Audi RS6 Avant (2019-2023) review – a monstrous all-rounder
The C8-generation RS6 covers all bases; it's practical, comfortable, fast, and fun
If there was a default choice when faced with the need for a practical car in a ‘dream garage’, it might just be the Audi RS6 Avant. Now in its fourth iteration, Audi has taken everything that made previous RS6s brilliant and just improved upon it, while adding a dose of driver interaction that its predecessors lacked.
Things have only gotten better with this latest model, with the new RS6 Performance having replaced the base car with more power, more focus and a touch less weight. But even the base car exhibited a feeling of impenetrability, huge performance and long-distance refinement until it went off sale in 2023.
Drive quickly down a twisting road and the car’s agility, responsiveness and adjustability are all qualities that we’ve only really seen from Audi Sport with cars such as the R8. The RS6 is technologically advanced, but not simply for the sake of it.
There is the thorny issue of price, as the basic car crept up beyond £100,000 by the end of its life. And despite good cruising economy, the RS6 is still likely to be quite expensive to run too, for something that will probably serve as a family vehicle for many owners. But that shouldn’t take away from the car’s undoubted talents – this wagon is both fast and fun.
Audi RS6 Avant: in detail
- Engine, gearbox and technical specs – Big power from a twin-turbo V8, all-wheel-drive traction, and fancy rear-wheel steering.
- Performance and 0-60 time – Mighty off the line, but the V8’s so refined it doesn’t feel quite as quick as you’re actually going.
- Ride and handling – The first RS6 to deliver genuine driver engagement rather than just massive straight-line pace.
- MPG and running costs – Official economy in the low 20s, but capable of 30mpg on a cruise.
- Interior and tech – Cabin is slightly dour but well made, and screen set-up feels high-tech. Some will be put off by the touchscreens though.
- Design – Long, low and wide, and much more aggressive than previous RS6s. Looks like a grown-up Hot Wheels toy from some angles.
Prices, specs and rivals
You should probably be sitting down for this, because the basic, option-free RS6 Avant was priced at £100,750 (the Performance model is even dearer at £112,045). Of course, you’re getting a lot of car for the money – very literally, at over two tons – but the RS6 is well-stocked in terms of equipment, too. Standard kit includes 21-inch wheels, matrix LED headlights with laser technology, a pair of MMI Touch screens, leather sports seats, and in the UK market, standard rear-wheel steering and a sport rear differential.
Long term tests
The Carbon Black upgrades the wheels to 22-inchers, and adds a styling package consisting of carbonfibre trim for the front spoiler, skirts and diffuser insert, with a gloss black Audi badge and black window trim. The Vorsprung also gets 22-inch alloy wheels, RS sports suspension plus with Dynamic Ride Control, a top speed bump to 174mph, gloss black styling elements and a panoramic glass sunroof.
Audi’s standard colour palette is little to shout about, but paying £3000 unlocked access to Audi Exclusive paintwork options, which brighten things up considerably. Wheels of the 22-inch variety were a £2000 option on the basic car, and a host of other options were available on top of that, from a £1450 sports exhaust to £1300 for the DRC suspension.
The most obvious rival for the RS6 Avant was the Mercedes-AMG’s E63 S Estate. Similarly potent and similarly priced but with quite a different feel – more organic, more rowdy, but less capable – the fast AMG is as much a reassuring constant in this class as the Audi.
Porsche’s Panamera Sport Turismo was another contender, with the Turbo S being the closest in terms of outright performance, but the GTS being both sweeter to drive and more on-par in terms of price – even if it gives up over 100bhp to the Audi. Our most recent comparison between the RS6 and Panamera (and the E63 S) used a Turbo S E-Hybrid which also sails above the £140k mark and struggled with its weight, so we’d certainly be tempted to keep it a little simpler – the basic Panamera package drives well and looks great these days too.