In-depth reviews

Audi RS6 Avant (2013-2018) review

How good is Audi's super estate? We rate the C7-generation RS6 Avant

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

  • Incredible performance
  • Loads of space
  • All-round ability
  • High running costs
  • Lack of driver involvement
  • Expensive to buy

With a price tag in excess of £80,000, the Audi RS6 Avant was one of the most expensive estate cars you could buy new. But when you consider the supercar-rivalling performance on offer and the practical estate car body, it offers two cars for the price of one, and you could easily spend twice as much buying an R8 sports car for thrills and a luxury SUV to go with it.

There are plenty of optional extras, and you could easily raise the car's price to £100k, but the one extra we would highly recommend is the Performance upgrade. Not only does it add more power, it also brings some added aural excitement.

With staggering performance, undeniable style and family-friendly practicality, the RS6 Avant ticks the right boxes as a rapid family car, while adding the Performance pack means it's more engaging to drive. Choosing between this and the Mercedes-AMG E63 Estate is tough, but what a fantastic dilemma to face.

Best estate cars to buy now

In a world of performance SUVs, the Audi RS6 Avant is a welcome nod to the old-school world of super-fast estate cars. While this version based on the A6 Avant went off sale in 2018, it's still a great choice for buyers who want a premium performance car that's practical.

In standard guise, the £80,000+ RS6 packs a 552bhp punch, with standard equipment including 20-inch alloy wheels, Audi Matrix LED headlights, MMI Navigation plus and RS Super Sports front seats.

For around £88,500, the RS6 Performance ups the ante with 597bhp, along with 21-inch alloy wheels, privacy glass, a titanium styling pack and sports exhaust. In truth, both are lavishly equipped, so the choice comes to down to whether you need the best part of 600bhp from your super-fast estate - there's no penalty in terms of fuel economy or emissions, which are pretty poor for both versions.

Best performance cars on sale

The RS6's chief rival is the Mercedes AMG E 63 Estate, with the majority of competitors taking the form of performance SUVs. The only cars that deliver a similar level of practicality and performance are the BMW M5 saloon, or the Porsche Cayenne Turbo and Range Rover Sport SVR. Like the latter two, the RS6 Avant offers similar practicality with the reassurance of the legendary quattro four-wheel-drive system, and perhaps a shade less ostentation.

In the past there has been an RS6 saloon variant, but there isn't this time around. Instead there's the slightly more expensive RS7 Sportback, which shares the RS6's engine and running gear.

Audi RS 6 history

The RS badge dates back to the RS2 Avant of 1994, which was developed in partnership with Porsche. It wasn't the world's first performance estate, but it was arguably the most iconic of the 90s. It was essentially a Porsche 968 Clubsport for the family man and his dog, featuring the brakes, wheels and tyres from the sports car.

Power was sourced from Audi's famous 2.2-litre five-cylinder lump, with power boosted to 315bhp courtesy of a KKK turbocharger. It could hit 62mph in just 5.4 seconds, before going on to reach a top speed of 163mph.

It wasn't cheap – £45,705 in 1994 is the equivalent of £85,500 in 2017 – but then the RS2 had genuine supercar-taming credentials. Indeed, the last 'entry-level' RS6 Avant actually worked out cheaper in modern money, but more on that in a moment.

Other RS models followed, including the 2.7-litre twin-turbo RS4 of 2000, developed in collaboration with Cosworth. The first RS6 arrived in 2002, with power sourced from a 4.2-litre twin-turbocharged V8, and available as an estate or saloon.

It was a tough act to follow, but Audi left nothing to chance in creating its replacement, with the new RS6 of 2008 boasting a Lamborghini V10 engine. The 5.0-litre monster developed a whopping 572bhp.

In a quest for greater efficiency, the V10 engine was ditched in favour of a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, yet the 2013 RS6 was faster than ever, especially if you select the Performance edition.

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