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Audi RS7 vs R8 – Which Would You Choose?


I recently had the chance to drive the “four door supercar” known as the 2016 Audi RS7 Performance, and it was equal parts stupid fast and ultra luxurious. So great, in fact, that you immediately start to ask yourself – would I rather have this, or the R8? The RS7 Performance I drove was fully loaded and had a sticker price over $150k so that became a very realistic question as they’re both not only in the same performance range, but the same price range too. Let’s take a look at both models and figure out which one is the winner, shall we?

The Objective Facts

Let’s start with the objective criteria and look at the data – reviewing below, the RS7 wins in almost every category when comparing to the new 2017 R8 V10 – it’s cheaper, has more power, better gas mileage, more room, and an extra gear. The R8 wins by .1 second on 0-60, has a better power to weight ratio, and we’ll argue that the DSG is better than the tiptronic transmission (although the tiptronic was no slouch from my test drive) so we can say the R8 wins on 3 out of 7 categories, while the RS7 wins the remaining four. It’s a close race at best, but the RS7 certainly seems like the better value. The better comparison, perhaps, is a used R8 V10 with a six speed manual, which can be had for closer to the price of a RS7 Performance and has a proper gearbox – if a manual transmission is a requirement (or even strong preference), this comparison is over pretty quickly as there is no way to get a RS7 with anything other than a tiptronic.


The RS7 Performance

  • $129k starting price (2016)
  • 607 hp, 517 tq
  • 3.6 second 0-60
  • Eight speed tiptronic transmission
  • 4,542 lbs curb weight = .134 power/weight ratio
  • 15/25/18 mpg
  • 4 doors


Audi R8 V10

  • $163k starting price (2017)
  • 540 hp, 398 tq
  • 3.5 second 0-60
  • Seven speed S-tronic DSG transmission (6MT available if 2016 or older model)
  • 3,649 lbs curb weight = .148 power/weight ratio
  • 14/22/17 mpg
  • 2 doors

The Subjective Experience


Comparing a sedan to a two door sports car is, on its face, a bit silly – they’re totally different cars, meant for totally different needs. If you remove the argument for practicality and assume we’re looking at both from just purely an enjoyment factor, then we can start to make a more fair comparison. The RS7 is incredibly quick, it has a great exhaust note, and the raw power is immediately noticeable and throws you back in your seat in WOT acceleration – if you want straight line performance and crazy amounts of torque, the RS7 wins.


The R8, on the other hand, is mid-engined, lower, lighter, and designed to handle – and with its lower weight, it’s actually quicker despite having less horsepower. If you want to go on canyon drives, track days, or more technical driving, the R8 is your choice hands down. The R8 actually shares a large amount of its tech with Audi’s GT3 spec race car, and the reviews of the car are nothing short of incredible from Motor Trend to Chris Harris claiming it is his new favorite car. From an aesthetics standpoint, the R8 is definitely flashier, while the RS7 is fairly incognito. To the average person, the RS7 and the A7 don’t really look all that different, even if you do get all of the options like the ~$10k carbon ceramic brakes and 21″ wheels. If you want to roll around being more undetected, the RS7 is your weapon of choice…if you want to make an entrance, the R8 is the winner.


And it probably goes without saying, but if you need a backseat, or even a place to put your golf clubs – the RS7 is the winner. The trunk is actually surprisingly spacious as it is quite long, and with the rear seats folded down you can fit a surfboard, bike, or whatever you please quite easily. The R8, not so much…

The Winner

If you want a supercar – you now have two options from Audi – sedan or coupe. If you want something a little more practical and subtle for your day-to-day needs yet able to embarrass just about anyone in a straight line, then the RS7 is your car. If you just want a sports car to have fun with on the weekends and track days, the R8 is hands down your winner. One thing is for sure – the decision on which car to buy when you hit your midlife crisis is getting much, much tougher these days.

Photo Credits: Myself, Motor Trend, HRE/Wheels Boutique

Nick Roshon

Nick has been an Audi owner and fanatic for the last 10 years, and started Nick's Car Blog in 2009 to share DIYs and pictures of his A4. Currently he drives a 2012 Audi TT-RS, and has previously owned a B7 S4, B7 A4, and an 82 Audi Coupe (GT) LeMons race car. In his day job, Nick is a digital marketer and lives in San Diego, CA, USA.


  1. I have to go with the R8. As we have seen with other super-sedans, the RS7’s value will drop off fast (just like any $100k+ sedan from BMW or Benz), while the R8 enjoys very high resale value (2008 R8 just now about within reach for me as a second car). R8 will always turn heads, will always be fun, and will actually probably be cheaper to maintain/repair once it hits 80K+ miles (no turbos).

