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. 

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

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

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

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. 

Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/bmw/m4/22869/new-2020-bmw-m4-throws-off-more-disguise-ahead-of-reveal
BMW M4

New 2020 BMW M4 throws off more disguise ahead of reveal

BMW’s next M4 coupe promises much, but will it deliver? Here’s everything we know so far
7 Aug 2020
Visit/bugatti/21646/new-bugatti-divo-deliveries-begin-ps44m-hypercar-hits-the-road
Bugatti

New Bugatti Divo deliveries begin - £4.4m hypercar hits the road

The very first examples of Bugatti’s Divo hypercar have rolled out of its Molsheim HQ gates
7 Aug 2020
Visit/best-cars/15315/best-cars-to-buy-for-ps20000-evo-garage
Best cars

Best cars to buy for £20,000 – evo garage

The evo team pick their favourite used performance cars
4 Aug 2020
Visit/ferrari/202965/ferrari-f40-vs-288-gto-turbocharged-icons-go-head-to-head
Ferrari

Ferrari F40 vs 288 GTO - turbocharged icons go head-to-head

Today's turbocharged Ferraris deliver a smooth hit; the 288 GTO and F40 thrilled with a much wilder ride 
5 Aug 2020