New spy shots preview the Audi RS 7, which will use plug-in hybrid tech adopted from the Porsche Panamera

November 15, 2018

Fresh spy shots of the new Audi RS 7 have emerged, showing more details of the upcoming Porsche Panamera Turbo rival.

The pictures show the car with wider wheel arches than the standard A7 and the addition of Audi’s signature RS oval tailpipes. Lower side skirts and bumpers have also been added to improve aero and make the RS 7 stand out from the rest of the range.

The four-door performance coupe will be the most powerful model in Audi’s history and is set to rival everything from the BMW M5 saloon to the supercar-baiting Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S 4-door. It will also be the first car from Audi Sport to feature plug-in hybrid technology.

Engineers are applying the finishing touches to the four-door super-coupe ahead of its arrival in showrooms later next year. Strong customer demand has encouraged Audi Sport to introduce RS models far earlier in a new model’s lifecycle than before, a precedent set with the RS 5 in 2017.

The latest RS 7 will be given Audi Sport’s trademark makeover with blistered arches, an aggressive front end and a twin exhaust pipe set-up that will mark it out as the range-topping model.

Previous spy shots of the RS 7 undergoing testing at the Nürburgring have shown there will be greater changes beyond cosmetics. A significantly lowered ride height, stiffened suspension, carbon-ceramic brakes, and bigger wheels will all make their way on to the RS 7.

As before, Audi will launch two versions of the RS 7: a standard model and a Performance-badged variant. The first should make use of the VW Group’s new 4 litre twin-turbo V8 engine that’s already found under the bonnet of the Panamera Turbo, Lamborghini Urus and Bentley Bentayga. Output in the RS 7 is expected to hit the 450kW mark, with traction provided by Audi’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system. An S-tronic dual-clutch auto gearbox will be standard.

The Audi RS 7 Performance will take advantage of plug-in hybrid technology, partly developed by Porsche. As with the standard model, the Performance will make use of a 4 litre twin-turbo V8, but it will be supplemented by a 105kW electric motor. The powertrain will be adopted from the Panamera Turbo S E-hybrid, which develops 500kW and 850Nm of torque.

Those numbers mean the RS 7 will also become one of the quickest Audi Sport models ever, with a potential 0-100km/h time of around 3.5 seconds.

The new RS 7 will be the first in a long line of new models from Audi Sport; by 2020 the German firm has said it will expand its range from 11 products to 16 different cars. It will address its lack of performance SUVs with an influx of new models, with hopes of meeting a growing appetite for hot 4x4s.

A new-generation RS Q3 is almost certain, but won’t happen until around 2020 and will follow an all-new RS Q8, which could adopt a similar powertrain strategy to the new RS 7 by also offering plug-in hybrid tech. Following that will be an all-new RS Q5, which will sit above Audi’s existing SQ5 and take on the Porsche Macan Turbo. It will feature the same 331kW 2.9 litre twin-turbo V6 currently used in the RS 5 Coupe.

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