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Audi Wants to Claim the Crown of German Super Sedan Club with 2014 RS7

The new RS7 signals that Audi has finally joined the club of the power-mad sport sedans. In fact, this car could be club president: Under the hood of the RS7 is a twin-turbo V-8 pumped up to obscene levels of power and torque.

The RS7 takes the already potent 520-hp 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 from the S8 and ratchets it to 560 hp. It's paired to an eight-speed automatic instead of a more sophisticated dual-clutch gearbox simply because Audi doesn't have one that can handle this much grunt.

With 560 hp and 516 lb.-ft. of torque from its twin-turbo 4.0 L V8, the RS 7 will do battle with the 560-hp BMW M6 Gran Coupe, the 550-hp Mercedes-Benz CLS 63 AMG and the 550-hp Porsche Panamera Turbo S.

To route the power to all four wheels, the RS7's all-wheel-drive system debuts the next generation CCM Zexel (formerly Torsen) center diff with a 40/60 torque split that can send up to 85 percent of the torque load to the rear wheels and 70 percent to the front. The new center differential is 3 pounds lighter than the previous one and is designed so that engineers can adjust the slip rates under acceleration and deceleration with more precision. To help direct torque where it needs to go, there's a brake-based torque vectoring traction control system augmented by the Sport differential in the rear axle.

Drive it sanely and the V-8 will cut half the cylinders and switch to V-4 mode to save fuel. But what's the fun in that? With all its cylinders blazing, the RS7 can storm to 60 mph in just 3.4 seconds, according to our friends at Car and Driver. That's well into supercar territory. There are 15.35-inch front- and 14-inch rear-brake discs with a unique wave design that shaves about a pound and a half at each corner.

Under the RS7's understated skin, an adaptive air suspension is standard. The system can be adjusted through the car's MMI interface, along with the responsiveness of the steering, transmission, and rear differential. It's similar to that of the less extreme S7. However, the antiroll bars of the RS7 have been up-sized and the durometer on many of the suspension bushings have been made firmer.

Want a real track-focused experience? The optional Dynamic Ride Control (DRC) suspension uses steel springs instead of the adjustable air setup, along with a three-stage damper system. However, Audi engineers admit most buyers won't select this firm suspension, especially those in cities with bad pavement. The DRC suspension, steering, and exhaust are each $1000.

On the inside the RS7 wears deeply bolstered sport seats, new gauges with an RS7 logo, and, of course, a sport steering wheel. There's a new RS7 menu within the driver information display that shows turbocharger boost pressures, oil temperature, and even includes a lap timer should you choose to take this machine around a racetrack.

Availability: Now

Base Price: $105,700

Competitors: BMW M6 Gran Coupe, Mercedes-Benz CLS 63 AMG, Porsche Panamera Turbo, Jaguar XFR-S

Powertrain: 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8, 560 hp, 516 lb-ft, eight-speed

Fuel Economy (city/hwy): 16/27

Audi Wants to Claim the Crown of German Super Sedan Club with 2014 RS7 Reviewed by Blogs on 9:17 PM Rating: 5

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