‘For You Tommy the Wait Is Over’ LUSSO Reviews the Audi RS7
Bill Borrows discovers the perfect second choice car for the man who secretly hoped he could get by with his first choice.
It was impossible to tell whether his kummerspeck* came from a general futterneid** or other less obvious causes but all I knew for certain was that I had fucked with his feierabend***. The large teutonic gentleman at the wheel of his careworn Audi A3 outside the Neckarsulm Audi car plant near Stuttgart was probably coming off the night shift. He appeared extremely displeased.
‘Why’ he must have been thinking to himself, ‘Am I at the wheel of an A3 when they have flown these free-loading journalists from around the world to sit in the beautiful car I helped assemble and…?’ I had him at ‘Why.’ Foot down in the RS7, 4.0-litre V8 twin turbo, woof and [at the given rate of acceleration and according him an above average degree of intelligence] 43 mph before he got to the end of his thought process. Presumably he appreciated the view from behind before I clocked up a ton.
‘Der Englander does not even know that the tinted [tail] lights are realised almost entirely with LED technology or that the brake light is in the shape of a helix,’ he may well have been thinking two minutes later as I was experiencing one of those little moments whilst throwing the RS7 around the first of a series of very dangerous blind bends, and the Germans probably have an over-long ungainly word for it, we tend to call ‘touching cloth.’ **** He should have known I was reviewing the car. Putting through its paces.
There was no reason for me to panic, of course. The relevant information, particularly speed, was state-of-the-art reflected onto the windscreen in my eyeline – no need to even look askance at the elegant dial instruments – but the power was beguiling. Up there with the BMW M6 Gran Coupe and Porsche Panamera Turbo. It was definitely 100mph but took the corner like a barman in the Hotel Habana Libre pouring a mojito into a long tall glass – complicated but measured and assured and, after a few more corners, listing slightly to port and then starboard. And back again.
Fortunately the RS7 Sportback grips the road like a fly to flypaper. And coming out of the other side of the bend, equanimity was restored. The sat nav – or MMI navigation plus system – registered no disquiet, I might well have just pulled up outside the newsagents to pick-up the Sunday Times and a carton of milk. The engine, like the throbbing head of an aggressive alien insect, from the red compound eyes to the thick black coronal suture, refused to apologise.
The petrolhead stuff is in a box at the end of this review somewhere but if you’re interested about all that you’ll know it already. This is about what it feels to get behind the flat-bottomed, three-spoke, multifunction steering wheel. It makes you feel like you’re a Swedish architect in his late 30s on his way back down country roads to a house that he is having built to his own specifications. Lightweight frameless glasses compulsory.
It has five doors, no key – the car that is, not the house – and when the door sinks into place the world is locked out. A tiny Bang and Olufsen speaker [aka an acoustic lens] rises out of the dashboard like something from a Bushtucker trial, but beautifully edible. More entomology. There are 15 speakers in this car and the sound quality would make George Martin weep for what he could have done. Everything is tailored to the driver’s ultimate comfort, from the gearbox to the ergonomics of the cockpit and if they haven’t thought of it you probably don’t need it.
If you decide you do (cast aluminium five spoke blade wheels with ceramic brakes anyone?), they will have still thought of it but it’ll be extra. A final bill of £100k is easily done. As we all know, it’s all Vorsprung durch Technik – ‘a competitive edge through technology’ – but is a competitive edge through technology always enough? It helps, sure, but this is an RS model after all – RS standing for RennSport (‘Racing Sport’).
I don’t want to feel like a clean-shaven Scandinavian room-arranger on his way back to see his perfect wife, I want to feel like James Hunt’s less well-behaved twin brother taking off from the back of the property as Sven pulls-up on the gravel at the front. I want a driver’s car that takes risks. With the Vantage in the garage, this is the second-car you’ll always need.
* Literally, ‘grief bacon’. Excess weight through comfort eating
** A visceral kind of envy
*** The moment when your duty ends and your private life begins
**** Beruhren tuch [ital.] is the best I can do right now
Price £83,495; 0-62mph 3.9sec; Top speed 155mph (174mph, 190mph optional);Economy 28.8mpg; CO2 229g/km; Kerb weight 1955kg; Engine V8, 3993cc, twin-turbo, petrol; Power 552bhp at 5700-6600rpm; Torque 516lb ft at 1750-5500rpm; Gearbox 8-spd automatic.