Disappointed about the Audi S7 downsizing to a six-cylinder diesel engine in Europe? You’d better start saving for the RS7 as the range topper will stick with the twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 engine feeding on petrol. The athletic large saloon (technically, it’s a hatchback) has just been spotted at the Nürburgring gym where it’s undergoing final testing ahead of an official release confirmed to take place in the third quarter of the year.
Nordschleife resident “Carspotter Jeroen” on YouTube has caught on camera a bunch of prototypes, with the first one featured in the video hilariously featuring the “A7” and "55 TFSI" badges yet it had oval exhaust tips. Another test vehicle features a comprehensive camouflage hiding what looks to be the full production body judging by the bulging fender wings and the front bumper’s massive air intakes.
Gallery: Audi RS7 Spy Shots
Other clues pointing towards the same direction are the large wheels and the redesigned rear bumper hosting the RS-specific pair of exhausts. The first prototype appears to have the regular A7’s bumper with do-it-yourself cutouts for the exhausts whereas the camouflaged car has the tips nicely integrated into the bumper like you’d expect on a production car.
In regards to power, Mercedes-AMG is currently the king in the swoopy saloon niche with its GT 63 S offering 630 bhp, but Audi will allegedly set the bar even higher with the RS7 Sportback by massaging the eight-cylinder engine to as much as 650 bhp. Not only that, but the same rumour mill indicates a hybrid version is in the works with up to 700 bhp by using an updated version of the powertrain found in the Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid. Even if an electrified derivative is planned, it seems unlikely we’ll see it this year since logic tells us Audi will save the icing on the cake for later in the RS7’s life cycle.
Expect the wraps to come off sometime this fall, quite possibly at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. Sales should kick off before the year’s end or early 2020 in Europe, with other markets to follow shortly.