Audi RS6 Performance review – engine, gearbox and technical highlights
Audi's 4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 is front and centre, with a full suite of chassis electronics to maximise it
It’s difficult to imagine requiring more than 621bhp in a five-door estate car weighing 2090kg, but there are plenty who still go searching for more from their RS6 in the aftermarket. As standard, Performance models reach 62mph in 3.4sec with many recording sub-3sec runs, which is frankly absurd and rather terrifying.
From behind the wheel that acceleration figure feels less dramatic than it reads, but with a power to weight of 314bhp/ton it’s on a par on paper with Alfa Romeo’s Giulia Quadrifoglio and Aston Martin’s DBX707, and feels somewhere between the two for get-up-and-shove-you-down-the-road force. Yet it's not the initial burst that impresses, rather the mid-range surge that generates the sense that the RS6 will never stop pulling you closer to the horizon. That it will deliver this kind of performance come rain, snow or sun only adds to the feeling this is more than just a large-hipped A6 Avant.
Its V8 isn’t exactly a modern unit, despite featuring tech such as cylinder deactivation, and there are times when it both feels and sounds a little old school. Not that this is a bad thing, but it lacks the crispness of BMW’s 4.4-litre V8 that powers the excellent M5 and the strength of the outgoing E63's V8.
However, it is well judged for the eight-speed auto. Engine response is slightly delayed by the machinations of the gearbox, which can take a few beats to deliver its power to the wheels off the line and when you ask it to kick down a couple of gears in automatic mode.
Switch to manual, however, and you can make progress nicely, shuffling between traffic and enjoying its mighty torque delivery on the exit of every corner. Shifts are quick enough going up but if your fingers are too trigger happy on the ‘paddles’ on the way down you can find yourself waiting longer than ideal for the desired gear to engage.