Review: the 597bhp Audi RS7 Performance

Let me guess, this is an RS7 with added ‘performance’…

Correct. It’s effectively an RS6 Performance with a less practical body, so it gets the same 45bhp boost to 597bhp, the same 3.7second 0-62mph time – a 0.2second drop – and provided you check the right option boxes, the same 189mph Vmax.  

Prices start at £92,060, which is £6,575 more than the standard RS7.

Quick?

Well yes. Outrageously so, in fact. Like the normal RS7, it’s fast enough to worry almost anything you’re likely to pull up alongside at a set of traffic lights, bikers with no sense of self-preservation excepted.

It gains speed, from whatever you’re doing to multiples of that, like little else. But it’s easy speed. Not like an M5, M6GC or AMG Merc, where you have to work for it. The all-wheel drive RS7 is just so easy to stroke along at a velocity that would see your entire wardrobe quickly replaced by sets of orange jumpsuits, that it should come with some kind of warning.

But does it feel much faster than the standard car?

Not massively, no. I’m sure if you came straight from one to the other you’d notice, but not having driven an RS6 or 7 for a couple of months before stepping into the Performance, I can’t say I noticed much of a difference.

It’s not at UK road-speed that the power & torque bump makes much of a difference anyway. The 0-62mph time is only 0.2seconds quicker than the standard car, but the Performance reaches 124mph a whole 1.4seconds faster.

How about corners?

A bit of a blunt instrument, the RS7. The steering is pretty numb – you’ve not much of an idea how close you are to the limit of adhesion (spoiler alert: not very, whatever the weather, there’s so much grip) – and the chassis is ruthlessly effective, sure, but a bit lifeless with it. It’s not the driver’s car an M5 is, but the RS7 delivers where it matters for the sort of folk who’ll buy it – in a straight line, and sat on the motorway for hours at a time. It even rides pretty well on the standard air suspension, and the seats are second-to-none.

The RS6 Performance is cheaper. Why would I get one of these instead?

For starters, if you’re American, because Audi doesn’t sell the RS6 over there. Beyond that, the only reason to have the 7 instead of the 6 is if you prefer the way it looks. They handle the same, more or less, have very similar interiors and near-identical drivetrains. Check Audi’s performance figures – there’s no difference between the two. So it’s the more practical, cheaper and we think a hell of a lot cooler RS6 that gets our money.