Audi RS6 Avant and RS6 Performance review - engine and gearbox

Audi’s most powerful, fastest estate car may lack ultimate involvement and dynamics, but it’s still one of the best in its class.

Evo rating
Price
from £79,545
  • Pace, space and impeccable build
  • Not the most involving of drives

Engine and gearbox

The RS6’s engine is a remarkable collection of metals. There’s no shortage of low end shove and as the revs rise and the turbos are at full puff the V8’s inherent strength takes over. There’s no tailing off as the engine speeds increase either, and the linearity of its delivery is addictive.

The technical highlight of the RS6’s V8 is its cylinder on demand (COD) technology. It’s a piece of tech that Audi has rolled out across many of its much smaller capacity engines of late, and works by shutting down the inlet and exhaust valves of cylinder number two, three, five and eight when engine speed drops to a prescribed level. 

By switching to a four-cylinder engine the RS6 can achieve a claimed 28.8mpg on the combined cycle, a figure we matched on a number of long runs in the car; impressive for a near two-tonne car.

>Read our Range Rover Sport SVR review

For the Performance model, Audi has remapped the ECU, raised the engine's rev limit and increased the turbocharger's boost level.

The eight-speed gearbox shifts ratio seamlessly when you want to waft and rapid fire quick when you need it, with every change dropping you into the meat of the V8’s power and torque curve. Acceleration is relentless, with the RS6 a natural three-figure cruiser, its 155mph (or 189mph if you’ve opted to have it delimited) maximum never far away.

As with the engine, the Performance model's gearbox has also been reworked, with the software adapted for quicker shifts and sharper responses over the standard gearbox. 

Most Popular

2022 Honda Civic Type R shown testing on video
Honda Civic Type R
Honda Civic Type-R hatchback

2022 Honda Civic Type R shown testing on video

The Civic Type R has been teased again, this time undergoing development work on-track
14 Jan 2022
Car pictures of the week
McLaren Artura evo studio shoot – nose
McLaren Artura

Car pictures of the week

It’s been delay after delay, so until we finally get a drive in McLaren’s new-generation Artura, here’s the full image set we shot last year
14 Jan 2022
Porsche 911 GT3 Touring 2022 review – pairing the magnificent 992 GT3 experience to a more subtle audience
Porsche 911 GT3 Touring eCoty – front tracking
Porsche 911 GT3

Porsche 911 GT3 Touring 2022 review – pairing the magnificent 992 GT3 experience to a more subtle audience

There are few, if any, more rewarding, engaging or intense experiences for those in pursuit of the thrill of driving
7 Jan 2022