent below the hood that adds a real race car look to this family vehicle. A panoramic sunroof is standard as are 21-inch wheels, but 22s are available too. The roof has that sweeping coupe-like look that feeds into muscular rear three-quarter panels, while the tail of the car boasts an adaptive spoiler, full LED taillights with dynamic indicators, and a massive faux diffuser setup housing signature oval exhaust tips. The rocker panels also get accenting and a more aggressive design compared to the A7's.
The dimensions of the new Audi RS7 are greater in every respect than those of the A7 upon which it is based. While the A7 has a length of 195.6 inches, the RS7 measures 197.2 inches from end to end. The wheelbase of the RS7 is almost identical though, measuring 115.3 inches. Height is similar, too, at 56.1 inches. There's a big difference in the width of the body, with the RS7 measuring 76.8 inches across excluding its mirrors while the A7 is 75.1 inches wide. Curb weight starts at 4,938 pounds, compared to 4,332 lbs on the A7.
If you're looking for options when it comes to the colors you can spec on your 2021 RS7 at no charge, you may be disappointed by the sole free option of Nardo Gray. If you're okay with forking out a little extra, you get access to metallic finishes like Florett Silver, Glacier White, Mythos Black, Navarra Blue, and Tango Red (one of our favorites), each of which costs $595. There's also Daytona Gray pearl at the same rate, while the expressionists among us may be willing to spend $3,900 on an Audi exclusive special paint color, though those are sold out until the 2022 model year. Sebring Black crystal is another intriguing choice at $1,075. As standard, the RS7 comes with numerous brushed aluminum-look accents, but there's a Black Optic package available for $2,750 that will change all these accents and trims to gloss black. Alternatively, the Carbon Optic package gives you carbon fiber highlights and two-tone wheels for $6,650.
The Audi RS7 is a blisteringly quick car, but it delivers its performance in a softer manner than some rivals. Its 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 produces 591 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque, with quattro all-wheel-drive helping the Sportback to launch itself from 0 to 60 mph in a scant 3.5 seconds, according to the official Audi information. However, experience has taught us that the Germans generally like to be modest when it comes to acceleration figures, and the real-world time could be even quicker. It's pretty handy on top too, with top speed rated at 174 mph as standard. Spec the available carbon-ceramic brake upgrade and Audi will move the limiter to a supercar-challenging 190 mph. Thanks to a 48-volt mild-hybrid electric system, the RS7 is a calm low-speed cruiser too, while adaptive air suspension and rear-wheel steering help ensure that the AWD RS7 is more athletic in the bends than its big body suggests.
The standard engine is the only one available, but it's a pretty special one. A 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8, the motor is assisted by a 48-volt mild-hybrid system and produces a total of 591 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. Combined with an eight-speed automatic transmission, acceleration in the RS7 is both strong and smooth. Put your right foot to the floor with too much enthusiasm and you'll get whiplash from how quickly this car accelerates. There's a launch control system too, for even more extreme starts that are guaranteed to shock all occupants. The car quite literally does a squat during launch control, plunging the rear end down while lifting the front towards the sky. It's hilarious, and a crowd-pleaser. You can hear a low growl coming from the V8, but it's less barky than rivals from BMW and Mercedes.
In-gear acceleration is phenomenal, with the engine showing few signs of turbo lag or lethargy, regardless of what gear you're in. Fortunately, it can do the relaxed cruising thing too, and the gearbox will shift quietly and smoothly when left to its own devices. If you prefer to use the steering-mounted paddles to change gears manually, you still get smooth transitions from one cog to the next, but at just the moment that you choose with no delays to frustrate you. Leaving the gearbox in sport mode is fine too and you won't find upshifts coming too soon or too late, and the same is true when you're going back down the gears while decelerating. Overall, this is one phenomenal package that blends aggression and insane performance with civility that allows you to enjoy long-distance road trips.
The RS7 excels as a highway missile and performs adequately as a backroad barnstormer. But, if we're being honest, options like the BMW M8 Gran Coupe, Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S, and Porsche Panamera are more thrilling to drive at the limit and would be our choice for a romp around a race track. Fortunately for Audi, most people don't live on race tracks, and the RS7 is by far the most comfortable of this bunch. Audi vehicles are notorious for understeer due to the placement of the engine ahead of the front axle. While the new RS7 doesn't completely alleviate this issue, the quattro system, sport rear differential, and dynamic all-wheel steering system combine to provide a much more balanced driving experience. If you push the RS7 hard enough, the sport differential can send up to 85% of the power to the rear wheels and up to 100% of that power to either the left or right wheel, inducing a bit of oversteer. It's a clever trick that alleviates much of the RS7's inherent bias towards understeer. Our test car came equipped with the option carbon-ceramic brakes featuring massive 10-piston front calipers with 17.3-inch rotors. These carbon stoppers bring the RS7 down from insane speeds in a hurry and are among the best brakes we've ever tested in a vehicle like this.
