performance coupled with daily-driving versatility, writes
Road Test Editor Howard Walker
Of course, the original Countach was everybody’s dream machine. Crazy, origami-folded-paper styling, screaming 12-cylinder engine and bat-out-of-hell performance. The only problem was one of entry and exit. Getting in and out of a hip-high Countach would be best attempted only after a consultation with your chiropractor. Or with the help of lowering straps! And once ensconced in seats more suited to the torsos of waif-like Italian male models, your spreading derriere would mean you were not extracting yourself any time soon.
Fast forward 40 years, and while today’s Supercars, like the latest Lamborghini Aventador, Ferrari F458 Italia, and Bugatti Veyron can provide unparalleled driving thrills, they’re generally still a pain in the back to live with. Which is why, to my mind, the new genre of practical supercars, like Audi’s breathtaking RS7, the Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG, Porsche’s Panamera Turbo and the BMW M6 Gran Coupe, have so much appeal.
Take the RS7. Here is a car with a weapons-grade twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 under the hood cranking out a staggering 560 horsepower – or 185-hp more than that old Countach. Pedal to the metal, it can scythe from standstill to 60 in an insane 3.5 seconds. That’s almost two seconds faster than the Lambo.
Yet this sport-back Audi offers stretch-out seating for four – five at a push – a quartet of doors, superb leather upholstery and a trunk beneath the high-lifting liftback that could double as one of those PODS storage units!
Sure the RS7 lacks a certain exclusivity being based on Audi’s high-volume A7 sedan. That said, you’re unlikely to see too many of these $104,900 projectiles cruising the beach. The RS7 does orbit in a whole different stratosphere. It’s honed and developed by Audi’s in-house performance meisters, quattroGmbH, which acts like Mercedes’ AMG division.
See it in the metal and it treads the design-line perfectly between racer-for-the-road and unassuming stealth machine. While aficionados will instantly zero-in on the bulging fenders, the ground-scraping front spoiler, pop-up rear wing and huge 21-inch rims, others will see it as simply one helluva cool car.
And there is really nothing like the RS7’s twin-turbo V8. It is simply a masterpiece of automotive technology, capable of enthusiastically delivering 100 percent of its massive 516 pound-feet of torque from just 1,750 rpm. Squeeze the throttle from low speed and the car erupts with a tsunami of torque, slingshotting you past slower traffic or blasting you from an on-ramp into fast-moving traffic.
Then there’s the noise. The optional sport exhaust with its pair of huge ovoid tailpipes, delivers a wall of primordial snarling, crackling and bellowing. Linda Blair in The Exorcist didn’t have this many demonic voices!
And boy can this 4,500-pound monster carve curves. The magical combo of Quattro all-wheel drive which can channel as much as 85 percent of power to the rear wheels, huge 21-inch rubber at each corner, and laser-precise electric-assist steering make the RS7 feel truly alive.
Inside there’s all the style and luxe befitting a $100-grand sports-luxury sedan. I love the crazy honeycomb-paneled leather seats, the black wood and aluminum inlays, and the optional, ear-bleeding Bang & Olufsen audio – a snip at $5,900.
Maybe it’s a sign of maturing. But it sure is fun driving an RS7 and enjoying all the power of an exotic two-seat Supercar without needing to be a contortionist to clamber in and out.
It is practical magic, indeed!
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