2021 Audi RS 7
What to expect
- Return of the RS 7 — last seen for the 2018 model year
- New turbocharged V8 with 590 horsepower
- More aggressive styling sets it apart from more sedate A7 and S7 models
- Based on the second A7 generation introduced for 2019
What is it?
The 2021 Audi RS 7 is a high-performance variant of the brand's A7 fastback-styled hatchback, which is based on Audi's regular A6 midsize four-door sedan. The RS 7 is even more performance-focused than the new-for-2020 S7, which features a twin-turbocharged V6 with 444 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque. For the RS 7, Audi drops in a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 good for 590 hp and 591 lb-ft. Audi says the RS 7 sprints from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds, or a full second quicker than the S7. An eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive are standard.
Of course, the RS 7 isn't just about straight-line speed. A sport-tuned adaptive air suspension comes standard, helping to control body roll from what is likely a pretty hefty machine. The air suspension also helps the RS 7 slice through the air by dropping the car 0.4 inch at higher speeds or when the driver selects the Dynamic drive mode.
Not interested? Audi will also offer a regular spring suspension with adaptive dampers as an option. Standard for the RS 7 is the S7's optional S sport package, which consists of all-wheel steering and a torque-vectoring rear differential to enhance the RS 7's handling responsiveness.
Whether or not you exploit the RS 7 to the fullest of its abilities, its more aggressive exterior communicates you could anytime you so desire. Redesigned air intakes, exaggerated fender flares, 21-inch wheels, dual oval exhaust pipes and a unique rear valence all mesh to give the RS 7 its distinctive look.
Audi says there are RS 7-specific interior changes inside as well, although no official photos of the interior have come out yet. Aside from the requisite RS badges throughout, the RS 7 comes with heavily bolstered sport seats and aluminum paddle shifters. And while the previous generation RS 7 only had room for four, the new model can seat five.
Why does it matter?
The A7 lineup is now filled out, with the RS 7 taking the top spot in terms of performance. The last RS 7 was a perfect blend of comfort, style and breathtaking acceleration. The 2021 RS 7 should be even better.
What does it compete with?
If the RS 7's specs look familiar, it's because the twin-turbo V8 underhood is borrowed from another VW Group product, the 550-hp Porsche Panamera Turbo. The RS 7's price tag of just under $115,000 undercuts the Panamera Turbo by about $40,000. That means you get a little more performance for a lot less money, making the RS 7 something of a bargain.
Other stylish and powerful competitors include the Mercedes-Benz AMG GT sedan, the BMW M8 Gran Coupe and the Maserati Quattroporte. Want a little more cargo space than what the RS 7 offers? Interestingly, Audi is also coming out with the related RS 6 Avant wagon for 2021.
The Audi RS 7 is one of the most promising new high-performance luxury sedans for 2021. Its intriguing mix of style and exceptional performance all but guarantees it'll make our year-end wish list.