Do we need 300 km/h vehicles on our roads?


When I was but a young pup driving my 15 year old MG TC, there was much adverse publicity about young drivers and fast sports cars.  And the TC was indeed very fast, able to get close to 120 km/h on a good day with a strong tail wind and downhill.  I protested any suggestion that speed limits should be imposed on sports cars.

Now fast-forward to today and Audi has released the new RS7 Sportback which has a top speed of 305 km/h, and I find myself being unable to support the concept of cars that can deliver that sort of top speed.

There is nothing ‘wrong’ with the speed – I have done 300 km/h in a Formula 5000 Lola, but that was on a race track, and not on public roads.  I am sorry, I just cannot justify that level of performance in the hands of street drivers, no matter how much money they have spent to buy their RS7.

Audi RS7.Audi RS7.

Audi, of course, is not alone here with the recently unveiled BMW M6 GranCoupe and an upgraded Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG also capable of blistering performance.

The RS7 has a twin-turbocharged 4.0 liter V8 running a maximum 1.2 bar of boost pressure to produce 412 kW at 5700 rpm and 750 Nm of torque between 1750 and 5500 rpm.

The new BMW M6 GranCoupe’s twin-turbocharged 4.4 liter V8 also produces 412 kW but “only” 680 Nm of torque.

The CLS63 AMG will get the twin-turbocharged 5.5 liter V8 engine as that unveiled in the facelifted E63 AMG, with 430 kW and 800 Nm in the S-model package.

Translating all that into performance figures, the Audi delivers 0-100 km/h acceleration in 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 305 km/h with the dynamic plus package.  (Very “plus”!)

BMW claims the rear-wheel drive M6 GranCoupe is capable of running 0-100 km/h in 4.1 seconds, while Mercedes-Benz sources suggest the upgraded rear-wheel-drive CLS63 AMG will boast a 0-100 km/h time as a mind-boggling 3.6 seconds with the optional S-model package.

The power output of the RS7 is such that Audi’s seven-speed dual clutch gearbox cannot handle the torque produced by its engine, so the RS7 Sportback gets the standard eight speed automatic transmission.  It operates in combination with the latest evolution of Audi’s Quattro four-wheel-drive system, offering the choice between D (drive), S (sport) and M (manual) modes.

The RS7 Sportback gets a heavily reworked version of the standard A7 Sportback’s chassis with widened track front and rear and air suspension, plus an optional steel sprung suspension in combination with dynamic ride control as part of a package known as sport suspension plus – a move that is reflected on the new RS6 Avant.  Further chassis options include a so-called Drive Select program that brings a more direct steering ratio.

However, you will not see many of these supercars on our roads in Thailand, the extremely high prices of these vehicles restrict the ownership to those with seven figure bank accounts (that lets me out), but I predict that any owner who tries to record the 305 km/h top speed on our freeways will be endangering both himself and other road users.

More than 200 km/h is nonsensical in today’s traffic.