2014 Audi RS 7 vs. 2012 Porsche Panamera Turbo S Track Test on Edmunds.com
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2014 Audi RS 7 vs. 2012 Porsche Panamera Turbo S: Track Tested

Clash of the Super Sedans


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Edmunds tests hundreds of vehicles a year. Cars, trucks, SUVs, we run them all, and the numbers always tell a story. With that in mind we present "Edmunds Track Tested," a quick rundown of all the data we collect at the track, along with comments direct from the test drivers. Enjoy.

For reasons beyond its badge and despite its awkward rear end, the Porsche Panamera has been the darling of the super sedan set since it hit the market. Not only did Porsche's new sedan offer the luxurious quality and exemplary build quality that premium buyers expect, but it drove like a Porsche and was faster than anything that big deserved to be.

But now there's a new contender to the throne that promises beauty with its brawn. The 2014 Audi RS 7 has a turbocharged V8 producing 560 horsepower at 5,700 rpm and 516 pound-feet of torque at just 1,750 rpm.

By all accounts, it's a brute, but is it enough to topple the mighty Porsche Panamera Turbo S, which back in 2012 cranked out 550 hp and up to 590 lb-ft of torque? There's another 20 hp on tap for 2014.

Here are our results:

2014 Audi RS 7
2012 Porsche Panamera Turbo S
Curb weight as tested:
4,511
4,414
0-30 (sec.):
1.5
1.4
0-45 (sec.):
2.4
2.3
0-60 (sec.):
3.4
3.7
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec.):
3.2
3.5
0-75 (sec.):
4.9
5.2
1/4-mile (sec @ mph):
11.5 @ 120.3
11.9 @ 117.2
30-0 (ft):
29
29
60-0 (ft):
108
112
Skid Pad Lateral Accel (g):
0.96
0.96
Slalom:
68.3
68.9

Vehicle: 2014 Audi RS 7
Odometer: 2,143
Date: 10/29/2013
Driver: Chris Walton
Price: $105,795 (base)

Specifications: Drive Type: Longitudinal front engine, all-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Eight-speed automatic
Engine Type: Turbocharged V8, gasoline direct injection
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 3,993/243.7
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 560 @ 5,700
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 516 @ 1,750
Brake Type (front): 15.4-inch ventilated discs with six-piston fixed calipers
Brake Type (rear): 14-inch ventilated discs with two-piston sliding calipers
Suspension Type (front): Multilink, stabilizer bar, adaptive air
Suspension Type (rear): Multilink, stabilizer bar, adaptive air
Tire Size (front): 275/30ZR21 98Y
Tire Size (rear): 275/30ZR21 98Y
Tire Brand: Pirelli
Tire Model: P Zero R01 PNCS
Tire Type: Summer
As Tested Curb Weight (lb): 4,511

Test Results:
Acceleration
0-30 (sec): 1.5 (1.8 w/ TC on)
0-45 (sec): 2.4 (2.8 w/ TC on)
0-60 (sec): 3.4 (4.1 w/ TC on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 3.2 (3.8 w/ TC on)
0-75 (sec): 4.9 (5.5 w/ TC on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 11.5 @ 120.3 (12.0 @ 119.1 w/ TC on)

Braking
30-0 (ft): 29
60-0 (ft): 108

Handling
Slalom (mph): 68.3 (68.0 w/ ESC on)
Skid Pad Lateral Acceleration (g): 0.96 (0.95 w/ ESC on)
RPM @ 70 mph: 1,800

Comments
Acceleration: I've been testing cars for nearly 20 years, so there are few surprises left. However, this RS 7 blew my mind from the first Comfort run in default Drive. The list of other cars that accelerate with this amount of effortless urgency and with the same seemingly limitless wave of torque is a very short one. It's interesting that there's no dedicated launch mode in the Audi, nor did we find, like in the past, a sort of hidden "enhanced" shift schedule once we had selected the right mode(s) and executed a proper amount of pedal overlap from a stop. Sure, standing on the brake until the tachometer swung past 2,000 rpm in Sport Drive with Dynamic mode selected proved the quickest, but the shifts felt the same — which is to say they were very quick and caused nearly zero head toss regardless. There have only been a few cars that accelerate like this: sitting on its rear wheels with the hood pointing just over the horizon from the moment the brake is released all the way until the throttle is lifted. It also felt as if it would maintain that rate of acceleration well beyond the quarter-mile. I believe the 200-mph speedometer. Cut to Keanu Reeves, "Whoa."

