Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
We gave you a précis of the RS7’s bold stats in the intro: you get a top speed of up to 174mph if you buy the de-limited top-spec Vorsprung trim, or one that’s limited to 155mph if you order the standard or Carbon Black trims. All versions come with a thumping great 4.0-litre V8, though, and with 592bhp coupled to the RS7’s quattro four-wheel-drive system, its acceleration could be described as controlled aggression. 0-62mph in 3.6sec is absolutely ballistic and the traction available means it’s never dispensed in a disorderly fashion.
But how does that stack up against its rivals? Well, we’re yet to drive the BMW M8 Competition Gran Coupé, but we’ve driven the two-door M8 Coupé version and it’s every bit as quick as the RS7, as is the Porsche Panamera Turbo. But the king here is the Porsche Taycan. When we tested that car on a damp track, it dispensed with 0-60mph in just 3.1sec, and, being an electric car, its responsiveness is also more electric than the RS7’s.
You see, the RS7 takes a moment to kick down and get into its stride when you stamp on its accelerator. Once it’s surging onwards it provides you with a wonderful V8 soundtrack, which is something the Taycan can’t match. However, if we had to choose the best-sounding car in the class, the Mercedes-AMG GT 4dr would be at the top of the list.
But the GT 4dr is much noisier all the time, even when all you want to do is cruise. When you’re not in the mood to enjoy the RS7’s automotive aural theatrics, its engine is happily hushed at 70mph, and wind and road noise are pleasingly subdued, too.
The way the suspension is set up depends on which of the various drive modes you’ve selected. Dynamic stiffens it up to help control body roll, but the ride becomes so brittle that it’s uncomfortable on all but the smoothest Tarmac. Auto and Comfort modes slacken it off enough to ride comfortably at speed, but the RS7 still thumps heavily and sometimes annoyingly over broken town roads.
And the pay off for this firmness isn’t sublime handling. Even though rear-wheel steering is included, and the steering is decently quick and accurate, it offers precious little feedback on what the front wheels are doing. And while the RS7’s vast tyres generate stonking levels of grip through corners and its quattro drive system delivers masses of surefooted traction on the way out, it’s devastatingly effective rather than effervescent. Both the Taycan and Panamera deliver far greater degrees of handling dexterity, and are more fun as a result.
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