The 2020 Audi RS 7 Sportback debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show with five seats, a first for the model. The powerful grand tourer will also benefit from a mild hybrid system to improve efficiency.

“The RS 7 Sportback is our interpretation of a five-door high-performance coupé with a grand tourer design,” Oliver Hoffmann, Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH said in a press release. “With refinements to make it even more suitable for everyday use plus its incredible performance, what we have here is an outstanding piece of sports equipment for customers who like their cars to feature stunning design.”

The Audi RS 7 Sportback uses the same engine found in the recently announced RS 6 Avant. In RS 7 guise, the 4.0-liter twin turbocharged V-8 produces 600 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque from 2,050 to 4,500 rpm. The Sportback will do zero to 62.1 mph in 3.6 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 155.3 mph, though this goes up to 174 mph with the Dynamic package and 189.5 mph with Dynamic plus.

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That German grunt is sent to all four wheels through the quattro all-wheel drive system and eight-speed tiptronic transmission. The second-generation RS 7 features optimized shift times and a new launch control system. Power is split 60/40 between the rear and front axles via a mechanical center differential. Torque is automatically directed to the axle with the most traction, and up to 70 percent can be sent to the front wheels and 85 percent to the rear wheels.

The engine’s sound can be adjusted via Audi’s drive select handling system and customizable RS1 and RS2 modes. The optional RS sport exhaust adds more noise. There are six total drive modes: RS1, RS2, comfort, auto, dynamic, and efficiency.

Mildly electric

The Audi RS 7 Sportback’s optional mild hybrid system (MHEV) features a 48-volt electrical system that helps the gas engine perform with higher efficiency. The belt alternator-starter can recuperate energy through regenerative braking and store it in a lithium ion battery. If you release the throttle at cruising speeds, the drive management will either recover more energy or coast with the engine switched off. Press down the gas pedal and the alternator will start the engine again.

Cylinder deactivation further improves fuel economy — the V-8 can run switch to four-cylinder mode and back in “mere milliseconds.” Audi cites combined fuel consumption at 20.3–20.6 mpg.

Wide pride

The new RS 7 Sportback’s flared wheel arches, 21-inch wheels, and low stance give it a wide appearance, but this goes beyond looks. It is 76.8 inches wide at the front fenders, which is 1.6 inches wider than the A7 Sportback. It shares its hood, roof, front doors, and tailgate with the A7, but the rest is RS-specific.

A retractable spoiler makes an appearance at higher speeds. LED headlights and rear lights are standard.  Adaptive air suspension can be set to three modes and the body can be raised or lowered to cope with speed or speed bumps.

More RS badging than you can count, probably

The RS 7 Sportback uses the same engine found in the recently announced RS 6 Avant

On the inside you get the RS version of Audi’s virtual cockpit, which can display tire pressure, torque, performance, oil temperature, boost pressure, lap times, acceleratio, and g-forces. A shift light prompts you to upshift at the proper time. A flat-bottomed RS sport steering wheel and aluminium shift paddles are standard, along with illuminated front door sills and logo projectors on the front and rear doors. RS sport seats are upholstered with black Nappa leather.

This is the first time you will be able to order an RS 7 with room for five passengers, though the four-seat layout is still available.

The Audi RS 7 is the flagship model for the A7 line. The first generation was sold in the U.S. for the 2014–18 model years. The new RS 7 Sportback will launch in Europe at the end of 2019, and we expect it to come to the U.S. next year.

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