Braking: Firm pedal with medium travel is highly effective and reasonably easy to modulate. First stop was in Comfort mode, but I wasn't able to determine much more dive than in the remaining Dynamic-mode stops. All were arrow-straight and without ABS buzz/vibration, drama or fade of any kind. No odor. There seems to be just a bit more lock-up from about 5 mph to a dead stop than some other manufacturers use.

Handling
Slalom: Because of the car's admirably sharp turn-in, it immediately feels like a much smaller car and I found myself hitting cones with the rear tires. Oh yeah, a "sedan." After a few runs, I found I could breathe the throttle between cones to cause a little rotation to avoid those cones without upsetting the electronic stability control (ESC) system which I left enabled. Done right, I could go back to full throttle for the last two gates and let the electronic differential sort out where to direct the power while I simply steered the car. It would even allow a pretty generous slide with a "dab-of-oppo." I like how a driver may individually select settings for steering, dampers, differential and throttle, but as I later learned, simply selecting Auto sorts this out with nearly the same results through our slalom test. To me this means the system is fast enough to read and react without getting behind in real-time like I've witnessed in other similar systems. Well done.

Skid Pad: Here, I tried one lap in either direction with ESC disabled, and while it proved ever-so-slightly better (and I could match the times in each direction), I was far busier with both steering and throttle input to maintain the smooth arc around the circle than I was just enabling ESC and selecting either Dynamic or Auto mode. In either case, the RS 7 hints at understeer, but even the slightest amount of breathing the throttle allows the rear to step out ever so slightly where I could maintain it all the way around the skid pad on the throttle.

Vehicle: 2012 Porsche Panamera Turbo S
Odometer: 864
Date: 8/23/2011
Driver: Chris Walton
Price: $173,200 (Base)

Specifications:
Drive Type: Longitudinal front engine, all-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic
Engine Type: Turbocharged V8, gasoline direct injection
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 4,806/293
Redline (rpm): 6,500
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 550 @ 6,000
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 553 (590 with overboost)
Brake Type (front): Ventilated rotors with six-piston fixed calipers
Brake Type (rear): Ventilated rotors with four-piston fixed calipers
Suspension Type (front): Independent double wishbones, adaptive air suspension
Suspension Type (rear): Independent multilink, adaptive air suspension
Tire Size (front): 255/40ZR20 (101Y)
Tire Size (rear): 295/35 ZR20 (105Y)
Tire Brand: Michelin
Tire Model: Pilot Sport PS2
Tire Type: Summer performance
As Tested Curb Weight (lb): 4,414

Test Results:
Acceleration
0-30 (sec): 1.4 (1.9 w/ TC on)
0-45 (sec): 2.3 (3.0 w/ TC on)
0-60 (sec): 3.7 (4.4 w/ TC on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 3.5 (4.0 w/ TC on)
0-75 (sec): 5.2 (5.9 w/ TC on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 11.9 @ 117.2 (12.2 @ 117.5 w/ TC on)

Braking
30-0 (ft): 29
60-0 (ft): 112

Handling
Slalom (mph): 68.9 (66.7 w/ TC on)
Skid Pad Lateral Acceleration (g): 0.96 (0.95 w/ TC on)

RPM @ 70 mph: 1,600

Comments:
Acceleration: What can I say but I was essentially along for the carnival ride. I just whack the throttle and the car does the rest. Launch mode spins tires briefly, then reroutes power. Short-shifts 1-2 but it all works so fast and so well that it's hard to sort out what just happened. Upshifts are predictably fast and a little harsh.

Braking: Zero drama, zero dive, zero fade, run after run. Firm pedal and arrow-straight.

Handling:
Skid pad: Very little ESC intrusion (ever-so-slight throttle closure) allows the rear to step out slightly: highly receptive to throttle position to alter under-oversteer. No need to move hands; just throttle. With ESC off, a little more tail-out and a little more steering input required.