That being said, we best enjoyed the RS7 at a moderately fast past, not driving at the ragged edge. The steering is quite sharp and precise, though it feels too light to get a perfect handle on what the front end is up to. Drivers can switch between comfort, auto, dynamic, and efficiency modes, plus a configurable RS1 and RS2 mode with steering wheel buttons once they've discovered their perfect setup. Even in the heaviest setting, we found the RS7's steering to be too light. On the plus side, the standard five-link adaptive air suspension is compliant even in its firmest setting, making the RS7 a more comfortable cruiser than any of its rivals.
Although officially classified as a hybrid vehicle by the EPA, the RS7 isn't a very economical machine when it comes to gas mileage. Officially, the RS7 will achieve 15/22/17 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles. These figures are identical to those achieved by the RS6, so if you prefer the slightly less practical shape of the RS7, there's no need to feel guilty. With a 19.3-gallon gas tank, you can expect to achieve around 328 miles of range with mixed driving.
As is typical of any modern Audi, the interior of the RS7 is spectacular. Three screens make the cabin a high-tech wonder while quilted Valcona leather creates an ambiance of luxury. Speaking of ambiance, a configurable multicolor ambient LED lighting system helps set the mood. Build quality is characteristically excellent and every surface is covered in some sort of high-quality material, whether it be aluminum, leather, or carbon fiber. Quad-zone climate control is standard too, as are a heated steering wheel and climate-controlled front seats, while options include a night vision camera and soft-close doors.
The RS7 seats five individuals in remarkable comfort, though that sloping roofline impacts rear-seat comfort for taller passengers. Rear legroom is an acceptable 37 inches, but headroom is only 37.1 inches compared to 40 inches in the RS6 Avant. In front, 14-way power-adjustable sport seats are standard and feature heating and ventilation as standard. 18-way seats with massaging are available, but these look considerably less sporty. Nevertheless, comfort and support on either seat option are good. Heated rear seats are optional. The driver will also have a good view out in most directions, although the rear window can seem a little small and the rear quarters can be big enough to hide small cars at times. Fortunately, small windows behind the rear door frames help make this a rarity.
As standard, you get quilted Valcona leather with contrast stitching in a choice of four color combinations. These choices are black with Express Red stitching, black with black stitching, black with Rock Gray stitching, and Cognac Brown with Granite Gray stitching. Standard trim inlays are named Aluminum Race anthracite while Carbon Twill is a $500 option. We've never seen a carbon finish quite like this one, which leaves the off lacquer finish for a sporty picnic basket feel. Trust us, it's spectacular. Pedals and various interior accents are finished in aluminum on all RS7 models.
A car like this is bought partly for its performance and partly for its practicality. In the latter aspect, the RS7 is rather commodious, offering an impressive volume of 24.9 cubic feet behind the rear seats. That's enough to fit four medium-sized suitcases with a little extra space left over, but if you need even more volume, the rear seats can be folded in a 40/20/40 split for as much as 49.1 cubic feet of volume. This is enough room to fit a mountain bike without taking the front wheel off. Naturally, the RS6 is even more accommodating, with more than 59 cubes of volume in total.
In the cabin, each row gets a pair of cupholders, while a center armrest bin, door pockets, and a small glovebox can handle your excess storage needs.
As a top-of-the-range Audi Sport model, the RS7 is gifted with numerous standard features, among which are an adaptive air suspension system, a retractable rear spoiler, all-wheel steering, HD Matrix Design LED headlights with laserlight, a panoramic sunroof, quad-zone automatic climate control with an 8.6-inch touch display, multicolor ambient LED lighting, heated and ventilated power front seats, a heated steering wheel, cruise control, rain-sensing wipers, a 12.3-inch configurable driver info display, a power rear hatch, wireless charging, keyless entry and ignition, front and rear parking sensors, and a surround-view camera. You also get forward collision detection with automatic emergency braking and crash preparation. Options include adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist, traffic sign recognition, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and vehicle exit warning, a night vision camera with pedestrian detection, lane keep assist, power soft-close doors, heated rear seats, massaging 18-way power front seats, and a head-up display.
The RS7 features a stunning infotainment system that consists of a 10.1-inch touchscreen display and a 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen 3D sound system. It supports wireless Apple CarPlay, wired Android Auto, SiriusXM satellite radio, navigation, HD Radio, Bluetooth, four USB ports, and a 4G LTE WiFi hotspot. The system's graphics are beautiful and easily legible while the interface itself is also exemplary, proving easy to understand and navigate. As you'd expect of a B&O sound system, the audio quality is fantastic, but if you want even more oomph, these audio experts have created a 19-speaker 3D Advanced setup for even more immersive playback. The 10.1-inch touchscreen pairs with an 8.6-inch lower screen for the climate controls and a 12.3-inch virtual cockpit gauge cluster with a specific RS layout.
Thus far, the RS7 and its RS6 sibling have proven their reliability by not falling victim to any recalls.
In the event that something does go awry, Audi's warranty coverage includes a four-year/50,000-mile basic and powertrain warranty while roadside assistance is offered with no mileage limit, also for four years. You also get complimentary scheduled maintenance for the first year or 10,000 miles.
