Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins, Photos by Garvin St Villier
The star-studded, 2nd-generation RS 7 is energizing, imaginative, and formidable artistry. Formed by quattro GmbH, Audi’s high-performance division, RS translates to RennSport, which in-turn interprets as “racing sport.” The re-introduction of the 2021 Audi RS 7 sets the bar exceedingly high for automakers looking to garner the respect and affection of super sportback models. Hitting 0 to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds is a good indicator!
When the Tango Red Metallic RS 7 arrived at Automotive Rhythms’ driveway, I didn’t hit the streets immediately as there was no rush to judgment. I first intended to study the vehicle’s dynamism, respect its character traits, and become familiar with the cockpit, safety systems, and mechanics that monitor and produce the 591-horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque from the 4-liter Biturbo TFSI V8 engine. It’s paired with Audi’s 8-speed Tiptronic transmission. The RS 7 is an allegory to all things considered epic and requires patience and observation for complete understanding. Nuances include the impressive Bang & Olufsen 3D premium sound system, a subscription-based Integrated Toll Module, and the all-digital MMI Navigation with MMI Touch Response. Now, I’m still not a fan of knob-less infotainments systems and highly enjoyed the prior version of MMI, which was second to none.
Inside the aeronautical cockpit are state-of-the-art, driver-oriented conveniences and a subset of technological systems for safety, functionality, and entertainment. It was now time to grab the race-inspired, 3-spoke, flat bottom, multi-function steering wheel with an “RS MODE” button and perfectly placed shifters and mesh with the Valcona leather bolstered RS sport seats tailored with idiosyncratic honeycomb stitching for takeoff. Best believe I was ready to fulfill the top-end potential of this German performance machine. Upon igniting the 2021 RS 7, triumphant rumblings emanate from the optional sport exhaust system ($1,000) with dual black tips denoting the power potential, which is a possible 190 mph top speed if you situate yourself on the appropriate racetrack. Every button or tab is flush, from the two-part MMI screen (10.1” upper and 8.6” lower display) to the door handles and lock buttons to the starter.
With quattro all-wheel drive (includes a sport differential), 3-mode RS adaptive air suspension, Audi Ceramic Brakes, Dynamic All-wheel Steering, and an adaptive rear lip spoiler, I never felt daunted by the RS 7’s capabilities. It accelerates like greyhounds out of the gate, corners gracefully with the help of Electromechanical steering with speed-dependent power assistance and Dynamic steering, and stops abruptly when deceleration is called upon. Even though the sportback is extremely powerful, it never felt out of control or too forceful, which can leave many exasperated when commuting. In fact, with Audi Drive Select, you can intensify the vehicle for aggression or tame it for everyday driving. Two customizable RS 7 personal settings are also at your disposal.
Imposing RS styling, a lowered stance, flared wheel arches, the massive Audi singleframe grille in Gloss Black, Matrix-LED laser headlights that dominate the front fascia, and optional 22” 5-V-spoke structured design rims in Matte Titanium ($2,500) set the tone for the aggressive 5-door performance coupe. Furthermore, our added Black Optic Package ($2,750) attracts ancillary attention from societal admirers of the German performance machine. However, combined with massive RS ceramic brakes, the wheels produce more brake dust than I would have liked to clean.
I also enjoy sportbacks because they substitute as an SUV when you need to bring a bike along or other long objects. The 2nd-row heated seats fold flat and are pretty comfortable, according to my passengers. Our loaner also came with the Driver Assistance Package ($2,250) with Audi Adaptive Cruise Assist/Active Lane Assist, Audi Side Assist, Traffic Sign Recognition, Rear Cross Traffic, and Audi Pre-Sense Rear Intersection Assist. Now we know how safe it can be.
With a few admirable competitive vehicles in this set, the stakes are high. Ultimately the decision comes down to what brand makes you feel exclusive and if the RS 7’s $114,000 MSRP ($125,140 as tested) provides the requisite attributes required for daily enjoyment. It is the Bob Marley of reggae, Tom Brady of football, Steph Curry of basketball, and the Langston Hughes of poetry. The 2021 Audi RS 7 is menacing when pushed to the limit but dances with the rhythm of ballerinas. The choice is yours!