2014 Audi RS7
In the rarified world of ultra-high performance Audis, many think the exotic R8 is the champ. But it’s actually the 5-door RS 7 that is the most powerful Audi sold here. That’s right…you don’t need supercar style or impracticality for serious, street-fighting, track melting capabilities. Too good to be true? Well, buckle up!
It took us no time at all to absolutely fall in love with the Audi RS 5 when we hit the track with it last year. But to be honest, that car pales in comparison to this car, the 2014 Audi RS 7.
Building on the far from pedestrian S7, Audi pumps up the performance in just about every area of this vehicle.
Weight has been shaved by 30-pounds. And there’s more power, thanks to Audi cranking up the boost in the twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 to 17.4 psi. That makes for 560-horsepower and 516 lb-ft. of torque. Quattro all-wheel-drive, along with the S7’s sport differential, and air suspension, are all standard.
One thing that hasn’t changed, is that much like the S7, this car seems up for just about anything you can throw at it; feeling smooth and steady no matter the speed. Compared to the impressive S7, it cuts through the cones even more effortlessly. Dynamic driving mode keeps the body roll well under control, but doesn’t necessarily make it feel more responsive.
However, the electromechanical steering is insanely quick on turn-in with a precise, heavy weight, but unsurprisingly little feel. More would be hugely welcomed. The upgraded brakes are great for such a heavy car, but not quite in supercar territory with average stops of 117 feet from 60.
Acceleration, however, is glorious, as there is a ridiculous amount of torque and quattro traction propelling you on an 11.7-second adrenaline rush through the quarter-mile at 123 miles-per-hour. The transmission is a straight-up 8-speed Tiptronic automatic, not a DSG, but it works better than most dual clutch boxes, so we have no complaints.
The first two gears seem ultra-low…that’s for acceleration, getting you to 60 in just 3.6-seconds while the top gears go into extreme overdrive. Manual shifting is hard to get just right on the power sweet spots, so just let the computers and accelerometers do their thing and propel you to glory.
Now if you’re on the highway and you choose to nail the throttle to its fullest, make sure you’re not even close to someone’s bumper, or you’ll be in it in no time as this thing just flat take off. So, it’s quicker than a BMW M6 Gran Coupe, but not quite as fast as the Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG. But perhaps more importantly, thanks to cylinder deactivation among other things, it out fuel misers both of them.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 16-City, 27-Highway, and 19-Combined. So, our average of 22.1 miles-per-gallon of Premium is quite good for supercar-like performance.
This vehicle is clearly made for eating up mass quantities of Autobahn miles at thrilling speeds in extreme serenity, as Audi seems to be in competition with themselves on building the most amazing interiors. No one else is really even in the game, as here the custom-crafted environment gets even better.
It looks and feels like those super expensive pieces of custom luggage you see that cost well into 5-figures. RS extras include shifter, steering wheel, carbon-fiber trim, unique door handles, and instrument panel.
Front seats are just great, very racy feeling yet also luxurious to the hilt. While it doesn’t feel, or look particularly big, ease into the rear seats and the car feels huge.
Instead of a one size fits all approach to the exterior design, buyers can opt for standard, matte aluminum, or carbon styling. This example sports the matte aluminum look along with new bumpers, revised Singleframe grille, adaptive rear spoiler, lower diffuser, and big elliptical taillight tips for the highly recommended optional sport exhaust system. Full LED lighting is standard.
But let’s be honest. At $105,795, the $25,000 price leap over an S7 may purely be for bragging rights. Most owners will never experience the full potential of this car. We really don’t have the appropriate roads in North America to fully exploit the RS 7’s capabilities. You do need the German Autobahn, or at least, your own track day for that.
We thought the S7 was terrific. But in creating the 2014 RS 7, the otherworldly Audi engineers are again on point. Too good to be true? Not hardly. Overkill? You’re darn right!
- Engine: 4.0-liter V8
- Horsepower: 560
- Torque: 516 lb-ft.
- 0-60 mph: 3.6 seconds
- 1/4 mile: 11.7 seconds @ 123 mph
- EPA: 16 mpg city/ 27 mpg highway
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
Bringing Supercar Performance To The Street…American Style
What happens when you let enthusiasts and engineers worry less about tradition and allow them to do what they do best? You get cars like this Chevrolet Corvette Z06. What happens when GM let’s us borrow one for a few days? That’s what we’re about to find out!
