‘More powerful than any RS6 or RS7 to date: the new Audi RS6 Avant Performance and RS7 Sportback Performance'. Yep, despite claims by manufacturers that their focus is on the environment and EVs, the petrol power war is still alive and kicking, it seems. Hypocrisy? Yes. Necessary? No. Newsworthy? Absolutely.
I know these numbers trip off the tongue – or keyboard – so readily these days, but just think about it with a fresh mind for a second: 630hp from the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 in something that isn't a supercar is a staggering number. I am not sure how useful it is to quote supercar stats from the past, but I'm going to anyway: 20-years ago, a Ferrari Enzo – the most extreme Ferrari hypercar you could buy – made 660hp. The RS6 and RS7 Performance's 630hp represents a 30hp and 37lb ft (to 627lb ft) uplift over the outgoing non-Performance models.
It means that, were you to shell out the starting price of £112,650 for the RS6 or £116,305 for the RS7, you’ll have a car that bashes down the 0-62mph door in 3.4 seconds, which is two-tenths quicker than the old models. These two also raise the top-speed bar to 174mph. In case you’re wondering what intricate adjustments have been made to the engine’s internals to achieve this feat, Audi has bolted on a couple of bigger turbos and cranked up the boost to 2.6 bar – it was 2.4.
The other amazing number worth mentioning is weight. Both these cars are over two tonnes (2,090kg and 2,065kg for the RS6 and RS7 respectively), but these Performance versions do shave off some bulk. We’re talking 8kg off shavings, which isn’t a lot, but because that’s come from reducing the sound insulation, we’re told the Performance models will ‘thrill customers with an exciting, next-level sound experience’. Next-level, aye? Nice.
Standard equipment includes the RS Dynamics Package, which adds rear-wheel steering with RS-specific software and, as before on UK cars, a Quattro Sport differential on the rear axle. The engine software has also been tweaked to make for ‘tighter load changes’ in the Dynamic mode and the gearbox software now provides faster shift times and more noticeable differences between the various drive modes.
The new models run on 22-inch matt-grey wheels and huge 285/30 tyres. If you go for the Carbon Black or Vorsprung trims, then you get lightweight wheels with a Y-spoke design that’s said to help brake cooling. As a bonus, each wheel saves 5kg of unsprung mass and comes with a Continental Sport Contact 7 tyre that helps curtail understeer. It also knocks two metres off the braking distance from 62mph.
Obviously, there are yet more ways to spend yet more money in the pursuit of performance, even on something called Performance. If the standard RS Dynamics Package isn’t enough, then you can add the RS Dynamics Package Plus. That raises the max-speed bar to 189mph and throws in a set of carbon ceramic discs – 440mm at the front and 370mm at the rear. In total, that takes another 34kg off the unsprung mass as well.
Other additions across the range include a flashing gear-shift indicator in the driver’s Virtual Cockpit display, and a traffic-light system for the launch control to tell you when the system is able to deliver peak thrust. There’s also more kit, including a Bang & Olufsen 3D sound system, head-up display and 360-degree camera on all versions, while the Vorsprung trim add a Night Vision Assistant and carbon twill inlays.
Ordering opens on 8th December, with first UK deliveries scheduled for April 2023.
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