Thursday, January 16, 2014

2014 Audi RS7: 560-hp Twin-Turbo V-8, Sizzling Styling

Audi's luxury hatchback steps into Superman tights with the big-kahuna RS badge and most of the factory speed gear standard, including a mega-horsepower engine, 20-inch wheels, adjustable shocks, and seven quarts of testosterone. A sport exhaust, 21-inch wheels, and a torque-vectoring rear differential are optional. 

Since Audi recently shifted its S badge down in price, the top-shelf RS line, once as rare in the U.S. as glass hammers, is going mainstream with more models headed here. 

PLATFORM: The A6-derived, all-wheel-drive RS7's unibody is 80 percent steel, 20 percent aluminum to fight curb-weight bloat. 

POWERTRAIN: A 560-hp version of the reverse-breathing 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8, with boost turned up to 17.4 psi, runs through an eight-speed automatic and a Quattro system with a nominal 40/60 front-rear torque split. A stop-start system and cylinder deactivation lift fuel economy into the mid-20s, claims Audi. 

COMPETITION: BMW X6 M, Cadillac CTS-V wagon, Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG, Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG wagon, Porsche Panamera Turbo. 

WHAT MIGHT GO WRONG: Lindsay Lohan might crash one into a bus full of rabbis, which would be bad publicity.

ESTIMATED ARRIVAL AND PRICE: Mid-2013 as a 2014 model, priced around $90,000. 

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