The Audi RS7’s PCOTY story is a tale of two halves.
On the road loops, no car was in more demand, the combination of that beautifully opulent interior (with one of the best stereos you’ll ever hear), cushioning ride and thumping twin-turbo V8 making it one of the most pleasant ways to travel long distances without being 35,000ft up.
You’ll never tire of the power, either. The RS7 is ludicrously, dizzyingly fast. It might have the smallest twin-turbo V8 of any of the German big three (BMW uses 4.4 litres, Mercedes 5.5), but those clever boffins at Ingolstadt have done a wicked job of producing more from less.
Even with 412kW/700Nm, it should take longer than 3.90sec to shift 1995kg from 0-100km/h. And that’s without launch control, just planting the throttle from rest. It never stops, either, not until the speedo reads well over 200 anyway.
On a twisty road it manages to disguise its weight pretty well, and with the sports diff in Dynamic mode it’ll power oversteer rather than understeer, but uncommunicative steering and the sheer size of the thing dulls your enthusiasm in the tight stuff.
On a windy road it feels happiest at about seven-tenths, though through faster, more flowing corners its grip and punch means it reigns supreme. It’s not exactly fun, but it is impressive, and that’s probably what buyers are after.
Unfortunately for Audi, there’s also a track component to PCOTY, and it’s here the RS7’s case begins to unravel. Despite wearing $20,940 worth of carbon-ceramic brakes, the middle pedal was going long after only a few laps and the front tyres gave up soon after, sizeable chunks having been torn out of the outer shoulders. Blame two tonnes, 30-degree heat and Winton’s tough layout.
Such problems are difficult to understand, as surely the RS7 did more than its fair share of laps around the Nurburgring during development – if it can handle 22km of the Green Hell, why not 10 laps of Winton?
To be fair, there’s every chance our test car was off-colour, and to its credit Audi pointed no fingers, trucking the car back to Sydney for a full investigation. We’ll report the findings and plan to hit the track in an RS Audi again soon.
Regardless of its on-track difficulties, it quickly became clear the RS7 wasn’t going to trouble the pointy end. As mentioned in the opening paragraph, it excels in a very specific set of circumstances, but while being a brilliant high-speed cruiser probably fulfils the desires of the target customer, it’s not enough to become PCOTY champion.
January issue, out now
For the complete Performance Car of the Year story, including full performance data, check out MOTOR’s January issue, on sale now on newsstands or iPad.
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