While the Z06 package first became an option for the Chevrolet Corvette back in 1963, it wasn’t until the C5 that it describe the ultimate track-focused ‘Vette. And while since then every Z06 has gotten more extreme, if we were plotting things out on a graph, this is where the line of performance progression goes from a steady incline to almost vertical. Yes, the latest C8 Z06 is all that.
It starts with a brand new LT6 5.5-liter DOHC V8 that outputs 670-horsepower and delivers 460 lb-ft. of torque. It sounds great too, the very aggressive nature of its flat-plane crank design has it sounding, and feeling like it’s trying to shake its way out of the engine bay unless you unleash some of its furry.
This dual-cammer featured a dry-sump design from the get-go and is more racing engine than souped-up small block, being developed originally for the C8.R race car.
It made short work of Roebling Road Raceway’s long front straight, able to reach 160 by the end of it. With Hellcats no longer rolling off the assembly line, this is easily our new favorite V8.
But, as you can imagine, Chevy has done much more than just plop a bigger motor into its rear-midship engine bay, which was easier to do since they didn’t have to worry about anyone seeing over it. They’ve addressed just about every part of the car to ensure it puts that power to best use for coming out of corners like few other cars on the street.
That includes upgrades for the short/long arm double wishbone suspension setup that can be further enhanced with an available Z07 Performance Package that adds more aggressive tuning for Magnetic Ride Control, and Michelin Sport Cup 2R tires. Which can be mounted on 20 and 21-inch carbon fiber wheels with carbon ceramic brakes nestled behind.
It all translated into more grip than a semi’s worth of industrial strength Velcro through Roebling’s 9-turns.
With Hellcats no longer rolling off the assembly line, this is easily our new favorite V8.
Like most Corvettes, the Z06 can be as wild or mild of an experience as you care to make it but will most likely be the fastest car to show up at most track days. Yet, the same magnetic dampers that void all body roll on the track, provide an almost plush ride quality for the drive home, though not quite as plush as the standard Corvette.
We’re struggling to find something non-fan boy to say; sure the 8-speed dual-clutch gearbox doesn’t deliver shifts with the brutality of some exotics, but really, they’re just as fast, and the shifts are much smoother.
Believe it or not, almost all the body is unique. So, rather than just tacking on some fender flares, Chevy made the entire car wider to cover the 345 rear tires, yet keep the same uniform look in place.
The optional Carbon Fiber Aero Package adds a front splitter, rocker extensions, front dive planes, and a huge rear wing. We’re not sure if the multi-level nature of that rear wing was done for functional or aesthetic reasons, but it doesn’t block your rearview, and that is much appreciated.
We always talk about torque being more important than horsepower when it comes to acceleration, and the Z06 works with almost 200 fewer lb-ft. of torque than horsepower, but you sure wouldn’t know it when you mash the throttle.
Easy to use programmable launch control allows you to dial in your preferred RPM for launching; we found 4,500 was just about perfect for Roebling’s front straight, allowing for just a tiny bit of slip before rocketing us to 60 on a 40 degree day in just 2.6-seconds.
Power continues to pour on hard as the engine quickly hits its 8,600 RPM redline, and gear changes happen often. The sound inside the cabin in intense, and when the ¼-mile came to an end in 10.7-seconds at 130 miles-per-hour, it felt like it was just getting started.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are a low 12-City, 19-Highway, and 14-Combined.
For the Z06 there are 3 LZ pricing points to land on, starting at $114,395; but you can go with the top-of-the-line Z06, add 50-grand worth of options, and still come out half the price of anything you can compare it to.
Call us home teamers all you want, but America’s only exotic does it yet again, not only is it the best Corvette ever, but it is also easily one of the greatest American cars of all time, arriving at a particularly poignant time culturally as we mourn the potential loss of internal combustion engines altogether. So, come for the spectacular engine and stay for the complete performance package, and experience, that is the Chevrolet Corvette Z06.
- Engine: 5.5-liter V8
- Horsepower: 670
- 0-60 mph: 2.6 seconds
- EPA: 12 City | 19 Highway | 14 Combined
- Transmission: 8-speed dual clutch auto
- Torque: 460 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 10.7-seconds at 130 mph