Having unveiled the second-generation Audi A7 in October last year, the four rings seem to spare no time in developing higher performance versions of the model. Spied here for the first time may well be the upcoming Audi RS7, although not entirely dressed in the corresponding go-fast bodykit.

That’s because this very unit is a test mule, still donning the regular A7 and TFSI badges. Clear giveaways however, are the flared wheel arches, housing huge triple five-spoke alloys, carbon composite brakes and striking yellow brake calipers. Another typical RS trait is the dual dark oval exhaust tips.

Upon closer inspection, the lower section of the front bumper appears different from the standard A7, but there’s really no knowing whether it’s the final version or not. Expect a new and much more aggressive Singleframe grille design to go with the RS7.

For propulsion, word is it will get an all-new 4.0 litre twin-turbo V8, rated to be somewhere in the region of 650 hp. This V8 lump is said to be the same one found in the new Panamera Turbo, which produces 542 hp at 5,750 rpm and 770 Nm. That’s 18 hp down from the outgoing RS7’s 560-pony count, but a full 70 Nm more twist.

There is however, a more potent version of the 4.0L V8. In the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid, the rorty V8 is married to a high-performance electric motor for a combined system output of 680 hp and 850 Nm. Could the RS7 benefit from the same electrified system? Perhaps not, but it’s worth knowing that the A7 was built to accommodate hybrid tech – every variant of the new A7 is a hybrid of sorts – from the get-go.

The next-generation Audi RS7 will be one of five new RS models that Audi Sport is planning to roll out by the year 2020. The fact that we’re seeing the RS7 just three months after the A7 was unveiled reflects much of the company’s focus to shorten the gap between the standard A7 and the RS7.

To recap, the current RS7 gets a 4.0 TFSI bi-turbo V8, pushing out 560 hp and 700 Nm of torque between 1,750 and 5,500 rpm. The zero to 100 km/h sprint is completed in 3.9 seconds, while top speed is 280 km/h or 305 km/h, depending on optional dynamics packages.


GALLERY: 2014 Audi RS7 Sportback