Other car reviews by

Michael Woodhouse

Audi RS7 Sportback

There is a line of thought that says that Audi’s all look the same. That they lack the design flare that a nation such as Italy manages with its vehicles, or the historical resonance of a British sports car. They are in fact too precise, just like the nation they are borne from – Germany.

And it’s a notion that I often have trouble arguing against. Hurtle down any motorway in the UK and you’ll see numerous four-ringed cars sitting almost in your boot as you look in the rearview mirror. And they could be any of the marque’s saloons: A4, A6 or even A8.

Audi’s has tried to add a dash of spice to the design flavour with vehicles such as the A7 with its coupe lines, but it’s still a little monotonous on the eyes for many.

But there is one aspect of car research and development that the Germans, and more specifically Audi have excelled at over the years, and it’s something that isn’t necessarily obvious on first glance, because it’s hidden underneath the bonnet. Audi’s performance engines are magnificent affairs and placed in its range of RS labelled models set the pulse racing.

The most alluring of that range has to be the RS7. Based on the A7, it has the same coupe lines, but enhanced with a more aggressive stance, and a thicker set. Beneath it exterior beats a heart made from a 4.0litre twin-turbo V8.

Priced from £83,495, a not unsubstantial amount of money, the unit has a great deal of work to do to convince customers to buy what perhaps isn’t the most exuberant of sports cars. But it succeeds for the most part.

With 553bhp and 700Nm of torque, the RS7 can hit 62mph in less than four seconds, and carry you on to a limited top speed of 155mp. (One day the Germans will do away with this gentleman’s agreement to restrict how quickly their vehicles can speed away).

But while the competition may match those speeds, the Audi RS7’s trick – or its engine’s at least – is to do it while not consuming a developing nation’s yearly oil quota.

It may be a hulking V8, but when you are slightly more agile with the throttle, half the cylinders will shut down – so you are ostensibly driving a four-cylinder engine – saving you fuel. Official figures state an average of 28.8mpg, while carbon emissions are 229g/km. Even better considering its all-wheel drive.

Not that I managed to get anywhere near those figures when I was behind the steering wheel.

The RS7 is so easy to drive at speed, and so refined and quiet inside the cabin, even on 20” alloy wheels, you barely realise that the needle has risen to an area of the speedometer that could get you stopped by the men with blue lights on their car. And their faces would not be beaming with smiles when they tapped on your window.

But if you set the adaptive cruise control to a more regular rate of knots, hunker back into the comfortable leather seats, you could quite easily drive the length and breadth of the country without flinching. And if need be, with two adult-sized passengers in the rear too.

But I must admit, what I spent most of my time doing was taking control of the automatic gearbox myself. Knocking it down a gear using the paddle shifters, just so I could hear the burble of the engine as the system automatically dabbed the throttle. It’s the simple things in life.

The line of thought that says Audi’s may not be the best to look at might be true, but just as in literature, don’t judge a book by its cover. Especially not when the pages are filled with the cacophony of a big V8.

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