Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG 2014 Review
Having engine stop/start on a car like the Benz CLS 63 AMG doesn't seem to fit.
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Vaporised rain hangs like fog over the autobahn to Munich, making it nigh impossible to distinguish horizon from heavens. We motor through a monochrome curtain as velocity and tyre spray erase any colour on a wet, dreary autumn day.
Only at the shortest distance do we detect the red glow of the tail-lights ahead - every car on this stretch has its lights on. By German standards, the six lanes of traffic are crawling but still averaging more than 100km/h.
The Audi RS7 is doing better than that - it's an unrestricted road - but self-preservation dictates 120km/h is fast enough for the luxury sportback. When I weave left to overtake, the quattro all-wheel drive is so assured that the stability control light remains unlit.
In turn, I'm being passed by locals in white Benz Sprinter and Volkswagen Transporter vans, all of whom pause as they loom alongside the swoopy blue RS7.
The real appeal in this car is the way it covers ground effortlessly
The eight-speed auto and a light right foot keep the twin-turbo V8 in check, and the head-up display keeps attention focused on what can be seen of the road ahead.
Audi points out this is a facelifted and therefore improved RS7. The LED headlamps are a welcome addition (or would be if they could illuminate anything beyond a fog-like wall of water droplets) but the rest of the exterior changes amount to blink-and-miss-it minutiae.
It is a recurring theme inside. The infotainment has been upgraded to the latest Nvidia processor, so it's quicker and crisper.
Forensic investigators will struggle to spot the minor changes to the air vent controls (the highlights are red rather than white), redesigned shift paddles and subtle tweaks to the quattro logo on the dash.
That is trivia. The real appeal in this car is the way it covers ground effortlessly and the ease with which drivers can adjust everything from the air suspension to the steering heft to suit their preference or the layout of the road.
The fact it's cheaper to buy and fuel than a BMW M6 Gran Coupe, Mercedes-Benz CLS 63 AMG or Porsche Panamera Turbo adds to the attraction, as does its ability to hit 100km/h faster than its rivals (the Porsche with optional 'Chrono Pack" will match its 3.9-second split).
Where the RS7 cedes a little ground is in driver engagement. As quick as it is - and this car topped 300km/h earlier in the day - the steering lacks the nuanced feedback of the Porsche and the roll-on kick in the seat back of the more powerful Benz.
The suspension likewise needs a middle-ground setting somewhere between Comfort and Dynamic to be truly great, though I suspect the optional set of steel springs with adaptive dampers might do the trick.
The sloping roof wasn't an issue for my 170cm frame but taller occupants will find the roof tousles their hair.
|Sportback 4.0 TFSI Quattro
|4.0L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO
|$49,060 – 56,430
|2015 Audi RS7 2015 Sportback 4.0 TFSI Quattro Pricing and Specs
|S/B Performance 4.0 Tfsi Qtro
|4.0L, —, 8 SP AUTO
|$80,630 – 92,730
|2015 Audi RS7 2015 S/B Performance 4.0 Tfsi Qtro Pricing and Specs
Lowest price, based on third party pricing data