For the performance addict with practical needs
At each Car of the Year event, judges have asked me which car in the competition I would most want to drive every day. The qualifier eliminates the exotic supercars, ultra-luxurious sedans, and sexy GTs—cars that do one or two things superbly but do not meet the broader requirements of a daily driver. It is a rare machine that delivers top performance, safety, comfort, and capacity, and looks great doing so. The car from this year’s competition that fits that bill is the Audi RS 7, which is based on the company’s A7 and engineered by Quattro, the company’s high-performance division.
The RS 7 shares the basic long and low shape of the A7 and includes a tunnel-sized grille opening and razor-sharp LED lighting. The Car of the Year example had a shiny nonmetallic Nardo Gray exterior and black wheels.
Four side doors and a gaping back hatch enable the car to carry enough passengers and party accoutrements for a weekend of revelry, and the cargo space expands from 24.5 cubic feet to 49 cubic feet when the rear seats are folded down. The leather seats are supremely comfortable, supportive, and stitched in an attractive quilted pattern.
The 4-liter, twin-turbocharged V-8 distinguishes the RS 7 from workaday sedans—and from the A7. The engine pumps out 560 hp and 516 ft lbs of torque, giving the car enough power to reach 60 mph from a standstill in 3.7 seconds. The RS 7, which is equipped with Audi’s tenacious Quattro all-wheel drive, performs so ably that most drivers will forget it has more than two doors.
CONFIGURATION: Front-engine, all-wheel-drive sedan
ENGINE: 4-liter twin-turbocharged V-8
TRANSMISSION: 8-speed Tiptronic automatic
POWER: 560 hp at 6,600 rpm
TORQUE: 516 ft lbs at 5,500 rpm
CURB WEIGHT: 4,475 lbs
ZERO-TO-60 MPH: 3.7 seconds
TOP SPEED: 174 mph (limited)
BASE PRICE: $106,500