Audi RS6 Avant and RS6 Performance review - ride and handling
Audi’s most powerful, fastest estate car may lack ultimate involvement and dynamics, but it’s still one of the best in its class.
Ride and Handling
UK market RS6 Avants all come fitted with Audi’s air suspension as standard, but you can also specify sport steel springs with the Sport Suspension Plus package. Audi’s MMI control centre allows you to delve into chassis options available: Comfort, Dynamic or Auto. The former is perfect for journeys that don’t involve any kind of dynamic challenge, the Dynamic setting is perfect for the track (so pretty much redundant in the UK). The MMI also allows you to adjust the steering, engine map, differential and exhaust. Our preference is Auto damping and steering, with the dynamic engine, differential and exhaust.
The ride is remarkably quiet for such a large car with 20-inch wheels and 30 profile tyres. It always feels tightly controlled and keyed into the surface without being fussy over every surface imperfection, but when those ridges and expansion joints get larger the tyres thud and thump their way over them and let you know about it in the cabin.
21-inch wheels are fitted to the Performance model as standard and are the only size available. And even with the optional, stiffer RS suspension fitted the ride isn't adversely affected and it's remarkably compliant considering the 30-profile Pirelli tyre.
Dynamically the RS6 is one to understeer before it does anything else. To avoid the front axle from being overwhelmed you need to moderate throttle and steering inputs in the early phase of the corner, get the nose tucked in than lean on the chassis’ colossal grip to power you out of the corner. There’s good mid-corner balance and when hooked up the RS6 will flow through a series of corners without embarrassing itself.
With the optional RS Sport suspension and limited slip differential fitted, the Performance model improves on the standard car's impressive dynamic performance. The RS Sport suspension is designed to counteract roll and pitch by linking diagonally opposed dampers hydraulically. A central valve varies the dampers' characteristics according to steering inputs and lateral and longitudinal loads, and like the standard air suspension this set up retains Comfort, Dynamic Auto and Individual modes - the latter allowing you to select comfort, auto or dynamic settings for the engine, gearbox, steering, suspension, differential, and exhaust.
The chassis works on smoother sections of road, where the Audi is defined by control, traction, security and predictability, with understeer at the limit. It’s a more one-dimensional device in dynamics terms with out the layers of a complexity of its rivals.
Naturally it covers ground at an alarming rate, but it does so without the sense of engagement and adjustability of rear-drive alternatives. Shot through with stability, it might just be the most effective day-today car in its class.