Wild, dark & wonderful. We put Audi Sport’s supreme wagon RS6 to the test
So you’re Darth Vader and you’re married to Bat Woman and your kids are Thor, Zeus and Apollo. Here’s your car! Not sure why Audi is so smitten with station wagons strong enough to align the stars, but we really dig them and this RS6 is just the business. Again.
Looks the Part. Turns Heads Too
Angular and more purposeful, it really looks the part and turns heads. Especially in this dark Sebring Darth hue enhanced by optional RS Dynamic Package Matrix LED headlights. That extreme width is no illusion. 40 mm wider, RS6 stretches to 1,950 mm at the front fenders. Those flatter, sportier HD Matrix LED headlamps have dynamic turn signals and RS-sequencing too.
They punctuate RS6’s squat gloss black 3D honeycomb single frame grille with side ducts that draw into the RS bumper and extend to the lower edge of the headlamps. All good old R8 cues. It’s those estate roots that really make this one pop pop though. Its long, flat roofline and flat D pillars rest on quattro blisters while the RS sport exhaust’s vast oval black tips help tell a dramatic story aft.
So yes, some cars just look as if they’re travelling at 300 km/h and this RS6 Avant is one of them. Even if it’s limited to a spoilsport 250 km/h. Or 280 with this one’s RS option. That courtesy of Audi’s latest mild hybrid 441 kW 800 Nm 4-litre TFSI biturbo V8 turning all four wheels via a shift-optimised eight-speed auto.
RS6 Cares For the Planet Too
That 48-volt belt alternator hybrid is an interesting device. It recovers up to 12 kW in gentle driving. To charge up a lithium-ion battery. That juice is then used for start-stop driving at speeds below 22 km/h. To save up to 0.8 litres of petrol per 100 kilometres. But that’s not all. Cylinder on demand deactivates half the V8 cylinders to deliver four-pot mode in light throttle driving.
But we digress and while it all works very well, the Audi RS6 Avant quattro is not really about any of that. Any red-blooded driver is too easily be spawned on by that sonorous, full cream V8 howl. It’s wonderful racket highlighted by a biturbo scream emanating from deep in the engine bay. The noise is even customizable via RS1 and RS2 modes. To make any tunnel worthy of turning around and driving back through again. And again.
RS6’s quattro permanent all-wheel drive has a mechanical self-locking centre differential. Standard it sends a 40 percent of that torque forward, 60 to the rear. But this one’s RS Dynamic sport differential seamlessly spreads it up to 70 up front or 85 percent aft. Add direct ratio progressive steering in this RS dynamic package, dynamic all-wheel steering and wheel-selective torque to gently brakes the inside wheels to help turn it, and you’re rapidly approaching dynamic bliss.
The Quickest Wagon We Ever Tested
All of which means RS6 is now even quicker to 100 km/h. It took a quite astounding 3.3 seconds. And a mid-11-second quarter mile with staggering overtaking ability, too. That makes it the quickest wagon we’ve ever tested. And as it saves a good few litres per hundred when driven economically. Not so sure how much when those turbos are all spooled up though. Push it and RS6 becomes a drunkard with a platinum card on pay day.
Moving on, RS6 rides on 22-inch 5-V-spoke RS alloys in 285/30 rubber wrapped around internally ventilated and perforated steel disc brakes. 420 mm front and 370 mm rear. Its aluminium-rich five-link front and rear RS adaptive air suspension affords 20 mm drop in ride height at over 120 km/h. Air suspension brings the choice between comfort and performance motoring. And Dynamic Ride Control has six modes including two individually configurable RS settings.
So, RS6 rides splendidly in normal driving. But it also handles brilliantly, turns in precisely and follows through beautifully when pushed All-wheel drive may rob a touch of deftness of feel, bit it surely adds a certain sure-footedness to boost driver confidence.
RS6 is Still a Wagon at Heart
RS6 stands furthest apart thanks to its wagon advantages. Some may say it’s a hearse but don’t tell Darth. He may like that idea! Easily accessible via foot gesture activated power tailgate, the 565 litre trunk conveniently grows to 1,680 litres. Just pop the 40:20:40 split folding rear bench down. It has an even broader loading width and a luggage compartment cover. And if that’s not enough, the power swivelling tow hitch will drag a 2,100 kg braked trailer.
You sink into RS6’s delightful red stitched honeycomb pattern black Valcona leather sports seats. Another cockpit highlight is the MMI RS monitor. It reports component temperatures, g-forces and tyre pressures and temperatures. The Audi virtual cockpit dials get a sporty RS Performance graphics including the new RS Runway. That sits behind a chunky flat-bottomed leather sport haptic multifunction steering wheel large aluminium paddle shifters.
RS6 also packs in all the expected driver aids. For starters, those Matrix LED headlights yet again proved a revelation. They take auto illumination next level. Just keep the beams bright. They simply block out oncoming cars so those drivers are not dazzled. Audi connect updates traffic information real time, shows points of interest via the satellite map and reports live weather updates.
RS6 Evokes Splendid Adjectives
There’s lane change and 360-degree camera intelligent park assist, adaptive cruise control and a pre sense rear package. Add Car2X services emergency service calling and your MyAudi app links your RS6 to your smartphone. That’s just some of a huge selection specification and safety kit. And of course RS6 does also get Audi’s much-improved latest MMI multimedia interface. A definite step ahead.
The Audi RS6 is now one of a few top end station wagons out there, but for some reason this car certainly has an outer worldliness about its style and execution. it looks magnificent, sounds incredible and feels spectacular to drive. So, there you go Darth Vader — take Bat Woman home! – Michele Lupini
Images – Michele Lupini
ROAD TESTED: Audi RS6 Avant quattro
Engine: 441kW 800Nm 4-litre biturbo petrol V8
Drive: 8-speed automatic AWD
0-60 km/h: 1.53 sec
0-100 km/h: 3.37 sec
0-160 km/h: 7.69 sec
400m: 11.4 sec @ 195 km/h
80-120 km/h: 2.24 sec
120-160 km/h: 3.09 sec
VMax: 280 km/h
Fuel: 12.2 l/100km
CO2: 285 g/km
Warranty/Service: 1y Unl./5y 100K km
LIST PRICE: R2.11M