For nearly a decade, the Audi RS6 has been synonymous with crazy outputs from bi-turbo “V” engine setups. From the C5 (331kW, 580Nm) to the monstrous C6 (426kW, 650Nm), big numbers are what “RS6” has always been about. The only problem with the C6 was that weighing in at 2025Kg, it was comparable to Noah’s Ark, and it had major side-effects of being too “floaty” and “luggish” around bends and too difficult to bring to a stop. Audi has now revealed the new RS6 though, so far only an Avant model, and the figures that jump out at 1st glance are 412kW and 700Nm. YES, it has lost 14kW on its predecessor, but yes, it has gained 50Nm worth of torque.
The new RS6 is based on the C7 A6 lineup, but has been plugged with Audi’s 4.0 TFSI V8 engine which made its presence known in the recently released Audi S8. Although power output is down, the smaller number of cylinders decreases weight and the newly designed engine features a unique layout to improve torque delivery and reduce turbo-lag. The two large twin-scroll turbochargers and intercooler are located within the “V” of the engine, along with the exhaust manifold, resulting in a compact, centralised design with minimal flow losses.
The RS-specific engine management system and unthrottled intake system is said to improve throttle response and remove “lag” from the equation almost entirely. Peak torque is available from 1750 rpm through to 5500 rpm, while peak power is achieved at 6700 rpm. The 700Nm V8 is capable of propelling the RS6 Avant from standstill to 100km/h in 3.9 seconds, a figure currently unmatched by any competitors in the market segment. The standard limiter will cut acceleration at 250km/h, while upgrading to the Dynamic and Dynamic Plus packages will yield top end speeds of 280km/h and 305km/h respectively.
The new RS6 features COD (Cylinder on Demand), which at low to intermediate speeds shuts off intake and exhaust valves to cylinders 2,3,5 and 8. The 4.0 TFSI then runs as a 4 cylinder engine until heavy acceleration, which then re-activates the 4 dormant cylinders. This technology will decrease emissions and bring fuel consumption down to a claimed combined figure of 9.8l/100km. The changeover from 4 to 8 cylinders take a few hundredths of a second, and Audi claim the only noticeable change is an illuminated notification on the dash. Active engine bearings compensate for 4-cylinder vibrations with use of out-of-phase counter-oscillations.
The 4.0 TFSI is mated to an 8-speed Audi tiptronic gearbox, featuring tightly spaced lower gears for sportier feel, with a tall eighth gear for better fuel consumption. The RS6 features a unique RS design gear selector, and again comes standard with wheel mounted paddle-shifters. All the power from the gearbox is put through to the ground via quattro permanent all wheel drive, with torque vectoring and a self-locking centre differential.
The new RS6 comes standard with specifically tuned adaptive air suspension linked to Audi’s drive select system. An optional sport suspension plus package is available with DRC (Dynamic Ride Control) as an alternative to the air suspension setup. This system uses steel springs and 3-way adjustable shock absorbers that are hydraulically connected diagonally for increased steering response and reduced body roll. Another option available is Dynamic Steering, which features steplessly variable steering boost and ratios. This system is tailored specifically for the RS6 and can be intergrated into the Audi Drive Select system.
The brakes retain the weight saving wave-like design from the RS5, and are gripped by black, 6 piston calipers (red callipers available as an option). Customers can opt for carbon fibre-ceramic brake discs measuring 420mm in diameter with anthracite grey calipers.
Standard kit comprises of high-gloss 20-inch forged wheels with a 7 twin-spoke design, while optional 21-inch wheels are available. The RS6 features a typical Audi RS design flare with large wheel arches, massive honeycomb grill, front and rear diffuser, sill flares, roof spoiler, and the two large, elliptical exhaust tailpipes.
With the reduced engine size, Audi says the body plays a major role in handling of the RS6. The new body is roughly 20% aluminium and includes several high-strength steel components. As a result, the new Avant weighs approximately 100Kg less than its predecessor, resulting in better handling, power-to-weight ratio, increased performance, and reduced fuel consumption.
The interior is typically RS, with RS sport seats featuring pronounced side bolsters, integrated head restraints and RS6 logos. Black Alcantara and leather clothe the seats with diamond quilt centre panels. Optional is a high-grade honeycomb-quilted Valcona leather available in either black or Moon Silver. Power-adjustable deluxe seats with memory function are also available. The rear seats are standard as 2 sportily moulded seats, but a 3-person bench is available. The boot space has a capacity of 1680 litres.
Standard features include xenon plus headlights, LED rear lights, a tyre-pressure control system, illuminated entry sills, and custom driver-information system. The parking system plus, cruise control, three-zone automatic air conditioning, MMI navigation plus with MMI touch and the 10 speaker Audi sound system are all offered as standard. The optional extras list is long and plentiful as always with a high-end Audi.
Will the new RS6 right the wrongs of the previous model Ark? We can only wait and see!
Wording by Roger Biermann