2021 Audi RS 7 receives a new widebody treatment with flared wheel arches.
Adaptive air suspension with three different modes tuned specifically for the RS 7.
Under the hood of the RS 7 is a bi-turbo engine producing nearly 600 horsepower.
The second generation of the RS 7 is among the latest in the growing RS line, which is kind of like an Audi skunkworks program in terms of performance. The big five-door sportback is motivated by a 4.0-liter bi-turbo V8 that cranks out 591 horsepower and 590 lb-ft. of torque. Add the lowered stance, RS styling cues (like flared wheel arches), and quattro all-wheel drive, and you’ve got yourself an all-weather go-fast machine.
The Audi RS 7, or even the A7 for that matter, is a bit of an odd looking thing. Big, four-door hatchbacks can give rise to a lot of styling issues. If you’re not careful, they can look ungainly and ill-proportioned. The Audi RS 7 looks rather handsome, if also rather large. Audi calls it the “sportback body style,” but for 2021, it also means the RS 7 is getting the widebody treatment for the first time.
The flared wheel arches on the RS 7 add nearly an inch of width, although the hood, roof, front doors, and tailgate are the same as on other models. The grille is, of course, different on the RS 7 with its honeycomb structure finished in gloss back. The headlights are matrix-LED laser units and the front bumper is peculiar to the RS with side air inlets that extend into the lower edge of the headlights.
At the back you’ll find the sweeping lip spoiler which pops up at speeds above 60 mph; the RS exhaust system with large, oval tailpipes; and the RS-specific bumper with a rear diffuser in gloss black. Wheels are as monstrous as the RS 7’s power: standard 21-inchers with summer tires, or the available Black Optic or Carbon Optic 22-inch wheels. The latter includes a black grille and black or carbon exterior accents.
2020 Audi RS 7: Getting Under The Hood
Speaking of monstrous power, if you pop the hood on the RS 7 you’ll find the 4.0-liter TFSI bi-turbo V8 that brings 591 horsepower and 590 lb-ft. of torque to the party. In case you’re wondering, that is 147 more ponies and 147 more lb-ft. of torque over the S7. So it’s like having an invisible Miata pushing you along at all times.
Zero to 60? 3.5 seconds! Top speed? 190 mph. Schnell!
Audi’s quattro is standard (of course) and actively splits torque between each of the rear wheels – with the ability to direct nearly all torque to one wheel. Gear selection is handled by an eight-speed tiptronic with a new launch control function. Coming to a halt is handled by RS ceramic brakes, available with red or gray calipers.
Essential Foundations: Two Options
The standard underpinnings of the 2021 Audi RS 7 is an adaptive air setup specifically tuned to suit the RS model. Naturally it can be adjusted between three different modes, geared from long-distance comfort to high-performance driving. The optional RS sport suspension with Dynamic Ride Control integrates roll and pitch compensation but ditches the electronics for good old steel springs and three-way adjustable dampers.
The final chassis touch is the standard all-wheel steering that enables the angle of the front and rear wheels to be adjusted independently, for increased maneuverability at low speeds and better stability at high speeds.
Audi Drive Select
The Audi drive select system lets you adjust the driving characteristics to one of six profiles, including the RS-specific RS1 and RS2 modes via a button on the steering wheel. The 2021 RS 7 sits 0.4 inches lower than the A7 in Auto, Comfort, and Efficiency modes, but at speeds above 75 mph, or in Dynamic mode, the air suspension drops the body another 0.4 inches.
The engine note can be adjusted using the Audi drive select system too. If you want more “noise” there’s an optional Sport Exhaust for a “more pronounced” sound.
Interior Treatments: The Virtual Cockpit
The inside of the RS 7 is much more driver-focused than its lesser brethren, with lots of RS accents and cool tech. There’s the standard MMI touch response system with haptic and acoustic feedback. The 10.1-inch upper display controls infotainment and navigation functions, and the 8.6-inch lower display takes care of climate control, comfort, and convenience functions.
Also standard is the second-gen Audi virtual cockpit. It comes with a 12.3-inch HD display that enhances things like navigation through satellite imagery or 3D city maps. There is also a special RS display for tire pressure, torque, power output, engine oil temperature, boost pressure, lap times, acceleration measurements, and g forces.
The RS sport seats are upholstered with Valcona leather and feature a honeycomb pattern and RS embossing. Also standard is the perforated and heated leather steering wheel with new aluminum shift paddles.
2021 Audi RS 7: Pricing & Availability
The only bad news (besides the speeding tickets) is how the 2021 Audi RS 7 starts at $114,995, which is a lot, but also in line with what the outgoing model sells for. Expect the 2021 Audi RS 7 this spring.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz.