Many cars can be bought with $100,000. That price point can appease that appetite of almost any car buyer. But there is a niche that Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz are vehemently fighting over—the performance four-door-coupe segment, which stakes its battle ground in the low six-digits range.
When the Audi A7 was introduced at the 2010 Paris Motor Show, Audi claimed in a press release it had “the sporty elegance of a coupe and the functionality of a five-door car.”
The remaining German automakers were quick to respond. BMW launched the 6-series Gran Coupe, while Mercedes updated its CLS-class to sport the four-door-coupe styling. Even Porsche, the venerable automaker of all things sports car, released the Panamera—a five-door hatchback that encroached on ludicrous in both styling and variation.
With numerous automakers trying to make headway into this new market, performance variations were quick to follow. This leads to the 2014 Audi RS7 and its closest current competitors—the BMW M6 Gran Coupe and Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG 4MATIC.
There is some differentiation between the three models offered. The CLS and M6 are four-door-coupes while the RS7 is considered a five door. This variation comes from whether the vehicle has a regular trunk or a hatchback. Audi sports the hatch, while Mercedes and BMW have regular trunks.
All this seems like some sort of expensive alphabet soup, but in reality, all three offerings should be welcomed in almost every garage.
Audi’s five-door-super-coupe, the RS7, has been priced at $104,900 not including the $895 destination and delivery charge. Both the 2014 M6 and 2014 CLS63 hover around the same, low, $100,000 price point.
Audi has massaged the S7’s twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 engine to produce 560 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque for the RS model—140 horsepower and 56 lb-ft more of torque, respectively.
The BMW M6 Gran Coupe slips a turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8 engine under the hood producing 560 horsepower and 500 lb-ft of torque. BMW estimates 0 to 60 will come in 4.1 seconds. Top speed is limited to 190 mph.
The 4.0-liter engine launches the 2014 Audi RS7 from 0 to 60 mph in a claimed 3.7 seconds and produces a 174-mph top speed. It’s the most powerful RS model Audi has ever offered in the U.S. Cylinder deactivation kicks in during low engine speeds to increase fuel efficiency by 15 percent.
It’s the most powerful RS model Audi has ever offered in the U.S.
A twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter V-8 engine powers the Mercedes CLS63 AMG, which has taken the four-door coupe styling to the extreme with a sweeping roof and distinct styling lines. 575 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque propel the CLS63 from 0 to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds thanks to Mercedes’ 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system, which comes as standard equipment.
The RS7 is equipped with Audi’s 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission and Quattro all-wheel drive, a feature that sets it apart from the BMW, but puts it in line with the Benz.
Stopping power comes from 15.4-inch diameter rotors in the front and 14-inch diameter rotors in the rear. A sport exhaust in black finish is an available option on the Audi.
Carbon fiber inlays and a black Alcantara headliner are just a few other options available. The RS7 comes standard with Audi’s Prestige package of luxuries and technologies.
Included in the Prestige package is Audi’s MMI touch with handwriting recognition technology. Blind spot monitoring is also standard. Night Vision Assistant is optional, along with adaptive cruise control and Audi pre sense plus that enhances passenger and drive safety.
Audi connect, a Wi-Fi service that allows for up to eight devices to be connected, is free for six months and then $15 a month thereafter.
While all three offerings are similarly priced with similar power figures and styling, picking one clear standout is difficult. With pricing still unannounced for the 2014 CLS63 AMG and the BMW M6 Gran Coupe, though expected to be in the same low $100,000 range, all three offer what a buyer would want—the “look at me” factor with uncompromised styling, luxury, performance, and technology.
If $100,000 has to be spent, the RS7, M6 Gran Coupe, or CLS63 AMG wouldn’t be bad places to spend it.
Expect the Audi RS7 in dealerships this fall.