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Over the past decade that it has been on the road, the RS 7 has delivered one of the best driving experiences ever made. And truth be told, it still does.

This car has a rich history of performance and elegance molded together in a fashion, unlike any other automobile. Designed to be the ultimate luxury sedan, with intelligent engineering and an expensive versatile interior, the  RS 7 turns heads and changes minds every time a driver grabs the wheel. The car has an executive feel, featuring interior and tech that high-end customers demand, but an engine that can get even the staunchest BMW owner to turn green with envy.

Introduced in 2014, the Audi RS 7 was fashioned after the A7 and S7 Sportsback models but with a unique look. At the time, the car was considered Audi’s ultimate four-door sports coupe, equipped with a powerful V8 capable of 568 hp and the ability to run 0-60 in 3.9 seconds.

While the RS 7 has battled its share of critics for its lack of innovation from other Audi models, much of the criticism is unwarranted. What is the evolution of the Audi RS 7? What makes this car a better buy than a comparable Mercedes or BMW M series? If you are considering the purchase of a luxury four-door sedan, you could certainly spend more for a vehicle that doesn’t have nearly the Audi features.

This article will examine the Audi RS 7 and the various generations that have emerged since 2013. Read on as we explore the rich tradition of this superb luxury vehicle.

Table of Contents

A Complete Guide to the Audi RS 7

There is a fascinating history to the Audi RS 7 - over the years, it has gone through 2 generations (if you don’t count the facelift it received in 2014).

Out of Thin Air

The Audi RS 7 was unveiled literally out of thin air at the Detroit Auto Show (also known as the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). With a bit of magician-style trickery, the hall where the introduction was to be made was full of spectators and reporters alike. Armed with a simple white cloth, magician Florian Zimmer uttered a couple of chants and made the car simply appear. The Audi RS 7 Quattro materialized to the delight of everyone watching, but that was nothing compared to the magic it created on the road.

The truth is that Audi had been tweaking this offering for years. In 2009, the Sportsback concept was introduced at the Detroit Auto Show and won numerous awards in 2012.

  • Autoweek Car of the Year (2012).
  • International Car of the Year (2012).
  • Esquire Car of the Year (2012).
  • Automobile magazine Car of the Year (2012)

It wasn’t long before Audi saw the need for a more powerful executive vehicle to appeal to V8 luxury owners. Hence, the S7 and RS 7 were born, each powered with a powerful V8 rather than the smaller V6 in the A7.

First Generation (2013 - 2109)

There was a lot to like about the introduction of the RS 7 when it made its debut, but there were also a lot of yawns. No visual cues separated it from the sleek style of the A7, even though owners had been expecting it.

To make matters worse, Audi felt the need to boost the price of the RS 7, signaling that players would have to pay to play. Even though the A7 had a nice executive look, it was almost impossible to tell the vehicles apart, and customers had a hard time justifying the extra 40 - 50k for the RS 7, which looked just like the cheaper A series.


Until they drove the RS 7, that is. The actual separation between the A7 and the RS 7 came in performance. Even though the A7 could produce 340hp from its V6, the engine in the RS 7 was a beast. The 4.0 L twin-turbo V8 engine produced 516 lb/ft torque and could do 0-60 mph in under 4 seconds which was amazingly fast for a large sedan. The car was able to deactivate certain cylinders during highway driving to boost mpg and produce less strain on the motor. Coupled with an eight-speed transmission and dynamic steering control, the car handled firmly on the road around curves.


When the RS 7 was introduced, it seemed as if Audi was a tad on autopilot. By the time of the RS 7, the freshness of the design was already a few years old, which is an eternity in the car business.

Even though the design of the Sportsback sedan is sleek and soulful, its low, aggressive appearance was nothing new. Even the exterior features of a power-extending spoiler, twin elliptical tailpipes, and offering ten distinct colors could generate little excitement.

The specs for the first gen Audi RS 7 have remained relatively unchanged over the years -

Interior and Technology

Dissect the interior of the Audi RS 7, and you will discover that everything is excellent, comfortable, but still very similar to its baby brother, the A7. The Alcantara seating services with leather accents are soft, plush, and easily maintained. Every dial seems to be within easy reach, placed right where it should be. There is something familiar about the RS 7, like sliding into a car you have known or driven before. ‘

The upgraded sound system surrounds the driver with speakers, and the Audi MMI infotainment system is a more modern version of Audi's cutting-edge tech, which first appeared in 2001. The whole unit is voice controlled and very responsive to the driver.

Second Generation (2019 - present)

It took a few years, but the designers at Audi got the message finally. The mantra leading the charge for the next gen was an improvement and upgrade without spoiling what was already a pretty solid entry in the luxury market.


The engine was tweaked to perform even better than the first generation motor, proving that one can make a good thing better. The 4.0 L Twin-scrolled and twin-turbo V8 were held over, but the horsepower went to 592, and 0-60 was trimmed by three/tenths of a second to 3.6. As if the Audi weren’t fast enough already, the improvements just made competitors like the Mercedes C class owners drool in their sleep.


While Audi maintained many of the design basics on the exterior, it did tweak quite a bit. Making the car with a broader stance helps provide stability on the road and improve handling. Wider arches on the front and rear gave the car a more controlled-like appearance. The chrome tailpipe tips were swapped for a more prominent fixture, which lends itself to an aggressive look from the rear. The Audi screams, “Eat Dust,” as its powerful V8 passes and speeds down the road in front of you.

Interior And Technology

Comfort and convenience are still key here. The tech was updated to all digital, including voice commands for almost every need. A larger screen with a functional interface provides a much more interactive experience, providing driver options that the previous generation simply did not have.

The RS 7 continues to delight owners willing to pay the additional price for its features. While there are savings to be had here by choosing a less expensive A model, the thrill of the powerful engine makes the extra experience worth it. Sometimes you have to pay to get your heart thumping a bit, and after the experience, you would gladly fork over the cash again. For the Audi RS7, the ride's thrill is worth the ticket price.

Audi RS 7 Generations: Complete Guide

About The Author

Matt Meurer

Matt Meurer

Matt is a VW Master Technician since 2009 after proceeding through the ranks as a Team Leader and Shop Foreman. He has developed software to increase car dealership efficiency, managed 10+ techs, and instructed students at multiple high-performance driving events since 2011. He is also the lead mechanic, engineer, and driver for Blue Goose Racing.

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