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Detroit Auto Show: Audi unleashes 560-horsepower RS7

January 14, 2013|By David Undercoffler
  • Audi unveiled the 560-horsepower RS7, a four-door coupe it says will do zero-60 mph in 3.7 seconds.
Audi unveiled the 560-horsepower RS7, a four-door coupe it says will do… (David Undercoffler / Los…)

DETROIT -- Audi used its Monday news conference at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show to reveal to the world its most powerful car. And it has four doors.

The company showed off the all-new RS7 four-door coupe. Based on the striking A7, this hyper-fast version grabs its 4.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V-8 from the S8 sedan. Horsepower jumps to 560, torque is 516 and power flows to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Audi says the RS7 sheds about 55 pounds versus the S7. It will do 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 190 miles per hour.

PHOTOS: Highlights of the Detroit Auto Show

The RS7 is only the third Audi to wear the RS badge in the U.S. It's preceded by the TT RS and the RS5 Cabriolet (which also had its U.S. debut at this Detroit show) and the RS5 Coupe. The RS line is analogous to BMW's M line or Mercedes-Benz's AMG division. Thus, the RS7 will target the Mercedes-Benz CLS63 and the BMW M6 Gran Coupe when it goes on sale in Fall 2013.

The 560 horsepower output of the RS7 means it ties Audi's $200,000 R8 V10 GT for the most powerful model in the U.S. to wear the four rings. Buyers in Europe are also privy to the RS6 Avant, a station wagon with the same drivetrain and output as this RS7.

Like that RS6 Avant, the RS7 gets performance goodies like an adaptive air suspension, torque vectoring, an optional sport differential and sport suspension. These upgrades will be wrapped in a shell that is notable only for its subdued nature. Exterior changes include 20 or 21-inch wheels, a revised front bumper and grille, a new rear bumper, and a pair of oversized exhaust tips.

Audi was mum on the RS7's price, but we wouldn't be surprised if it can see, if not touch, the $100,000 mark.

Audi also used the Detroit press conference to officially unveil a trio of other speed-oriented models.

The first was Audi's R8 supercar. Available in three variants for 2014, all models get a new seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission in place of a much-maligned six-speed automatic. A six-speed manual transmission is still available on all three. The base R8 maintains its 430-horsepower V-8, while the R8 V10 keeps its 525-horsepower V-10.

FULL COVERAGE: 2013 Detroit Auto Show

Both of these models will be available as either a coupe or a Spyder.

At the top of the R8 range will be the new R8 V10 Plus. This car, available as a coupe only, will wring 550 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque from the 5.2-liter V-10 engine. Audi says it also sheds about 100 pounds by using carbon fiber for several body panels, swapping in a small fuel tank, and adding ceramic brakes. The company says this model will be the quickest to 60 that it offers; such acceleration comes in a scant 3.3 seconds.

Also shown in Detroit is Audi's RS5 Cabriolet. The powertrain remains the same as the coupe version already available: a naturally aspirated V-8 making 450 horsepower and 317 pound-feet of torque. The car routs this power to all four wheels via a seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission.

Audi says the car will do 0-60 in 4.9 seconds, a decent time until you consider this is a car with 450 horsepower and all-wheel drive. That time is also almost half a second slower than the coupe's 4.5 seconds. This penalty is likely the result of the 411 pounds the Cabriolet gains over the coupe from added structural reinforcements and the roof mechanism.

Finally, Audi also showed off the awkwardly named SQ5. Based on the Q5 five-passenger crossover SUV, the S version takes a 3-liter V-6 and supercharges it for a total of 354 horsepower and 346 pound-feet of torque. The SQ5 will have an eight-speed automatic transmission pushing power to all four wheels via Audi's quattro system.

This Audi will scoot from 0-60 in 5.3 seconds, the company says. Performance gear like torque-vectoring, paddle shifters, and a lowered, sport-tuned suspension help to up the fun quotient. 20-inch wheels will be standard, while 21-inch versions will be optional.

Audi says the SQ5 will join its Q5 brethren on the sales lot in summer 2013.


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