Skip advert
Advertisement
In-depth reviews

Audi RS6 Performance – ride and handling

Performance upgrades have usefully sharpened up the RS6's chassis, masking some – if not all – of its 2090kg kerb weight

Evo rating

One of the great surprises of the current C8 RS6 is that it has both a very liveable ride quality when its Comfort damping mode is selected, and is agile and involving enough when you ask it to up its game.

Audi has worked very hard with its recent generation of S and RS models in areas that don’t just improve objective measures of performance, but also subjective ones. Stiffer bushings, better matching of suspension to wheel size and weight and the tyre’s performance, along with retuned mapping for the steering all came under scrutiny in the C8’s development and have continued to be evolved since its 2019 launch.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Fitment of rear-wheel steering has helped considerably when it comes to the RS6 Performance’s dynamics. It provides the car with an agility that was previously alien to the Audi when compared against its rivals, but that’s not the case now. 

There are times that, despite being 5mm under five metres long, it feels more compact than its smaller non-Competition RS4 sibling, and it’s a difference amplified when you’re tackling a road normally better suited to smaller and agile cars. Now the RS6 Performance turns in positively, hangs on mid-corner and exits cleanly in a way no car this big or heavy has any right to.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

Is it as involving as an M5 Competition? No, it lacks the detailed feedback and togetherness that it inherently engineered into the BMW M car. And it lacks the purity of an E63 and the polish of the outgoing Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo. But then you remember it’s a two-tonne estate car, and how it drives on its door-handles matters very little to those who buy this type of car. Where the RS6 triumphs is how it is now much, much closer to its rivals, dynamically feeling more hooked up and agile than previous generations of RS6. 

Its steering isn’t what you would call chatty, but there’s a clarity to its response, progression and weighting that makes cornering an intuitive process rather than guesswork of old. Naturally the RS6 Performance can’t mask its mass and under braking and over crests you need to be mindful there’s a lot of weight to control. 

Cars fitted with air springs have more float and less body control, even in their firmer modes, but still plenty of ability. If you’re really serious about cornering your two-tonne monster then you should tick the Dynamic Ride Control box, but for most the air set-up could be an ideal compromise for UK roads.

Where once the RS6 was fast but inert, the Performance is even faster, but also a car that responds faithfully enough that you now feel like a driver rather than an operator. It’s a subtle difference, but for people like us, an important one too.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement

Most Popular

Polestar 3 2024 review – premium electric SUV eyes BMW iX
Polestar 3
Reviews

Polestar 3 2024 review – premium electric SUV eyes BMW iX

Ultra-competitive pricing, a sharp design and strong performance make Polestar’s first SUV a promising new offering
9 Jun 2024
Volkswagen Golf R Mk8.5 prototype review – a return to form or another disappointment?
Volkswagen Golf R prototype – front
Reviews

Volkswagen Golf R Mk8.5 prototype review – a return to form or another disappointment?

The Mk8 Golf R has never really wowed us, but can the Mk8.5 change that? A drive in a prototype version provides some clues
11 Jun 2024
Mazda 787B: the anatomy of a rotary Le Mans icon
Mazda 787B
Features

Mazda 787B: the anatomy of a rotary Le Mans icon

Mazda’s screaming rotary underdog is one of Le Mans’ most iconic winners. Three decades on, there’s still magic in car no. 55
8 Jun 2024