Due to its high cost, the Audi RS7 is unlikely to ever be crash tested. However, there is a partial NHTSA Audi RS7 review/rating available for the A7 on which it is based. This car achieved a full five stars in the one metric it was tested, namely a side crash. Over at the IIHS, the A7 was selected as a Top Safety Pick for 2020.
As you'd expect from a luxury car like this, there are numerous standard safety features fitted. For the RS7, you get HD Matrix Design headlights with laserlight and automatic high beams, a surround-view camera, front and rear parking sensors, rain-sensing wipers, and forward collision detection and preparation with automatic emergency braking. Options include a head-up display, rear collision preparation, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, lane keep assist, a night vision camera with pedestrian detection, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and vehicle exit warning. The airbag count includes dual front airbags, knee airbags for the driver and front-seat passenger, and rear side airbags.
In the time since the original RS7 launched, the fast four-door luxury segment has exploded with new options. What helps the 2021 Audi RS7 stand out is a svelte shape, simple yet effective cabin design, heaps of practicality, and supreme comfort. With a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 shelling out performance that will pin occupants in their seats, there's little to complain about in the performance department. That being said, some buyers might prefer the more extreme approach taken by the Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S. The RS7 feels a tick slower and less athletic than some rivals, but these shortcomings are more than made up for with stellar comfort and practicality that trumps its competitors.
Yes, it's a pricey car, but when compared to its rivals with their numerous configurations all offering varying levels of luxury or technology, the RS7, with its almost fully loaded standard configuration and similar asking price is actually a good buy. In addition, the RS7 has the added benefit of being the new kid on the block, and who doesn't want a car that isn't on every street corner - especially when it can slay some supercars? We love it. Oh, and did we mention this car also has a wagon sibling?
Unlike many of the RS7's rivals, this car is only available in one spec. It starts at an MSRP of $114,000 as a base model with a destination charge of $1,045, but that base price can be inflated with the addition of some options. Fully loaded, the price in the USA can rise as high as $152,745.
The RS7 is only offered in one trim variant and is considered separately from other A7 models offered in the US. It comes with a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 and a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that combines to produce 591 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission handles output to the AWD system and helps the RS7 achieve a 0-60 mph time of just 3.5 seconds. In standard form, it can achieve a top speed of 174 mph, but you can unlock an extra 16 mph by adding carbon-ceramic brakes to your build. All models come with heated and ventilated front seats and a heated steering wheel, as well as a 12.3-inch driver info display, a 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment display, and an 8.6-inch secondary display that controls the quad-zone climate control system. Quilted Valcona leather is standard too, along with multicolor ambient LED lighting, a panoramic sunroof, and adaptive air suspension. You also get a power rear hatch housing an adaptive rear spoiler, wireless smartphone charging, and a Bang & Olufsen sound system.
If you want to unleash the RS7's full top speed potential of 190 mph, you'll need to upgrade to carbon-ceramic brakes. These can be had in gray for $8,500 or red for $9,000. By comparison, if you simply want the look, you can have red calipers with the standard steel brakes for 500 bucks. A sport exhaust with gloss black tips is another nice touch available on the RS7 and costs $1,000. Blind-spot monitoring is a $500 standalone option, or you can opt for the Driver Assistance package at $2,250, which adds adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, traffic sign recognition, and rear collision preparation.
Since the RS7 is only available in a single trim, many of the choices in terms of specs will come down to what you as the buyer are looking for from your vehicle and how much you want to spend. We'd certainly recommend the Driver Assistance package, and we would absolutely opt for the carbon-ceramic brakes, even though they are spendy. Not only will these last the lifetime of the car if cared for correctly, but they will also unlock the full top speed rating of 190 mph, helping the RS7 take on its competition with more confidence. We quite like the look of the standard sport seats and thus wouldn't opt for the massaging seat option. In this spec, we feel that the RS7 is well-rounded and as exciting as possible.
Although not really a direct rival, those looking for a premium luxury sedan with earth-shattering power and luscious luxury may be considering the BMW M5. This car is available in two trims, with the 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 in the base model producing 600 hp and the same engine in the Competition model promising 617 hp. It, too, comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission and AWD, but unlike the Audi, this car can send its power to the rear wheels alone. Pricing isn't that much of a factor, but the Bimmer is a little cheaper. That said, maybe this is because it doesn't have such a tech-forward cabin. It's still highly advanced and extremely luxurious, but those attracted to gadgets will likely prefer the Audi. As a driver's car, the BMW offers more thrills and better balance, but a test drive may be required for you to make a definitive choice.
With an asking price in the six-figure range before any options have been selected, the RS7 is not a cheap vehicle. If that kind of money seems too ridiculous to spend on an Audi, perhaps the cheaper S7 is more up your alley. It starts at $84,400 and has the same sleek fastback look, albeit with a little more restraint in terms of overall styling. This model comes with a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 that makes 444 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque. Like the RS7, it comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission and AWD. It also gets the same three screens in a similar cabin. Although it is slower, it's not a sleepy car. Thanks to its more economical engine, you should get close to 100 miles more range per tank. Still, although the S7 is excellent, the RS7's performance and styling justify its premium - in our book at least.
The most popular competitors of 2021 Audi RS7:
Check out some informative Audi RS7 video reviews below.