  2. Good point on the resale value. I kind of hope the RS7 resale plummets like the E60 V10 M5s did, then I might actually be able to afford one 🙂

  3. I really like your comparison Nick. I currently work for a Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Audi dealership. I was talking to a client today who bought an RS7 from me and it got me to thinking which would I rather have (if I could afford it)?

    So being an employee you don’t really get to drive the top of the line models anywhere other than moving it in the parking lot/showroom haha. When I started working there I got the opportunity to take the 2010 Audi R8 for a spin around town. I have to admit I wasn’t that impressed because it lacked a dual-clutch transmission. Don’t get me wrong, I was thrilled to be in the car and be that guy driving the R8 everyone was staring at. So I have to agree with you on the Flash appeal, but performance in that car was lackluster.

    When I sold the 2016 RS7, my client wished me to deliver it to his house which was about an hour and a half a way. As I’m driving I ask for for directions on which route to take that would be fastest as I don’t usually drive in the city. He lets me know and asks about how long I think it will take to get to his house. I tell him how long my GPS says until my destination and he was like “Dude, you’re driving a fucking RS7.” I chuckle and reply yes, but it’s not my RS7. He proceeds to tell me I’m not going to get many opportunities to drive that car how it’s supposed to be driven and informs me to “drive it like I stole it”. An overwhelming feeling of joy radiated through my soul. I popped it in sport mode and started to drive aggressively on the city highway. Naturally driving that way catches the attention of anyone and everyone who think they have a “fast” vehicle.

    Queue the Lexus owner who had what looked to be some light mods e.g. wheels, lowered suspension, and exhaust at first glance. Now this obviously isn’t an apples to apples comparison in performance haha, but when you’re in traffic the guy that weaves in and out of traffic faster thinks he’s got the faster vehicle. Finally an opening a few vehicle ahead and I had that sense of stalking my prey and then attack! We hit a clear highway and then it was WOT and let me tell you…. It was scary that even from 50mph standing on that pedal put you back in your seat. I just remember having to concentrate on the road as everything in my peripheral seemed to blur. Thanks to the dual-clutch, the shift change was seamless and after I hit somewhere in the realm of 170 (It has a top speed of 190mph) in what seemed like 6 seconds, I let off the throttle and the Lexus is but a blip in my rear view mirror. Again I know it wasn’t a fair race as I had probably more than double the horsepower, but it really isn’t the point. It was the experience of feeling like you were driving a Superbike, but in a 4 door sedan. It was intense.

    So we get to our location and give the client a call and let him know I was in town filling it with gas and grabbing a coffee from Starbucks in which I offered to get him one. He declined and mentioned I was in a historic part of town and to take the RS7 around and explore the city surrounded by water (who offers that?!?) I was beside myself and my Fiance and I (yes she came with me on the delivery) took to the town and I finally got to a red light along the shoreline and no cars ahead of me. I stood on the brake stepped on the gas and when I let go it was a feeling that will stay with you forever. With the assistance of Quattro all 4 tires dug into the road and propelled the car like a rocket ship.

    So I haven’t had the chance to drive the new 2017 R8 which does now include the dual-clutch transmission along with the RS7, but for practicality and sheer performance I have to give it to the RS7. My client has a BMW i8, Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG and says this car is sick and when the 2017 RS7 becomes available he’ll be in line. He has since chipped the car and added another 100 hp because well…. he can and why the hell not?

    As far as resale? in my opinion these cars are all lease only vehicles which doesn’t really affect it as much. I’m not 100% sure on the residual comparison between the two, but those always vary month to month anyways.

    CONCLUSION: In my opinion it’s no surprise the RS7 takes it for me. Yes the new R8 is stunning and no doubt a beast now that is has the dual-clutch, but I think it really will just come down to personal preference and lifestyle. You can’t go wrong with either one.

  4. “I wasn’t that impressed because it lacked a dual-clutch transmission.”
    This is the most disappointing thing I have read in a long time. DSG will never provide true driving pleasure, and will be a nightmare of expensive repairs all its life. As of now, Audi is discontinuing the manual on the new S5, which means that I probably won’t be buying a new Audi anytime soon. After owning 10 Audis, starting with an ’84 CGT at the age of 16 in 1988, this may be the end of the road for me and Audi. I’ll keep driving my current ’13 S5 for a long time, but if I have to replace it (accident), I will not be putting money down on any new Audi with DSG or slushbox. I’ll probably have to go over to BMW, but even then they will probably be phasing out the manual in the next 5-10 years.

  5. I didn’t think the RS7 has a dual clutch gear box but you should know if you are selling them 🙂

  6. I need a manual so until I could afford a R8 it’ll be B8-8.5 S4 & S5’s for me. My wife has a A6 3.0 prestige with a stage 1 Apr tune. My S4 is going stage 2 this summer and I’m able to shift gears myself. Plan is to get a manual R8 for a Sunday car and I’ll feel very much complete.

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