2016 Audi RS 7 Performance front 3/4 view
  • Image Credit: Steven Cole Smith
2016 Audi RS 7 Performance rear 3/4 view
  • Image Credit: Steven Cole Smith
2016 Audi RS 7 Performance front 3/4 view
  • Image Credit: Steven Cole Smith
2016 Audi RS 7 Performance rear 3/4 view
  • Image Credit: Steven Cole Smith
2016 Audi RS 7 Performance front details
  • Image Credit: Steven Cole Smith
2016 Audi RS 7 Performance rear details
  • Image Credit: Steven Cole Smith
2016 Audi RS 7 Performance wheel
  • Image Credit: Steven Cole Smith
2016 Audi RS 7 Performance engine
  • Image Credit: Steven Cole Smith
2016 Audi RS 7 Performance interior
  • Image Credit: Steven Cole Smith
  •   Engine
    Twin-Turbo 4.0L V8
  •   Power
    605 HP / 517 LB-FT
  •   Transmission
    8-Speed Automatic
  •   0-60 Time
    3.6 Seconds
  •   Top Speed
    190 MPH
  •   Drivetrain
    All-Wheel Drive
  •   Engine Placement
    Front
  •   Curb Weight
    4,497 LBS
  •   Seating
    2+2
  •   MPG
    15 City / 25 HWY
  •   Base Price
    $129,000
  •  
Audi's roster of Sevens – the A7, S7, and RS 7 – gets a new and overachieving member with the new RS 7 Performance. The big story is that it ups the RS 7's 560 horsepower to 605. And while the advertised torque rating of 517 pound-feet doesn't change, Audi says the car will actually produce 553 lb-ft during moments of overboost.

Hunkered-down with 21-inch wheels filling the wheel wells, the RS 7 Performance has a top speed of 190 miles per hour, and runs to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds – our informal stopwatch tests suggest that may even be conservative. We drove the RS 7 Performance in Florida, which included an eventful lap around Daytona International Speedway's road course, just prior to the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona. More about that in a moment.

Driving Notes

  • The RS 7 Performance is pretty rough-riding at its softest, a problem only on bad pavement and roads with dips. It isn't punishing, but it never lets you forget this is a performance luxury car, in that order.
  • The eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission is a sweetheart, never confused and always standing by to maximize the 4.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V8's muscle. It would have been nice to be able to dial in a little extra exhaust sound – what you can hear makes you want more.
  • The RS sport seats, with optional Valcona leather and Alcantara inlays and steering wheel cover, are excellent. There's a reason why Audi is a template for automotive interior designers. Rear seat room is a little tight but tolerable.
  • As for that lap at Daytona: We were only given one, so we went for it, and hit 164 mph on the back stretch before having to wade deep into the ABS for the bus stop turn. The engine was still pulling hard – we have little doubt the advertised 190 mph top speed is accurate.
  • While the big ceramic brakes did their job, we weren't given a cool-down lap, and the combination of 4,500 pounds and 164 mph seemed to have set the front brakes on fire. No, really. It took a spritz of water to drown them out. We were told that it isn't unusual for ceramic brakes, the first time they hit 800 degrees, to burn out some impurities. Afterwards, the brakes worked fine, but we sure got a lot of attention from the IMSA Rolex crew on pit road.

The RS 7 Performance is a viceless car, one we'd cheerfully drive for a very long time. Daily driver during the week, potential track car on the weekend, but an absolutely competent canyon-carver 365 days a year, Audi is taking a real swipe and the Mercedes-AMG and BMW M cars, and it's likely to draw some blood.

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