Audi RS 6 Avant review
With a thumping 592bhp, the iconic Audi RS 6 Avant is a brilliantly desirable, high-performance, practical estate
The RS 6 Avant’s talent lies in how it combines blistering pace, superb refinement and bundles of the latest tech, while having enough space for the whole family and its luggage to travel in relaxing comfort. It’s a hugely desirable package and provides an old-school antidote to the latest, fashionable performance SUVs.
Audi clearly decided against a quantum leap in power from the previous generation RS 6, but it has introduced a mild-hybrid system to work alongside the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 unit. The RS 6 is not the sharpest or most dynamic super estate, but if you’re seeking one car to cover many bases, it’s difficult to look past Audi’s fastest load-lugger.
About the Audi RS 6 Avant
The phrase ‘all the car you’ll ever need’ is often used in relation to fast estate cars like the Audi RS 6, and with good reason. Audi has real pedigree in this area; most notably with the RS 2 (developed with assistance from Porsche in 1994), the 2005 4.2-litre V8-engined B7 RS 4 Avant and, who could forget, the RS 6 from 2008 which represented a huge power leap over its predecessor with its 572bhp twin-turbo 5.0-litre V10 unit that helped it complete the 0-62 sprint in just 3.6 seconds - not bad for a two-tonne wagon. Now the latest RS 6 continues the bloodline.
The Audi RS 6 is now into its fourth generation and, while the recipe is broadly unchanged, much more technology has gone into this super estate. A 48-volt mild-hybrid system has been introduced to assist the 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine and help improve efficiency. The car is based on the conventional A6 Avant (no RS 6 saloon will be offered this time), so it sits on the same MLB evo platform with upgraded materials that add more strength and rigidity to the car.
Audi has gone with a multi-link suspension setup front and rear, with adaptive air suspension as standard. The top-of-the-range Vorsprung models come with RS plus sports suspension that features dynamic ride control, helping to reduce body roll and pitch in the sportier driving modes.
The Audi RS 6’s key rival in the battle for fast estate supremacy comes from Mercedes-AMG, in the shape of the barnstorming E63 S Estate. Although offering even more power at 604bhp, it’s not as comfortable or as high-quality inside as the RS 6, as it feels a little more raw.
Another key but pricier competitor is the Porsche Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo - using the same VW group 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, but no mild-hybrid tech, it concedes 50bhp to the Audi, but does come in a little lighter at 2,035kg. If you just have to go for high-riding SUV style, you could still stick with Audi and opt for the RS Q8. Equipped with the same engine as the RS 6, it’s not as good to drive, but is just as practical, so it really comes down to personal choice.
Prices for the RS 6 start at just over £92,000, while the Carbon Black edition is an extra £8,000. The top-of-the-range Vorsprung version starts at more that £109,000 and, like the Black Edition, sits on 22-inch alloys instead of the standard car’s 21-inch wheels. All versions use an eight-speed automatic gearbox, with Audi allowing the Vorsprung to charge onto 174mph, instead of the limited 155mph in other models.
The difference between the standard RS 6 and the Carbon Black version is mostly cosmetic, so it really comes down to whether you want the Black Edition’s looks or the extra focus and trickery of the Vorsprung model.
In this review
- 1Audi RS 6 Avant review - currently readingWith a thumping 592bhp, the iconic Audi RS 6 Avant is a brilliantly desirable, high-performance, practical estate
- 2Engines, performance and driveDespite the RS 6’s mild hybrid-tech, there’s nothing mild about the performance
- 3MPG, CO2 and running costs Although not exactly eco-friendly, the RS 6 includes a mild-hybrid system to improve efficiency
- 4Interior, design and technologyStunning inside and out, the RS 6 delivers the best of Audi’s latest design language and tech
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe performance focus doesn’t detract from a useable, practical interior providing comfort for everyone on board
- 6Reliability and safetyThe RS 6 has a solid reputation for safety but Audi customer feedback offers some concerns