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Frankfurt show: Audi RS7 Sportback goes mild hybrid

441kW V8 linked to hybrid starter-generator in new Audi RS7 Sportback

10 Sep 2019

AUDI’S all-new second-generation RS7 Sportback revealed at this week’s Frankfurt motor show will share the equally fresh RS6 Avant’s mild-hybrid V8 powertrain when the related beasts are rolled out around the world, starting in Europe late this year and extending to Australia by mid 2020.


Belting out 441kW of power and 800Nm of torque, the electric-assisted bi-turbo 4.0-litre petrol V8 will propel the big coupe-style five-seater from zero to 100km/h in 3.6 seconds – the same as the RS6 Avant wagon.


This is 29kW and 100Nm more than the first-gen RS7 Sportback that did the 0-100km/h dash in 3.9s when it was launched in Australia in 2014.


The belt-driven electric starter-generator is hooked up to the vehicle’s 48-volt electric system with a small lithium-ion battery. It allows start-stop driving up to 22km/h, helping to cut fuel consumption by 0.8 litres per 100km, to 11.4L/100km.


The 4.0-litre V8 also gets cylinder deactivation for fuel savings by running on four cylinders when cruising.


Extra power comes from bigger turbos with more boost. The torque, which peaks at 2050-4500rpm, is put to the road via Audi’s eight-speed automatic transmission and quattro all-wheel-drive system that splits the torque 40:60 to the front and back wheels under normal driving. As much as 85 per cent goes to the back wheels when needed.


Top speed for the ‘standard’ RS7 Sportback is electronically locked at 250km/h, unless you fork out extra for one of two Dynamic performance packs that release the reins to 280km/h and 305km/h respectively.


While the new RS7 is faster than before, Audi has also focused on making it more user-friendly for everyday use by boosting the seating from four to five and providing three-mode air suspension.


Audi Sport managing director Oliver Hoffman said the RS7 Sportback was Audi Sport’s interpretation of a five-door high-performance coupé with a grand tourer design.


“With refinements to make it even more suitable for everyday use plus its incredible performance, what we have here is an outstanding piece of sports equipment for customers who like their cars to feature stunning design,” he said.


Like the RS6 Avant, the RS7 gets a major reworking of its external skin, sharing only the bonnet, front doors, roof and tailgate with the standard A7 Sportback that was launched in Australia last year.


The bulging mudguards stretch the width by 42mm, to 1950mm, while the overall length grows by a similar margin, to 5009mm.


The black frameless grille design is a variation on Audi Sport’s new ‘Darth Vader’ design theme to be shared by no fewer than six new RS models on the launch pad for the remainder of this year.


At the back, an LED light strip stretches between the tail-lights above a redesigned bumper pierced by a pair of big-bore oval-shaped exhaust pipe tips.


At 100km/h, a rear spoiler raises from the tailgate to add downforce.


The RS7 Sportback sits 20mm closer to the tarmac than the standard A7, but it can be raised back up by 20mm to negotiate kerbs and other obstacles. Above 120km/h, the suspension drops a further 10mm.


Also new to the RS7 is four-wheel-steering that is an optional feature, along with dynamic handling packs and other features.


Six driving modes allow the driver to select from comfort, auto, dynamic, efficiency and the customizable RS-specific RS1 and RS2 modes


These modes adjust engine and transmission management, steering assistance, suspension, all-wheel steering, quattro sport differential, exhaust flaps and even the way the automatic air conditioning works.


For the first time, the RS7 Sportback gets accommodation for five people, thanks to a three-person rear back in place of the previous two seater that is still available to those who want it.


Black Nappa leather upholstery with is standard, but other designs and colours – including grey and red – are available.


The electrically operated rear hatch lifts to reveal 535 litres of luggage space, growing to 1390L with the rear seats folded.

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