What is it like to live with a 605hp 4.0 liter V8 monster for a week? We did the test to find out! Loyal followers of GTspirit know we are big fans of the all-round four door superstar from Audi’s RS stable.
Recently an upgraded version of the RS6 hit the market dubbed the ‘Performance’ edition. In the past these models were called ‘Plus’ but since that sounds a bit like the car has a weight problem performance seems to be a better fit.
Our journey with the RS6 Performance starts at it’s home turf: the German autobahn. Sadly not the kind we like the most: empty and unrestricted. But the kind that is closer to reality: traffic jammed and full of building sites. We are heading South towards Austria and since there is not much fun in driving 40 km/h with a 605hp monster I can use the time to recap the interior qualities and weaknesses.
The current generation A6 is getting replaced next year so the interior design is almost 7 years old now but still looks good. The RS6 Performance comes with leather and alcantara RS sports seats, carbon fibre elements along the dashboard, a pop-up navigation screen (which i prefer over the fixed mounted tablet like things manufacturers stick on the dash these days), a 8-speed tiptronic automatic gearbox, RS steering wheel and head-up display.
The seats offer excellent side support but are a bit short for tall people, luckily there are a few other seat options which are also good for the taller drivers among us. Having driven the latest generation Audi TT, A4 / A5 and R8 the center console and dashboard looks a bit old school and some functionalities are not available yet. But everything works well and I even find the infotainment controls a bit more straight forward than in the newer generation MMI. The great thing about the RS6 Avant interior is the sheer space. Both the front and rear have plenty of space for an adult to sit comfortably and on top of that there is a huge rear compartment where you can fit four suitcases easily.
With Audi’s typical Drive Select buttons you can switch between the various car setups from comfort to dynamic. The RS6 Performance comes standard with air suspension which lowers the car 20mm and changes the dampers depending on road conditions and the selected option in drive select. On the autobahn the comfort mode gives the RS6 a really smooth and comfortable ride filtering out most bumps without becoming all wobbly. It is this huge bandwidth between cruising on the highway and super performance on the other side that make the RS6 such an appealing and all round car. It comes with Audi quattro all wheel drive so in bad weather conditions and on snow the RS6 stays in control. The ground clearance is obviously a little smaller than a regular A6 so you have to be a bit more careful navigating speed bumps and snow covered roads.
Our journey seems haunted as the traffic sticks with us all the way through Austria. But then we reach Italy – the holy land when it comes to driving – and all the tourists seem to disappear. A toll station presents itself as the ideal opportunity to see what the acceleration from standstill is like. I quickly flip the drive select thingie to dynamic and shift down to 1st gear with the flappy paddles. I take my ticket and when the barrier opens i hit the throttle. HOLY S**T! I’m thrusted back firmly into my seat as the car rockets away with a raw and very loud V8 sound. Every up-shift is accompanied with what can be best described as the sound of a small but intense elephant fart. When I lift the throttle slightly above the 130 km/h speed limit the exhaust pops and bangs like a Lamborghini would. What a circus!
I’m not the only one enjoying the RS6 Performance in Italy. Several other drivers pull up next to the car to take a closer look and some even give thumbs up. The red exterior makes it look more exotic but the RS6 is received a lot of respect for what it is throughout our trip.
Before we reach our mid way point it gets dark and the last 100 kilometers to the hotel are done in the dark. The matrix LED lights help to light up some of the dark twisty roads but it is a shame they don’t shine into the corner (yet). In the corners the RS6 Performance truly impresses – for such a big heavy car it turns in like a sportscar half the size and half the weight. The brakes hold up excellent as well – they provide quite the stopping power.
Just before parking the car for the night I have a look at the average fuel consumption for the first half of the 1,000 mile trip: 11,7 liter / 100 kilometer. Not bad for a 605 hp, 2-tonnes monster that has enough torque to pull a Boeing 737.
The second half of our journey from Tuscany back to Germany leads us past Florence, Bolzano and over one of my favorite pass roads in Europe: The Timmelsjoch Pass! The first part is mostly highway and despite the car having live traffic, hitting some traffic jams is inevitable. After Bologna we take a small detour to Pagani, check out our Instagram for some photos and videos of our visit to their new factory.
In red the RS6 is quite hard to miss but debadged in black or dark blue the RS6 looks very understated. With the dynamic package it is possible to raise the top speed to a supercar rivalling 305 km/h. The 0-200 km/h sprint takes less than 12 seconds. The entire 1,000 mile journey I have been trying to wrap my head around the question how it is possible a car this big and heavy can be so insanely fast. Somehow Audi must have found a way to beat physics.
Going up the Italian side of the Timmelsjoch pass the sheer size of the RS6 Performance clearly limits the pace up the mountain. Narrow tunnels and blind corners regularly require me to stop and allow oncoming cars and buses pass through. Also in the city it is not always easy to find a parking spot for the RS6 but it is one hell of a road trip car.
Almost back at the German border I decide to drive up one more mountain – just for the sake of it. This road leading up to Seefeld is wide, smooth and full of nice corners and best of all mostly free of traffic. Dynamic is on and as I push my right foot down the beast comes out for the last time. It is truly like fireworks; the sound, the adrenaline, the excitement!
One of my all time favorite cars got even better. The Audi RS6 Performance excels in so many different ways; from a comfortable travel car to a Porsche-killer on the race track. With the additional power and tweaks of the performance model the RS6 has become even more desirable. I want one!