In the tussle for high-end performance bragging rights, Audi brings out a proper pair of velvet-trimmed knuckledusters in the shape of the RS7 Sportback grand tourer and the RS6 Avant, its fastest five-door.
Propelling them into this sophisticated stoush is a refreshed V8 that is monstrous in its outputs yet relatively mild in its thirst and emissions.
As they vie for supremacy over the dearer AMG and M division rivals, the pair also cosset occupants in the customary manner, tempt them with luxo-info-safety-performance add-ons and, further in Audi fashion, encourage them to option the beasts up to be different from and dearer than the neighbour in the country club car park.
In Sportback and Avant alike, the engine bay gloats over the presence of the 412kW bent eight. For greater thermal efficiency, the twin turbos and outlets are within the vee while the intake plumbing is external.
Cylinder-on-demand tech deactivates four of these in traffic and at other idle moments, not that there were many such times at the Phillip Island reveal this week.
Fully kitted, each car could nudge $300,000
Audi claims for each a 0-100km/h sprint in an astonishing 3.9 seconds yet mid-9L/100km fuel use and, thanks to Euro6 compliance, moderate contributions to greenhouse gases.
Add all the fruit on the options list — the $12,000 Bang & Olufsen audio seems a steal — and you’ve got the price of a decent Lexus.
Fully kitted, each car could nudge $300,000 but unadorned versions are still tasty in the $230K-$240K band.
The RSs of course bristle with digital assistance and there’s sufficient infotainment gear to run your corporation from the front seat.
The pair perform an exhaust-note opera as they hustle around
The phone contacts capacity doubles to 4000 so you can tell all your friends (and all your employees) how well you’re travelling.
The peak RS pair represent, in Audi’s view, the last word in style (Sportback) and practicality (Avant). Include the S variants and R8 and the performance vehicles account for about one in six Audi sales, legging up the brand to outsell the German rivals year to date.
Driven solely on the Island’s smooth blacktop, the pair perform an exhaust-note opera as they hustle around, the swoopy coupe slightly less at ease when cornering than the wagon, whose slightly wider track and haunches give it the stance of a staffordshire.
As colleague Craig Duff found on the first drive of the RSs in Europe, the Avant might be the better prospect given its sticker reads $12,500 less than the sibling. TV
AT A GLANCE
Audi RS6 Avant, RS7 Sportback
Price from: $229,500, $242,000
Engine: 4.0-litre V8 twin turbo, 412kW/700Nm
Transmission: 8-speed auto; AWD
Thirst: 9.6L, 9.5L/100km, 223g, 221g/km CO2
Top speed: 250km/h