From £79,470
Audi’s 572bhp RS6 combines loads of space with unbelievable pace. The best RS yet.

What is it?

Only the most powerful mass-produced estate car there has ever been, the new 572bhp Audi RS6 Avant.

It goes on sale in the UK on May 24. Audi UK expects to sell 600 a year, and the first 700 are already spoken for, so if you sign up for one today, it’ll be next May before Audi can deliver you one. Is it worth waiting for?

What’s it like?

Superlatives fall spectacularly short in describing the ‘rather surprising’ bald speed of this car.

Thankfully, having driven one in more familiar UK surroundings for the first time last week, we’re now in a position to give you a more real-world account of its point-to-point performance. So here goes.

On the rolling A- and B-roads of rural Northamptonshire it felt very, very rapid indeed, as well as agile and well-damped, and had great dynamic balance through corners. The last RS6 certainly wasn’t any of the above.

This one must also go from 0-30mph faster than almost any other two-tonner on the road. From a twin-turbo V10 and Quattro four-wheel drive, you expect a bit of transmission slip, if only in the spirit of mechanical preservation.

But after you select ‘S’ on the auto box’s lever and bury the throttle, you get almost no delay, full transmission lock-up in first gear, the merest scrabble from the rear tyres, and then a savage, driveshaft-worrying rush.

That big V10 revs all the way out to 6800rpm before the ‘box snatches another gear. Audi quotes 4.6 seconds to 62mph, but that could actually be a wet-weather benchmark; the RS6 feels every bit as fast as an R8 to 62mph, and much quicker beyond there. You’ll need nothing short of a Porsche 911 Turbo to beat it over a standing quarter-mile drag race.

As is becoming a recurring theme with RS Audis, bald speed isn’t all that this car is about. For starters, it steers accurately, fluently, and with well-judged control weight; the wheel’s nicely light at town and manoeuvring speeds, but quickly loads up on the open road. Its precision is what gives you the confidence to explore the far reaches of this car’s performance on an empty road.

The RS6 has also got razor-sharp throttle response, particularly for a proper auto. As described earlier, the excellent transmission allows you to deploy all of the engine’s power, even in first gear.

In Sports mode it holds a gear right to the redline, kicks down quicker than most, and locks up fully whenever you want it to. The paddleshift mode gives the driver even better control over gearshifts. Few automatic gearboxes are this finely-tuned for high performance – AMG take note.

The car’s got enormous traction too; though you expect as much from an RS Audi, the extent to which the new RS6 assaults the tarmac is still remarkable. You can give it full throttle, in first gear, away from a wet T-junction, and get nothing – no oversteer, no understeer, little wheelspin to speak of – except stultifying forward motion.

Perhaps most remarkably of all, this car can also be refined and easy-to-drive. When you’re not in the mood to wear the pattern off the A413 you can set the adaptive dampers to ‘Comfort’, leave the transmission in ‘D’, and just float around (try that in a BMW M5). The only thing that disturbs the calm is the occasional patter of its 20in wheels.

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Should I buy one?

There should be no doubt: Quattro GmbH has just put forth its best RS yet, and whether you’re a fan of hot Audis or not, the new RS6 is a must-drive for any performance car lover with £80k to spend.

It’s not a car overawed by a monstrous engine: it’s actually one of the finest new fast cars you can buy right now, 1600-litre boot-and-all. Though its performance is more than a match for its rivals, it appeals in a different way to rear-driven super-saloons and –estates from Mercedes and BMW. The best way to get to the nub of that difference is like this.

Imagine the perfect corner on a circuit. It’s long, open, medium-fast, ever-so-slightly damp, and you can see all the way around it. Now, how do you imagine driving it? Go in at about eight-and-a-half tenths commitment, get on the gas a little early, and exit with a quarter-turn of opposite lock? Or go in fast, pound the apex into submission, pick up as much traction as possible on the way out, and then see what the next bend brings?

If you’re in camp a), the BMW M5 Touring is the firebrand wagon for you. But if you’re camp b), and you simply want an any-weather performance weapon that’ll cover ground as fast as a supercar, come what may – but four-up, and with a fortnight’s worth of luggage on board – well, you know what to do.

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Comments
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tommallett 4 May 2008

Re: Audi RS6 Avant

As competant as the car is I just can't find it within me to actually like it; I can't get over 2.3 tonnes; and that one assumes blunts the performance a bit even with 580 brake. I is also going to struggle to hide 2.3 tonnes round the twisty stuff. Competant but not emotive...I would just rather have an M5 or E63 if I had any money!

ryaner 1 May 2008

Re: Audi RS6 Avant

I don't get everyone's problem with this car. There are alot of cars every bit as quick but don't get slammed for their speed. Noone gave out about the new M3, going, "Oh, maybe they should have given it less power and a slower 0-60 time". I do accept the car is overweight, but this car is about having something practical, one can use every day, including all the luxuries, but making you wet yourself laughing everytime you put the foot down.

My only problem is the stiff suspension, but I could easily put up with that for such an otherwise well rounded car. On 19" alloys aswell, I remember the m3 getting a bit of a slating for ride quality aswell. Don't get me wrong, I really like the M3, (particularly the saloon for some reason), but when did so many readers become anti quick practical cars.

Is a bit dear though isn't it?

SUPERSPARK222 8 February 2008

Re: Audi RS6 Avant

ThwartedEfforts wrote:
I dont think the prescence of the new RS6 diminishes

the M5 at all,except perhaps in the minds of M5 owners.Having just invested £67K,

they are the one,s who seem to have a bee in their bonnets having just been usurped

by an AUDI.An awful lot is being made of the RS6,s price of £77K, being ridiculous,

but I wonder to the average man in the street,does a price tag of £67K seem like a

bargain ? Is a 500bhp saloon any more sane than a 572bhp estate ?

Also, there,s been a lot of talk regarding the AUDI,s weight breaking 2 metric tonnes,

but the BMW M5, is only 150 kilos less, by my reckoning.And that,s without the

Quattro hardware.So,where is the sylphlike BMW engineering,there ? I dont see it.

M5,s owners should just swallow the pill and accept defeat,for the present at least.

However,

ThwartedEfforts wrote:

flangeville wrote:

all you people out there that think its too fast should really go sit down, grab ya pipe, put ya slippers on and admire ya boxy euro saloon on ya drives. in the meantime i will be happily supporting my local ats tyre depot xmas bonus with a big smile on my face. why downgrade what is a fantastis piece of engineering ( didnt hear any1 complain about the veyron being too fast?) that has finally knocked the pompous pin striped m5 off its rotting podium.


An Audi fan making jibes about boxy Euro saloons. Superb!

I'd love to know what makes the M5 a 'pompous' car but the RS6 a 'fantastis' (sic) one. Sounds like the automotive equivalent of Mac vs PC to me...

seems like a lot of toys,are getting thrown from Bavarian prams at the

moment......................and will be for some time to come,I fear.


flangeville wrote:

all you people out there that think its too fast should really go sit down, grab ya pipe, put ya slippers on and admire ya boxy euro saloon on ya drives. in the meantime i will be happily supporting my local ats tyre depot xmas bonus with a big smile on my face. why downgrade what is a fantastis piece of engineering ( didnt hear any1 complain about the veyron being too fast?) that has finally knocked the pompous pin striped m5 off its rotting podium.


An Audi fan making jibes about boxy Euro saloons. Superb!

I'd love to know what makes the M5 a 'pompous' car but the RS6 a 'fantastis' (sic) one. Sounds like the automotive equivalent of Mac vs PC to me...