The Audi RS6 is the Audi A6 Saloon on steroids - is it the performance car for you? Has it got enough punch?
Bags of space
Steering is slow to respond
All wheel drive provides excellent grip
The Audi RS6 is basically a supercar version of Audi’s eminently practical family car, the A6. But how could Audi turn one of the best estate cars into a supercar, you might ask? Simple. Strip away that affable Audi grille and replace it with an aggressive stance, angular exterior and muscular physique. Throw in a 4.0 litre bi-turbo V8 and you’ve gone from a well meaning station wagon to a real playground bully.
That’s right, in a world of performance SUVs like the Volvo XC60 Polestar and the Lamborghini Urus, the Audi RS6 Avant proves that you don’t have to be an SUV to be badass. The new Audi RS6 may not be quite as fun as the Porsche Panamera Turismo Sport or the BMW M5, but it definitely sits amongst them as one of the best family cars on the market.
The ‘entry level’ RS6 Avant - if you can really call it that - packs plenty of premium features. These include 10.5J x 21 alloy wheels in ‘Glavano Silver’, HD matrix LED headlamps with dynamic light design and dynamic turning signal, as well as Audi MMI Navigation plus (Audi’s premium infotainment offering which includes twin touch screens), RS-sport seats in the front in leather Valcona, and Audi’s quattro 4WD system with sports differential and dynamic all-wheel steering.
RS6 Avant Carbon Black
The mid range RS6 Avant packs 10.5J x 22 black gloss alloy wheels, the Carbon Black styling package, gloss black Audi rings and a grey RS interior design package.
RS6 Avant Vorsprung
The range-topping RS6 Avant Vorsprung has 10.5J x22 titanium matte gloss alloy wheels, the RS-sports suspension Plus with Audi’s Dynamic Ride Control (DRC), a gloss black styling package, panoramic glass sunroof and an improved top speed of 174mph.
Take a look at the latest Audi RS6 Avant lease deals and see how much money you could save on your next lease car.
At the end of the day, the RS6 and the A6 are both estate cars. The roof, tailgate and front doors have even been carried over to the RS6. But with the RS6 there is absolutely no doubt as to what kind of person sits behind the wheel. Sure, the A6 is technically an executive estate, with a plush interior and plenty of gadgets, but that’s not to say it would look out of place at a car boot sale.
The RS6 makes the A6 look positively benign. It does away with the standard Audi affair for a more angular front grille and spoilers, aggressive headlights and a wider, lower stance. You almost want to ask it what it’s problem is, before you remember it’s just a car…
The Estate car may have traditionally been the preserve of old men and antique’s dealers, but the Audi RS6’s eight-speed tiptronic automatic gearbox which drives the new TFSI quattro 4.0-litre V8 engine (a mild-hybrid setup) will see you rocket from 0-62mph in just 3.6 seconds. Not bad.
Engine and Performance
The Audi RS6’s twin-turbo V8 engine is a thing of beauty, and while it may not be best on tight corners, you can’t have everything a car that doesn’t know whether it should be at an antique fair or on the race track. Still, straight line performance is truly exhilarating and you’ll enjoy watching the panicked look on people’s faces as your right foot invokes the thunderous rage of the V8 engine.
The RS6’s V8 engine churns out 552bhp on the standard model, and 592bhp and 590lb ft of torque on the RS6 performance which, let’s be honest, is more than enough for an estate car. It’ll also manage 0-62 in a mere 3.6 seconds, leaving boy racers in the dust. The standard model is limited to 155mph, but you can upgrade that to 174mph, or 190mph if you opt for the ceramic brakes. So much for an ‘old man’s car’...
Active four wheel drive means the RS6 sticks to the road like glue, with rear-wheel steering helping to stabilise the car on tight corners. While steering can feel a little heavy and slow to respond, even in the lightest of the three steering modes, there’s next to no body roll thanks and you’ll find yourself grinning with sheer delight on long, sweeping bends.
Audi’s ‘Dynamic Steering’ is an option, which uses a variable rack to turn quicker the further you move the wheel. However, this is probably better suited to more practical, inner city driving, so we’d recommend you stick with the standard set up.
