RE: Audi RS6 Performance: Review

RE: Audi RS6 Performance: Review

Friday 22nd July 2016

Audi RS6 Performance: Review

Like an RS6 Avant but more so, because additional Performance and 605hp is exactly what was missing



If we accept the onward march of the super SUV has rendered the fast estate car an irrelevance, then the Audi RS6 Avant Performance is about as defiant a departure from the stage as you can get. This isn't leaving the pub in a festering sulk. It's kicking a table full of glasses over, shouting "screw the lot of you!" and stomping out. Before burning the place to the ground. And then bulldozing the ruins.

Read our full Audi S4 Avant Review

Mega performance estates were always something of a niche product anyway, one Audi can arguably lay claim to defining with the RS2 and the various RS4s and 6s that followed. So it's probably appropriate that the RS6 Performance will likely stand as one of the last of the breed, alongside the pending E63 wagon.

Pretty discreet as 605hp goes
Pretty discreet as 605hp goes
Some last hurrah too.

The RS6 Avant has always been one of those 'resistance is futile' kind of cars, sheer force of personality able to win over the most ardent of Audi agnostics. This one, with added capitalised Performance, the more so. For the record that badge and the £7K premium over a standard RS6 Avant gets you another 45hp for a total of 605hp, an extra 500rpm to enjoy your 516lb ft torque peak and an overboosted 553lb ft when even that isn't sufficient. A standard Sport exhaust (£1,000 extra usually), Audi Drive Select button on the flat-bottomed wheel, 21-inch rims and understated titanium contrast trim set the package off very nicely indeed, even if the bottom line on our test car tips over into six figures.

Uber-what-prestige?
Before we go there dwell for a moment on that lead image. Audi design can be accused of being generic. But just look how well the basic A6 Avant shape responds to some typically subtle RS enhancements. As in there aren't bonnet scoops, stick-on aero or lurid stripes, the slightly tacky 'Quattro' legend on the lower part of the grille as extrovert as it gets. But nobody is left in any doubt, even those who wouldn't know the difference between RS and TDI.

Who needs an SUV when this looks so good?
Who needs an SUV when this looks so good?
Indeed your lazily stereotyped tailgating Audi driver is going to find the RS6 Performance a little disappointing. Mainly because the uberholprestige is so evident in the mirrors nobody dare linger in your path. To the extent you can mooch along at cruise controlled, camera friendly speed and enjoy the kind of deferential lane clearing ability usually reserved for those with a police escort.

Good to get those cliches out of the way early and be able to talk about how it drives, because this thing is absolutely mega. The 'good fast Audi, bad fast Audi' conundrum and the RS6's status as one of the former was addressed by Chris Harris when he first drove the standard car for us. And explored further in his stealth grey long-termer.

What's nice about the RS6 Performance is that it displays a trait rarely seen in mainstream Audis, namely character. Now in its third generation and with a heritage going back to that original RS2, the RS6 has some history to draw upon. So the fact it is fast but a little inert, has a distinctively turbocharged power delivery - lag and all - and is comfortably the fastest of its type while looking little more than a power-suited A6 TDI is all staying true to its roots.

Just an A6 Avant from here...
Just an A6 Avant from here...
Nothing to prove
That a commendable number of RS6 owners seem happy to spec their cars in understated colours and exercise their right to debadge them only goes to show they are generally bought by good sorts, who understand the amusement value of a family estate that goes like the Bloodhound land speed record car, come rain or shine.

If you're not familiar with RS Audis, the first encounter with the Performance will likely confirm all prejudices. The bellowing start-up, the sickly sweet steering weighting, the sense the springs haven't had their transport blocks removed and the alarmingly punchy acceleration all seem to conform to type. But, as previously stated, fiddle around with the settings and a degree of (relative) subtlety is there.

As part of the £11,500 Dynamic Package Plus our test car was fitted with the optional RS Sport Suspension, featuring the diagonally linked DRC dampers first seen on the original C5 RS6. A £1,000 standalone option, it replaces the standard air suspension yet to be seen on an Audi press car.

The DRC suspension's honesty to RS6 heritage and surprising compliance once dialled back into Comfort mode would explain that to a degree, plus its ability to contain 605hp and two tonnes of monster estate car is entirely commendable. Try the Dynamic mode for a taste of old-school Audi suspension if you will; an Individual combination of relaxed suspension with full aggro engine, diff and gearbox seems to work well for British roads.

... certainly not from here!
... certainly not from here!
A pity then they simply feel too small to contain the frankly rampant performance. With a relatively modest 4.0-litre capacity the V8 leans hard on its turbos to deliver the truly dramatic end of its performance and you need revs and boost to really deliver on the promise. You can leave it in a higher gear to enjoy the sense of that swelling and then erupting or shift down via the paddles to have it on demand; when it comes the scenery blurring acceleration is frankly outrageous. It would be shocking in a supercar. That it comes in the surroundings of an estate just makes it even more ridiculous.

