Tim Barnes-Clay was so impressed with this thrilling new Audi, he paid for his own petrol. For a car reviewer, there is no higher praise.
One of the benefits of being a motoring journalist is that most press cars come with a tank of fuel. This is necessary for the job, you understand.
The thought of actually filling up a test vehicle and paying for it with your own wallet sends most hacks recoiling in horror.
But very occasionally a car captivates you so much that you really don't mind throwing fistfuls of cash at it when the free juice runs out.
The Audi RS 7 Sportback is one such motor.
Audi RS 7 Sportback: A god on four wheels
Why did it seduce me? Well, the car is simply a god on four wheels.
It looks amazing; it delivers more thrills than the fastest rollercoaster you've ever been on; it sits four adults in total comfort; and it's made exquisitely.
So let's drill down a bit further into the very essence of this stunning car and look at the root of its monstrous muscle.
Audi RS 7 Sportback: Spec
With the help of its two turbochargers, the 4.0-litre TFSI petrol engine delivers its formidable peak power of 553bhp between 5,700 and 6,700 rpm, and top torque of 516lb/ft between 1,750 and 5,500 rpm.
The turbochargers boost pressure, helping to generate incredible accelerative force.
This gives the German goliath a phenomenal 0-62mph acceleration time of just 3.9 seconds and a governed 155mph top speed.
If you have Autobahn aspirations, you can increase the maximum speed to 174mph by specifying the optional Dynamic package.
And you can enhance it even further with the Dynamic plus package, which calls a halt to acceleration at 189mph.
Speed and control
Despite performance of this magnitude, the Audi RS 7 Sportback nevertheless manages to keep a firm grip on reality where economy is concerned.
Thanks partly to an engine start-stop system it can cover up to 28.8mpg on an average run.
In the RS 7, the Quattro permanent all-wheel drive system enables you to tackle long journeys in all weather without fear of losing control.
The car is also pinned securely to the road by an electrically extending rear spoiler providing additional downforce.
And scrubbing off speed isn't a problem because behind the huge 20-inch seven twin-spoke alloy wheels are four massive brakes which provide reassuring stopping power.
Pretty on the inside
The interior of the RS 7 Sportback conveys the sporting theme with subtlety, but leaves you in no doubt you're travelling in a very special Audi flagship.
RS logos appear in the dials with their white faces and red needles, on the flat-bottomed three-spoke multifunction steering wheel, in the illuminated entry sills, in the rev counter and in the displays.
RS logos are also punched into the front RS Super sports seats with their pronounced bolsters, integrated head rests and honeycomb-quilted Valcona leather upholstery.
A wealth of extras
The two-seat rear bench, which is standard for UK Audi RS 7 Sportback models, also has well-defined contours for optimum grip.
And, as befits the ultimate incarnation of the A7 Sportback, the RS 7 features a list of standard equipment.
It is possible to upgrade the inventory even further with a portfolio of assistance, entertainment and information systems.
This includes adaptive cruise control, night vision, a Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System with 15 speakers and 1,200 watts of total power.
Awesome? I think so.
Audi RS 7 Sportback: Pros & Cons
- Looks √
- Performance √
- Traction √
- Seats four √
- Cost X
Audi RS 7 Sportback: Fast facts
- Max speed: 155 mph
- 0-62 mph: 3.9 secs
- Combined mpg: 28.8
- Engine: 3993cc V8 24 valve twin turbo petrol
- Max. power (bhp): 553 at 3600 rpm
- Max. torque (lb/ft): 516 at 1750 rpm
- CO2: 229 g/km
- Price: £83,495
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