Audi’s RS badge usually means one thing. Giant killer. That’s never more true than when its found on the back of a wagon. Since its first appearance the RS 6 has always been one of the most understated performance cars on the market. It has just enough shiny bits on the outside to make it stand out. And more than enough power and performance to make even dedicated sports cars tiny specks in the rear view mirror.
The all-new 2013 RS 6 sees many important changes to the car. The twin-turbo 5.0 litre V10 of the previous car is ditched in favor of a twin-turbocharged 4.0 litre V8. Power is down, but due to a lighter overall weight performance is up. The RS 6 Avant is now capable of hitting 62 mph (100 km/h) in just a fraction under four seconds. And the top speed, once the electronic limiter is deactivated, is 189 mph.
As you’d expect the new RS 6 is not only faster than its predeccessor, it’s also more economical. That’s partly due to its engine stop-start technology, but primarily due to its cylinder deactivation system. The switch between four and eight-cylinder operation takes just a few hundredths of a second, and the only real indication to the driver that it is taking place is a visual signal within the instrument cluster.
The V8 engine is paired with an eight-speed tiptronic transmission featuring shortened shift times and offering ‘Sport’ and ‘Manual’ modes in addition to the standard ‘Drive’ setting. To shift for themselves, drivers can use the shift paddles on the steering wheel or the selector lever, which is of a unique RS design. The lower gears of the tiptronic are tightly spaced for optimum performance, while a tall eighth gear further reduces fuel consumption.
The new RS 6 Avant will be the first Audi RS model to feature adaptive air suspension. The specially tuned set-up lowers the body by 20 millimetres, and incorporates controlled damping which takes into account road conditions, driving style and the mode chosen in the standard Audi drive select adaptive dynamics system, with which the driver can influence the function of key components in multiple steps.
Stylewise there isn’t much to comment on. It has the usual fender flares and more aggressive front and rear bumpers you’d expect from an RS model. My only criticism is the tacky “quattro” emblem featured on the lower portion of the front grille. It looks tacky and aftermarket. Hopefully 5 minutes with a screwdriver would have that small error rectified.
The new Audi RS 6 will go on sale in the UK early next year priced from £77,000. No word yet on whether the RS 6 will make it to the States.