Preview: 2020 Audi RS 7 Sportback
Audi RS 7 grows in size and performance
MUNICH, Germany: With the second-generation RS 7 Sportback, Audi has re-written the book on what it takes to make a fastback truly fast.
The RS 7 was one of four model year 2020 additions to the Audi RS performance divisions roster of new models shown to a small group of world press under intensely secret conditions prior to the recent Frankfurt Motor Show.
“The RS 7 Sportback is our interpretation of a five-door high-performance coupe with a grand tourer design,” said Oliver Hoffmann, Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH.
With a 48-volt mild hybrid drivetrain, the new RS 7 Sportback rockets from 0-100 km/h in 3.6 seconds with an initial top speed of 250 km/h (155.3 mph), which can be increased to 280 km/h (174 mph) with the Dynamic Package or 305 km/h (189.5 mph) with the Dynamic Plus Package.
The heart of the RS 7 is its 4.0-litre twin turbo V8 with 600 hp and 590 lb/ft of torque augmented by the “boost” from the lithium-ion battery that can recover up to 12 kW through its belt-driven alternator/starter.
If the driver lifts off the accelerator at a speed between 55 and 160 km/h (34.2 to 99.4 mph), the drive management will select one of two options.
Depending on the driving situation and the settings in Audi Drive Select, the new RS 7 Sportback will either recover energy or coast with the engine switched off.
When the driver steps on the accelerator, the belt alternator starter will start the engine again. This technology allows for start-stop mode at speeds below 22 km/h (13.7 mph).
As soon as the vehicle in front of the new RS 7 Sportback starts moving, the engine will spring back to life even if the brakes are applied.
Further helping in fuel saving is a Audi’s Cylinder On Demand (COD) system that can shut down cylinders 2, 3, 5, and 8 by halting injection and ignition and closing the intake and exhaust valves. Audi said at a highly secret pre Frankfurt Motor Show the system could save as much as 0.8L/100 km in real driving.
But it wouldn’t be an RS model without the factor that really makes a big V8 special – the sound.
To that end the Audi Drive Select system lets the driver adjust the exhaust note. The optional RS sport exhaust system with black tailpipe trim provides an even fuller sound. In the customizable RS1 and RS2 modes, customers can decide for themselves whether they want a sporty or balanced sound.
In order to fit the big V8 with all its intercoolers and manifolds the 2020 RS 7 Sportback is noticeably wider than the first-generation and is 1,951 mm (76.8 in) wide at the front, while the overall length is boosted by 40 mm (1.6-in) to increase its coupe-like profile and 5,008 mm overall length.
To enhance stability at speed, there is a rear tailgate power spoiler that deploys at 120 km/h (74.6 mph).
The standard quattro all-wheel drive has torque split normally 40/60 front/rear, but changes up to 70 per cent to the front or 85 per cent to the back wheels depending on conditions and driver input.
The standard RS adaptive air suspension with controlled damping has been specifically tubed to suit the RS and now allows the new RS 7 Sportback to reach a top speed of 305 km/h (189.5 mph) thanks to a new air spring module with a spring rate 50 per cent higher (with the Dynamic plus package).
The sport air suspension can be set to several modes and includes automatic level control. In the normal position, the body of the new RS 7 Sportback sits 20 mm (0.8-in) lower than an Audi A7 Sportback with standard suspension.
At speeds above 120 km/h (74.6 mph), it will drop by a further 10 mm (0.4-in) and offer a lift mode enabling the vehicle to be raised by 20 mm (0.8-in) if requested.
This is enhanced further with optional, all-wheel-steering combining dynamic steering at the front axle. It uses an infinitely variable strain wave gearing, combining a separate rear axle steering system with a spindle drive and track rods.
The rear wheels turn as much as five degrees in the opposite direction relative to the front wheels at lower speeds, reducing the turning circle by as much as one metre (3.3 ft).
With standard 21-in aluminum wheels, Audi also offers RS-specific 22-in wheels that really fill the wheel wells, but another reason for the big wheels is to house the big brakes.
The calipers of the standard RS brake system with internally ventilated and perforated discs are 420 mm (6.5-in) at the front and 370 mm (14.6-in) at the rear.
They are painted black as standard or red upon request but on the optional RS ceramic brakes the calipers can be grey, red or blue. These discs measure 440 m (17.3-in) at the front and 370 mm (14.6-in) at the rear and weigh 34 kg (75 lb) less than the steel counterpart.
The luggage compartment offers a base capacity of 535 liters (18.9 cu ft), which can be increased to as much as 1,390 liters (49.1 cu ft) with the split rear seatbacks folded down.
Pricing will be announced closer to the arrival of models in Canada later in 2020.