Audi's RS 7 gets more with the Performance option, adding a 45hp and 50Nm boost in power and torque for 605hp and 750Nm peaks respectively. All that drops the 0-100km/h to 3.7 seconds, yet retains the same emissions and economy, as if that matters to you...
In the metal
Looks-wise, the Performance gains a little over its 'slovenly' standard Audi RS 7 relation, the wheels increasing to 21 inches in diameter as standard, while privacy glass and a 'titanium' styling pack feature too. There's a Sport Exhaust, as well, making it sound a bit more menacing, though if you're left in any doubt as to whether the RS 7 you're looking at is a Performance equipped car then glance at the lower grille - if it's emblazoned with 'quattro' then it's the faster one.
With that extra power you'll want to be held that bit tighter inside, so the Performance comes with super sports seats as standard, with black and blue leather and Alcantara trim as a hint to its bruising ability. Carbon trim with a blue thread also marks out the interior of the Performance version. Options are few, but if you're going the full beans on the power, we'd be amazed if anyone doesn't tick the Dynamic Package plus, which adds, among other things, ceramic brakes, RS Sports suspension with Dynamic Ride Control and Dynamic Steering. Oh, and a raised electronic speed limiter, to 304km/h. Useful in Ireland, that...
That it's fast hardly comes as a surprise given the numbers associated with it, but the RS 7 Performance's massive output is also easily exploited. You could very comfortably drive any road at very silly speeds so effortless does the turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 deliver its power, the eight-speed automatic gearbox dishing out ratios as quickly as the RS 7 requires them. Four-wheel drive makes for massive traction and the engine sounds, in no small part thanks to that sports exhaust, magnificent, even when it's burbling along trying to save fuel by dropping to four cylinders. It's all but impossible to notice it doing so.
An AMG or an M car feels like hard work in comparison, as the RS 7 Performance is anywhere, everywhere fast, requiring a great deal of willpower not to go looking for somewhere to explore that raised top speed. It's there that the RS 7 Performance is faster, deep into three figures, which is advantageous in its enlightened, unrestricted homeland, if not quite as relevant anywhere else.
Unquestionably, relentlessly fast it might be, but it's a bit one dimensional despite this. The steering remains relatively mute, as there's little feel though the pleasingly styled wheel. It'll go where you point it, but when you're in charge of so much power it's reassuring to have some idea of the surface beneath those front tyres. It's all a bit remote, which is a shame as the powertrain is sensational. The suspension doesn't ride too uncomfortably given it's dealing with so much tyre and wheel, while the lighter carbon brakes are likely to make it ride better still - and add some useful stopping power. There's inevitably the chance to alter settings, with everything from that suspension and steering to the Sport Differential, which pushes as much drive to the rear as possible, though the RS 7's too big a beast to be trying to power out of corners on the road with anything other than a straight trajectory.
What you get for your money
You're buying a go-faster RS 7, which is fine, if you're sold on the idea. Thing is, Audi also fits this entire drivetrain to the RS 6 Avant, which has the bonkers pace, but it's combined with some space. The RS 7 is an indulgent big thing though, and nothing says you're absolutely minted more than buying the less practical, more expensive version of a car...
BMW M6 Gran Coupe: BMW's take on the four-door coupe that's a saloon, with big engine and silly power. Has rear-wheel drive and better steering, but more of a handful than the RS 7.
Mercedes-AMG CLS 63: same coupe-cum-saloon style, big turbocharged V8 engine and massive performance, though it's not quite as quick, nor as economical.
Porsche Panamera Turbo: Porsche's new Panamera looks better than ever, goes faster and is a far sharper tool. At a price though...
Big, bigger, biggest: the RS 7 Performance fits into the latter, and for some that's all that matters. We'd save the money, as the RS 7 in standard guise is far from lacking, though we'd probably opt for one of its accomplished rivals instead, as the RS 7, however fast, is just not sharp enough to really enjoy the mighty performance on offer - even when there's more of it.