Audi RS6 Avant Performance 2016 review

The improvements may seem small, but the Audi RS6 Avant Performance is a practical and fast family car that'll put some SUVs to shame

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

The RS6 Avant is the fast estate that all other fast estate car owners aspire to own, and this Performance upgrade makes it even more attractive. The exterior revisions are subtle, but there’s no doubt that the extra power and sports exhaust enhance the car’s appeal. Combine its searing pace with the practicality of the estate body, and it’s a more rewarding fast family car than some rapid SUVs.

If the RS7 Performance isn’t quite practical enough, then this RS6 Avant is the fastest estate car you can buy. Like the RS7, there’s now a more powerful Performance upgrade available that carries a premium over the standard model.

This time it costs £6,915 extra, but like the RS7, it gets the same subtle updates, with titanium grey detailing, an exclusive wheel design and revised leather and Alcantara trim inside. It also uses the same reworked 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 with 597bhp, as well as a new sports exhaust. Audi claims the RS6 Avant can sprint from 0-62mph in 3.7 seconds, which is identical to the RS7, and the only penalty you take is with marginally poorer economy and higher emissions. However, when you’re spending over £85,000 on an estate car, these things are unlikely to matter too much. 

As with the RS7, the RS6 Avant fires up with a purposeful bark from the exhausts, while blipping the throttle in Dynamic mode results in pops and bangs as the engine races up and down the rev range. The Drive Select system has Comfort and Dynamic settings, while the Individual mode allows you to tailor throttle, gearbox, steering, suspension and differential settings to your preference. Or there’s the Auto mode, which adjusts the car according to how you are driving.

Best fast family cars

The standard-fit air-suspension does a good job of ironing out bumps in Comfort mode, and while the Dynamic setting is much firmer, passengers won’t be compaining about a back-breaking ride over rough surfaces. 

The big twin-turbo V8 delivers searing acceleration and instant responses throughout the rev range, while full throttle acceleration delivers a hard-edged engine note and addictive pops and bangs from the standard sports exhaust. However, while the RS6 is explosive in a straight line, the light steering lacks the feedback to inspire confidence that the four-wheel-drive system can use all of the engine’s power.

RS6 vs Range Rover Sport SVR vs Cayenne Turbo

However, like the RS7, the real bonus of the RS6 Avant is that the car’s electronics allow you to dial everything back to make the car just as comfortable a cruiser as a top-spec diesel A6 Avant. Combine this with a spacious five-seater cabin, a generous 565-litre boot and a lower list price than the RS7, and it could be all the fast family car you could ever need.

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