Slalom: (Run in Sport +) Wow, what a sedan! It feels like a two-seat sports car. Turn-in is a little lazy, but the car takes a set immediately and remains ready to spring back in transition. More steering dial than expected, but so, so precise. Best run with ESC off allowed me to drive it like a rally car (lift-stab) to rotate and exit at full throttle!

The manufacturers provided Edmunds these vehicles for the purposes of evaluation.

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Comments

  • dfelix70 dfelix70 Posts:

    This RS7 is one impressive piece of machinery. Gorgeous, fast, and handles beautifully. Want one now.

  • Holy smokes. Gimmee gimmee gimmee!

  • bassrockerx bassrockerx Posts:

    i'm not taking anything away from the rs7 that is FAST but i'm wondering if it was a traction issue with the panamera. did you try burnouts first? i'm wondering if the 4s might have a quicker 1/4 mile. no doubt the porsche will fly by the rs7 by the half mile mark

  • dfelix70 dfelix70 Posts:

    @bassrockerx, not sure what you're referring to. The Turbo S has all-wheel drive standard.

  • dfelix70 dfelix70 Posts:

    Again @bassrockerx, I do think the acceleration differences come down to transmission tuning. Audi is now known to have jumpy throttles throughout their model ranges (it's been mentioned in sporadic reviews but I'm surprised it hasn't been mentioned more frequently). In "spirited driving" tests, that feels great, but, to me, in day-to-day driving, it's not smooth at all. But that's one reason today's Audis come off the line so quickly.

  • pommah pommah Posts:

    Yeah, but what kind of mileage does it get? I can get 50 mpg in my Prius.

  • emajor emajor Posts:

    pommah, You can also become a flyspeck in the rearview mirror of one of these cars in the blink of an eye while the driver literally and figuratively brushes your tincan aside on their way to doing whatever the heck it is he does to afford a $100K vehicle. I can guarantee he isn't envying your 50 mpg.

  • bankerdanny bankerdanny Posts:

    I would take the S7 over the Panamera even if the Porsche was much faster. The Audi is so much more attractive than the awkwardly proportioned Panamera, plus it costs $70k less, $70 freaking THOUSAND dollars.

  • pommah pommah Posts:

    And I can get 165 MPGe in my Leaf. Take that Panamera! I be gettin' all the babes now!

  • aston_dbs aston_dbs Posts:

    LOL @ pommah's sense of humor... Edmunds, I'm still waiting on the comparo between the 4 Germans: CLS 63 - RS7 - (this) Panamera - M6 GranCoupe (the sexy beast where my eyes are currently set on)

  • marcos9 marcos9 Posts:

    I'm happy the RS7 is stateside, although I still prefer the RS6 Avant. In terms of looks in this comparo, it's a no-brainer - the RS7 takes the cake. My only gripe is that the RS7 is pretty much no wider than the A7. No fender flares that differentiated the RS model from their base models.

  • noburgers noburgers Posts:

    I saw a S7 on the road yesterday for the first time--a real head turner. Nice to know it is so capable to go with those looks. Good write-up, Chris.

  • noburgers noburgers Posts:

    @pommah enjoying the sense of humor. You will be getting all the "green" chicks that don't shave

  • lions208487 lions208487 Posts:

    Looks wise, the RS7 wins hands down, and performance wise they're pretty much even.

  • pommah pommah Posts:

    And they is wild, let me tell you! Seriously, you wonder why the young men aren't into cars so much?

  • darthbimmer darthbimmer Posts:

    The RS7 won by a nose in most of the timed categories AND is $70k cheaper? Wow. That spare $70k will buy a lot, even for the very well heeled.

  • themandarin themandarin Posts:

    Further cannibalistic activity by VW Group

  • g35buf g35buf Posts:

    Just more proof that top-to-bottom of the product line, no one does it better than the VW Group. I've owned nearly every brand of vehicle - or so it seems - in the past 30 years and my favorites always comes from the VAG group. People love to bash VAG reliability but the reality is that in the last 7-8 years, the difference between say a Honda Civic and VW Golf in terms of real world problems is negligible. Even if it wasn't, I'd trade the daily driving experience of the Audi A4 3.2 6MT I had for the life- sucking drive of a car like the ' oh so reliable' Toyota Camry.

  • noburgers noburgers Posts:

    @g35buf even more so if the car is leased

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