Unfortunately, things can get a little bumpy with this car. Not only is the optional sports suspension expensive, but it makes things worse. We’d suggest you stick to the standard adaptive air suspension and adaptive dampers, which will soften up the scruffier roads without sacrificing too much when it comes to handling.
Audi RS6 Interior
The Audi RS6 Avant gives you pretty much everything you could want from a high-end car as standard - which is probably not so surprising, given the price.
If you had any doubts that Audi was the king of cabins, the RS6 interior should put them to rest. The standard setup includes a carbon fibre trim, quilted leather and alcantara seats, and the attention to detail is second to none.
The Audi RS6 comes with an 8.0-inch screen on the dash which is operated using a rotary dial and buttons all within easy reach of the gear stick. The onboard infotainment system is fairly feature-filled, with sat-nav functionality, a DVD player, a 10GB hard drive and Bluetooth functionality as standard.
Audi’s offering is up there with the BMW iDrive as one of the best infotainment systems on the market. That said, if you want the best experience you can get, you might want to consider the optional Audi Tech Pack or sound and comfort pack, which bring Bang and Olufsen speakers, as well as a 360 degree camera for optimal visibility.
As you would expect from a car of this size and shape, practicality is one of its strong points.
4979mm L x 2086mm W x 1460mmm H
The Audi RS6 Avant comes in around the same size as the A6 Avant, but it’s marginally longer, wider and shorter. Overall, there’s plenty of room inside.
When it comes to boot space, the Audi RS6 is pretty much the same as the standard Audi A6. That means a seats-up capacity of 565 litres and a seats-down figure of 1,680 litres. It’s not the biggest boot in its class, but it’s easy to access and there are also latching points available to keep things nice and secure.
In the front, low-lying sports seats allow the driver to get nice and low behind the steering wheel. Driver comfort doesn’t have to take away from the comfort of those behind, either. You’ll easily fit a couple of six-footers in the rear seats without sacrificing leg space.
The RS6 hasn’t been tested by Euro NCAP, but given its similarities to the Audi A6 (which scored 5* with 93% for adult occupants and 85% child occupants), we can assume it’s pretty safe. Standard safety features include a lane departure warning and autonomous emergency braking. However, if you’re getting the standard model, the optional tour pack will bag you high beam assist, emergency assist, camera based traffic-sign recognition and adaptive cruise control.
Running costs are as you’d expect for a high-performance engine, so the Audi RS6 won't be making our best economical cars list. However, what sets the RS6 apart from rivals like the Mercedes AMG E63 Estate and the entry-level Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo is its combination of cylinder deactivation and a 48-volt mild hybrid system. This should in practice maximise fuel economy.
When we say mild-hybrid, we really mean it. You’ll be able to glide for 40 seconds without using the engine,and you’ll be averaging an mpg of 22, so you won’t be bragging to your Tesla mates anytime soon.
Fuel economy is, predictably, low. This particular Audi model will average about 22-23 mpg.
Get ready for some big annual premiums - the Audi RS6 Avant falls into the top insurance group, 50.
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It’s hard to say how the new RS6, released in 2019, will fare when it comes to reliability. That said, Audi performs below average in this category, placing 34th out of 40 manufacturers on the Reliability Index.
The standard Audi warranty is three years/60,000 miles including roadside assistance. If you really want to make the most of your estate car cum sports car, you can upgrade to an Audi extended warranty package. You can opt for either a four years/75,000 miles warranty for £245 or five years and 90,000 miles for £545 - which is nothing really, considering how much you’re already paying.
BMW and Mercedes offer a similar 3 year warranty, but both come with unlimited mileage, so this might be something to consider if you’re looking at a high mileage lease.
Audi offers three levels of scheduled maintenance with their ‘Complete Plan’.
‘Service’ will cover all of your services within the first three years, while the ‘Service and Maintenance’ package includes cover for your engine, suspension, gearbox and brake components. You’ll also receive three years’ breakdown cover on top.
Audi’s premium plan, ‘Service, Maintenance and Tyres’, also includes replacement tyres, wheel alignment and puncture repairs.