The noise is mighty, if perhaps not quite as thundering as the original C5 V8 twin-turbo and a little disappointing for coming from peashooter 'falsies' set back from the fatter exhaust trims in the bumper. And handling? The RS6 doesn't really do handling. Which isn't to say it's not fun to hustle along, just that its talents are more about warping distance between corners and the speeds out of them than enjoying nudging up against the limits. But you'd say the same about the rivals too. And the authority of knowing it'll do the same whatever the conditions under tyre remains true to the brand values.

Rein it in
The ceramic brakes that are also included in that Dynamic Package Plus are probably a good idea, given what they need to deal with. Saying that you often arrive at a corner wishing you'd got on them sooner and harder, the RS6 having that old-school turbocharged sense of running away with itself somewhat. Which adds a tantalising garnish of adrenaline on what's an otherwise typically polished performance.

Some familiar fast Audi, but charming with it
Some familiar fast Audi, but charming with it
Yes, it puts more emphasis on grip than playfulness. And, yes, the Dynamic Steering is as horrid as it is in any other application, especially in the overgeared and overweighted mode of the same name. But the RS6 simply bulldozes the niggles out of the way.

It looks brilliant. It appears sensible but goes like a madman. It's practical, luxurious, beautifully built and amusingly understated for the performance on offer. If previous experience is anything to go by - check out the £25K C6 V10 versions - it'll depreciate like a stone too.

A properly heroic car then. Anyone got a Cartman 'respect my authori-tah' meme to hand?


AUDI RS6 PERFORMANCE - SPECIFICATIONS
Engine
: 3,993cc, V8 turbocharged
Transmission: 8-speed tiptronic, Quattro all-wheel drive
Power (hp): 605@6,100-6,900rpm
Torque (lb ft): 516@1,750-6,000rpm (553@2,500-5,500rpm on overboost)
0-62mph: 3.7sec
Top speed: 155mph (limited)
Weight: 1,950kg (EU unladen)
MPG: 29.4 (combined)
CO2: 223g/km
Price: £85,085 (£102,755 as tested comprising of £2,100 for Assistance pack, £9,375 for ceramic brakes, £750 for Audi hands-free boot opening system with Advanced key, £250 for Speed limit display, £810 for parking pack, £1,000 for RS Sport suspension plus with Dynamic Ride Control, £1,300 for Panoramic glass sunroof, £750 for Audi Connect and Audi Phone Box and £1,335 for on the road costs)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos: Sim Mainey

Author
Discussion

SturdyHSV

Original Poster:

6,096 posts

100 months

Thursday 21st July 2016
quotequote all
Nice photography Sim thumbup

Impasse

15,099 posts

174 months

Thursday 21st July 2016
quotequote all
That's quite an impressive looking thing. But then, at £102,755 so it should be.

MrBarry123

4,844 posts

54 months

Thursday 21st July 2016
quotequote all
A lot of dollar at £100k+ but from the looks of the RS6 leasing thread, it appears there's sizeable discounts to be had.

One question though... I don't understand why performance estates are to become a dying breed in the future? If anything I'd think they're going to become more and more popular given how well they're generally received by the likes of us and far more so than performance SUVs.

Dave Hedgehog

10,004 posts

137 months

Thursday 21st July 2016
quotequote all
I was fortunate enough to be lent a normal one for a week, everything about it is epic

Come on lotto win

FN2TypeR

5,592 posts

26 months

Thursday 21st July 2016
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Offt, just ooft!!
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mikEsprit

700 posts

119 months

Thursday 21st July 2016
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Too lazy to look this up myself.

Why would this car, with over 600 hp, only be .1 second quicker to 60 mph, than the Audi A8 from a few years ago?

Welshbeef

33,857 posts

131 months

Thursday 21st July 2016
quotequote all
What I find interesting is that it's the C5 which apparently sounds the loudest and most brutal? Is that due to he fact it was the same engine used in the C5 RS6 saloon racing series and also he engine used in he Gumpert Appolo whereas the C6/C7 have to date been only used in the road cars

chrislloyd81

61 posts

29 months

Thursday 21st July 2016
quotequote all
Incredible that the combined mpg figure isnt far down from my old Leon 20VT. Wouldn't fancy the bill for a new set of tyres though

Welshbeef

33,857 posts

131 months

Thursday 21st July 2016
quotequote all
mikEsprit said:
Too lazy to look this up myself.

Why would this car, with over 600 hp, only be .1 second quicker to 60 mph, than the Audi A8 from a few years ago?
Weight.

