So apparently British super villains have a thing for the Jaguar F-Type Coupé. When they’re not enjoying a spot of tea inside their private jets, this sinister league of unscrupulous gentlemen can be found power sliding through the midnight streets of London in their 404kW super cats. Jolly nice work if you can find it.
Of course this got me wondering what their German rivals might buckle into when faced with the straße of Berlin. Fortunately I didn’t need indulge in much ponderation as the answer soon turned up on the bottom level our underground parking garage. Licked in matte Daytona Grey paintwork (a R120k option) and riding upon 21-inch alloy wheels, the Audi RS7 Sportback is the epitome of pure Teutonic menace. If Javier Bardom was Bavarian and somehow inexplicably turned into a motor vehicle, this is what you’d be left with.
Now it goes without saying that the exterior of the RS7 will spark many evil cackles of satisfaction. But the real take-over-the-world goodness lies bolted behind those sinister, full LED headlights. Capable of jumpstarting a dead planet in just a few seconds, Audi’s 4.0-litre TFSI V8 engine is guaranteed to satisfy even the most power-hungry of appetites. Delivering a soundtrack that mimics the rumble of faraway thunder and equipped with no less than two turbochargers, this all-aluminium super lump delivers an absolutely insane amount of speed and acceleration. Seriously, there are not many vehicles on the road today that can keep up with an RS7 going at full chat. It’s easily in Porsche 911 Turbo territory.
Unfortunately unlike in the Porsche, a car fitted with an excellent dual-clutch transmission, the Audi has to make do with a less advanced eight-speed Tiptronic gearbox. Although it does a good enough job in full automatic mode, when you decide to swap cogs manually you’ll discover that it struggles to keep up with the ferocity of that engine. There’s a slight delay between the blipping of the paddle and engaging of the next gear ratio that will often see you hitting the rev limiter. As such you learn to shift slightly sooner than you would in an Audi equipped with S-tronic.
Fortunately this seems to be the only real chink in this machine’s formidable performance armor. The RS7 Sportback may be a rather hefty chunk of equipment but it handles with a dexterity that seems at complete odds to its 1995-kilogram kerb weight. Find a technical strip of winding bitumen and you’ll be amazed at just how well it threads through corners. Combining almost limitless amounts of quattro-derived grip with a lithe and communicative (by Audi standards) chassis, I found it a much sharper driving tool than both its RS5 stable mate and closest rival, the BMW M6. My test car also benefitted from the R141 060 Dynamic Package Plus that equips the RS7 with a sportier steel-sprung suspension system for quicker cornering reflexes. It also throws in a set of heavy-duty carbon ceramic anchors as well as a raised 305km/h speed limit. In my mind it’s an option box worth ticking purely for the addition of those upgraded brakes. With all that power propelling all that weight you definitely need all the stopping power that you can get your right foot on.
Yet for all its ferocity perhaps the single greatest trick about the RS7 Sportback is how it can suddenly leave all that anger behind and morph into a chilled-out luxury saloon. Select comfort mode on the Audi Drive Select system and this tower of force-fed V8 power wafts along almost as effortlessly as its less-endowed 3.0 TDI brother. I mean you’d expect the ride – courtesy those enormous 21-inch alloy wheels – to be bone-rattlingly harsh. In reality, however, there’s enough travel and dampening on hand to tame even the most rippled of urban tarmac. Topped off with seating for four adults, a large boot and all manner of electronic gizmos (satellite navigation; Bluetooth connectivity; sunroof; heads-up driving display; night vision with pedestrian assist and dynamic steering), this is a car that excels not just a daily driver but as a long-distance cruiser too.
Simply put the Audi RS7 Sportback is an absolutely brilliant all-rounder and probably the best RS product I’ve sampled since the B7 RS4 bowed out in 2008. More importantly it also manages to undercut both the Mercedes-Benz CLS 63 AMG S and BMW M6 Gran Coupé – something that makes it a surprisingly good deal once you factor in the performance and generous amount of standard kit. Yeah, if I were a German super villain with dreams of world domination then I would definitely park a Daytona Grey example inside the confines of my top-secret alpine lair.
The Facts: Audi RS7
Engine: 3993cc V8 BiTurbo
Power: 412kW at 5700rpm
Torque: 700Nm at 1750rpm
Top Speed: 250km/h (limited); 305km/h with Dynamic Package Plus
0-100km/h: 3.9 seconds (claimed)
Fuel consumption: 9.8l/100km (claimed combined)
Pricing: From R1 450 500