By: IOL Motoring Staff
Johannesburg - Audi's RS division is unleashing its manic performance terror on two entirely different ends of the market.
The new RS 7 and RS Q3 join the RS 4 Avant, RS 5 Coupe, RS 5 Cabriolet and TT RS to increase the RS Division's AMG and M Division fighting battalion to six members.
That number could grow to seven next year as Audi is considering introducing the RS 6 Avant due to strong demand for this vehicle.
Let's take a closer look at the latest salvo:
AUDI RS 7
The new RS 7 Sportback takes its fight to the BMW M6 Gran Coupe and Mercedes-Benz CLS 63 AMG in the most enthralling part of the so-called 'four-door coupé' segment - although the Audi has the advantage of a tailgate that technically makes it a five-door.
But let's get on to the exciting technicalities. The RS 7's weapon is a 4-litre twin-turbo V8 that pushes 412kW between 5700 and 6700rpm and 700Nm between 1750 and 5500rpm. It's mated to an eight-speed Tiptronic autobox.
In the number-crunching game, it compares well with the BMW M6 (412kW/680Nm) and the Mercedes, which is good for 410kW and 720Nm in standard form (430/800 if you opt for the 'S' version).
Against the clock, the RS 7 will surge to 100km/h in 3.9 seconds, according to Audi. The top speed is electronically limited to 250km/h, but you can have that bumped up to 305km/h if you opt for the Dynamic Package Plus.
To ensure ultra-quick engine responsiveness, engineers positioned the pair of twin-scroll turbos, together with the intercoolers, inside the 'V' of the cylinder banks to allow for a short flow path.
Realising, too, that many enthusiasts would want an appropriate bark to go with the bite, the RS 7 has switchable flaps in the exhaust system to liberate a louder mechanical rock concert at the push of a button.
For the record, Audi claims an average consumption of 9.8 litres per 100km under gentle driving conditions; this thanks to a cylinder-on-demand system, innovative thermal management and a standard idle-stop system.
Given its large cabin, the RS 7 is likely to be expected to double as a family car, so there's no surprise that Audi has engineered it to achieve the best balance between road holding and ride comfort.
For the sake of agility, the RS 7 comes with Quattro all-wheel drive and five-blade 21-inch alloy wheels, while the comfort side of the equation is seen to by air suspension with multi-mode adaptive damping.
Inside this Sportback, you'll find a flat-bottomed three-spoke RS steering wheel, instrumentation that includes boost pressure, oil temperature and a lap timer, carbon inlays and generously-bolstered RS sports seats covered in a combination of black Alcantara and leather.
Coming in at R1 450 500, the RS 7 Sportback undercuts the BMW M6 Gran Coupé (R1 601 991), but it's a tad pricier than the Mercedes CLS 63 (R1 412 089).
AUDI RS Q3
The new RS Q3, it's safe to say, is the hot hatch of compact softroaders.
To obliterate any 'mom's taxi' jokes at the prod of a pedal, the crazy crossover is endowed with Audi's award-winning 2.5-litre turbocharged five-cylinder petrol engine, which is also fitted to the TT RS.
Although it's a little tamer in Q3 guise, it still kicks out a healthy 228kW between 5200 and 6700rpm and 420Nm between 1500 and 5200rpm, allowing for a 5.2-second 0-100km/h dash and an easy realisation of its 250km/h electronically limited top speed. Like the RS 7, the RS Q3 has exhaust flap control that allows the driver to liberate a more visceral exhaust note.
A seven-speed S Tronic gearbox delivers power to all four wheels via Quattro and a sports suspension system pulls it 25mm lower to the ground than regular Q3s. It hugs the road with standard 19-inch alloy wheels.
As with all RS models, the RS Q3 is set apart by a distinctive exterior design package and some extra cabin bling in the form of black Alcantara leather seats, alloy-look pedals and foot rest and a driver information system with boost pressure, oil temp and lap time readings.
Standard gadgetry includes MMI Navigation plus and a 465 watt Bose surround sound system with 14 loudspeakers.
Unique in the market, the RS Q3 comes in at R696 500, although there will be some one-upmanship later in the year when Mercedes-Benz crashes the party with its GLA 45 AMG.