PhilH777

3 posts

83 months

Thursday 21st July 2016
quotequote all
Am lucky enough to have an rs6 with the performance exhaust but I have two dilemmas - one is that even with the performance exhaust it still sounds tepid compared to previous c63 and rs4 - akrapovik seems the (only) way to go for nigh on £6k and 2, for £600 a certain tuner will extract another 100 Bhp over standard- so for the extra cash is it worth modding the existing car or buying the Audi Performance one?

PowerslideSWE

952 posts

71 months

Thursday 21st July 2016
quotequote all


Standard 560hp Rs6. 286 kp/h GPS indicated.

markcoznottz

4,537 posts

157 months

Thursday 21st July 2016
quotequote all
Surprising to see such a heavily turboed engine signed off, I thought these kind of cars were just about wafting. Not as mental as the V10 version.

Krikkit

13,008 posts

114 months

Thursday 21st July 2016
quotequote all
markcoznottz said:
Surprising to see such a heavily turboed engine signed off, I thought these kind of cars were just about wafting. Not as mental as the V10 version.
A8 for wafting, the RS isn't for that.

Shnozz

19,805 posts

204 months

Thursday 21st July 2016
quotequote all
MrBarry123 said:
A lot of dollar at £100k+ but from the looks of the RS6 leasing thread, it appears there's sizeable discounts to be had.
I had the use of one through the business I consult with and that is on a 36 mth lease at £999 PCM. £94k list.

It's an incredible feat of engineering but I didn't really "get" it. The fact its so bonkers is perhaps a good thing but a 3 litre TDI version would serve 95% of the functionality and give you enough left to plonk a fruitloop R400 in the garage. However, if you really need a big estate (and it is big, it hung out of my parking space and when measured up was 10mm longer than a friend's T5 camper van), that keeps pace with a
prancing pony whilst carrying your kids and a dog in the back, well, it's perfect.

405dogvan

5,264 posts

198 months

Thursday 21st July 2016
quotequote all
I used-to love the idea of the stealthy uber-estates but we've fully entered the twilight zone with that power (almost entirely unusable for 95% of it's life) and THAT price.

The C5 RS6 or B7 RS4 were near-perfect - everything which followed has been "bigger car bigger numbers sillier options" - I get that people buy them and so they make them but you have to wonder where it ends...

The current RS6 is cartoon-enormous too - one parked behind the dogvan a few weeks ago and it looked like a van! It doesn't even fit normal parking spaces (E Class also now has this issue)

Yet neither is really that much of a load lugger - estates which aren't that big and have more power than you'll ever need and a pricetag which belongs on a 2-seater supercar and...

405dogvan

5,264 posts

198 months

Thursday 21st July 2016
quotequote all
Shnozz said:
I had the use of one through the business I consult with and that is on a 36 mth lease at £999 PCM. £94k list.
After 36 months it will have lost 45% base price (I'll assume £80K) and ALL the options (£14k) making it worth about £44K - you've paid £36k towards the £94K 'list' - which means a shortfall of at least £14K before the leaser makes a penny...

You can do this maths with some of the sillier leases (see sites like HotUKDeals etc.) and see the crazy discounts some cars are clearly getting (208GTi may be free in cereal boxes soon!!)

cheddar

4,005 posts

107 months

Thursday 21st July 2016
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You're on form Dan, another well written review to back up Monday's Megane vs Civic article clap

smilo996

1,421 posts

103 months

Thursday 21st July 2016
quotequote all
With the Porka Cayenne Turbo at 95K with no goodies and the S at 119K then this looks like a complete bargain.

Shows how clueless SUV buyers are when this is the alternative. Especially if you spend the @20k on a visit to MTM or another purveyor of exceedingly good fast bits for Audi's.

It would be a shame if they dropped it but when the only USP for the alternative is sitting high up then gems like this will die out.

Perhaps Jaguar will have a fit of stupidity and put the F-Type AWD system and engine in an XF - SVR.

Welshbeef

33,857 posts

131 months

Thursday 21st July 2016
quotequote all
smilo996 said:
With the Porka Cayenne Turbo at 95K with no goodies and the S at 119K then this looks like a complete bargain.

Shows how clueless SUV buyers are when this is the alternative. Especially if you spend the @20k on a visit to MTM or another purveyor of exceedingly good fast bits for Audi's.

It would be a shame if they dropped it but when the only USP for the alternative is sitting high up then gems like this will die out.

Perhaps Jaguar will have a fit of stupidity and put the F-Type AWD system and engine in an XF - SVR.
You seen the prices of FFRRS?

patch5674

213 posts

45 months

Thursday 21st July 2016
quotequote all
Are you thinking aloud that this is the last RS6 or has it been confirmed there won't be C8 RS car?