Following restricted supply due to the pandemic, the floodgates have opened for Audi’s high-performance sports models in South Africa.
The four-ringed brand has introduced a range of fiery new family cars wearing S and RS badges, combining sportscar-like performance and styling flair with space and practicality.
The two cars that best exemplify this “spacious supercar” theme are the new RS7 Sportback and RS6 Avant.
Both are powered by a 4.0l TFSI V8 turbo petrol engine with 441kW of power and 800Nm of torque, giving them the ability to blaze 0-100km/h sprints in just 3.6 seconds with the aid of launch control. Top speeds are electronically governed to 250km/h but can be raised to 280km/h with the RS Dynamic package.
The fourth-generation RS6 Avant is the more practical station-wagon version while the second-generation RS7 Sportback, though also roomy, has more coupé-like curves. Practical it may be, with space for the rottweilers and mountain bikes, but the RS6 Avant strikes a sporting pose with its aggressive bumpers and flared wheel arches, made more menacing by a gloss-black honeycomb grille and 22-inch wheels with 285/30 tyres — features it shares with the RS7.
Inside, athletic accents include RS sport seats covered in Valcona leather with a honeycomb pattern, and a flat-bottomed, perforated-leather steering wheel. Futuristic interfaces include a digital instrument panel and an RS monitor that displays drive system component temperatures, maximum G-forces, and tyre pressures.
The V8 roars through a pair of large oval exhausts, and drivers can further raise the sonic intensity at the press of a button. Power’s fed via an eight-speed Tiptronic to a quattro all-wheel drive system that adapts to driving conditions, shifting up to 85% of the power to the rear wheels and up to 70% to the fronts. RS adaptive air suspension drops the ride height by 20mm and provides corner-hugging performance with long-distance comfort.
Dynamic all-wheel steering is part of the optional RS Dynamic package, reducing the turning circle at low speeds for more agility, and improving stability at high speeds. Lighter and more fade-resistant ceramic brakes are also available at extra cost.
In recent years, sports SUVs have become a growing phenomenon. Along with their family-sized space and supercar-like power they have the higher riding position that so many modern buyers seek, and also some off-roading ability if owners don’t want to risk damaging their low-profile tyres .The most sporting of them is the Audi RS Q8, which holds the SUV lap record of seven minutes and 42.2 seconds at Germany’s Nürburgring circuit, set in November 2019. Built on the same platform as the Lamborghini Urus, the RS Q8 is the halo model of Audi’s crossover SUV range. Power comes from a 4.0l twin-turbo V8 with outputs of 441kW and 800Nm, and this large SUV blitzes the 0-100km/h sprint in an impressive 3.8 seconds.
An eight-speed automatic feeds a rear-biased quattro all-wheel drive, assisted by a torque-vectoring rear differential and all-wheel steering. Adaptive air suspension is aided by an active antiroll system. It has various mild-to-wild driving modes, including programmable modes that can be quick-accessed by a button on the steering wheel.
A more luxurious spin on the spacious supercar theme is the Audi S8, a refined super-sedan launched in South Africa to compete against high-performance models in the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes S-Class ranges. The V8-engined sports limousine has 420kW and 800Nm, and takes just 3.8 seconds to blitz the 0-100 km/h sprint. Predictive active suspension, dynamic all-wheel steering, and quattro drive with a sport differential make this a lithe limo through the corners.
The sporting prowess is bundled together with finesse and luxury. The state-of-the-art cabin includes electrically-adjustable comfort sports seats with heating, ventilation and an optional massage function.
- Audi RS 6Avant TFSI Quattro R2 070 000
- Audi RS 7 Sportback TFSI Quattro R2 173 500
- Audi RS Q8 R2 354 500
- Audi S8 R2 484 000
• From the July issue of Wanted 2021.