Audi RS6

Find out more about the Audi RS6 in the latest Motors.co.uk Review

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4
Out of 5

Pros

  • Incredible performance
  • Huge practicality
  • Luxurious interior

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Costly to run
  • Slightly lacks in driving involvement
  • MPG

    0 - 0

  • CO2

    0 - 0 g/km

Model Review

The RS6 is now in its third generation, now in the C7 after the C5 and C6. All RS6s have been, unsurprisingly, based on the standard A6 estate, although with the power and looks turned up a few notches.

The first RS6 had a small life-time, with production beginning in July 2002 and ending in September 2004. It featured a 4.2-litre V8 and came as both a saloon and estate.

In 2008 came the second generation of the RS6, which was perhaps the most brutal out of all the RS6s. It was originally launched at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2007 before production started in April the following year. It packed a 5.0-litre V10 from the Lamborghini Gallardo, giving you an idea of just what a beast it was. While it did come in saloon form, these are rare, with just a 1,500 out of the overall 8,000 made as saloons.

In November 2012, Audi announced it was going to do a third-generation RS6, with deliveries starting at the very end of 2013. The C7 generation only comes in estate form – with the saloon being discontinued, in some ways being replaced by the Audi RS7 Sportback. This model returned back to V8 power, helping to shave weight and get the 0-60mph time down to just 3.7 seconds.

Towards the end of 2015, Audi announced it would make an even more powerful RS6 Performance version.

Latest Model

The latest model to come from the RS6 is the RS6 Performance. Packing 597bhp, 44bhp more than the standard model, it is even more fierce than the standard model.

Value for money

This is definitely where the RS6 struggles, as it is not a cheap car by any stretch of the imagination, even if you try and justify it as a family car.

The RS6 is pricey, starting at £81,430 for the standard car and £88,345 for the Performance model. While it does come laden with standard equipment such as 20-inch wheels, Audi Drive Select which changes the dynamics of the car, an electric tailgate, carbon interior inlays and a Bose sound system, it is still expensive. Being an Audi, the options are very expensive – for example, if you want it painted in a matte shade, it’s £5,675.

However, the RS6 does make a lot more sense on the used market. For the latest generation car, used prices now start at under £50,000 which represents superb value for money, considering the performance and equipment you get. It makes even more sense, providing you can afford it, to go for a one-year old example, as you can shave nearly £18,000 off the price by having a lightly used vehicle. We saw a 2016(66) car for sale for just under £64,000 with only 8,000 miles, which does represent superb value considering the cost saving from new.

Looks and image

While the RS6 is not as good as an R8 to drive, you don’t really expect that because of its size – it is a large estate car after all.

However, the way the RS6 handles is something you can’t help but admire. It has a much improved balance over the previous generation version, helped by the smaller V8 engine, and the active diffs come into their own. The straight-line performance is outrageous too, with a 0-60mph time of just 3.7 second on the standard RS6, or 3.5 seconds if you go for the RS6 Performance.

However, what is also remarkable about the RS6 is just how easily it can settle down, too. If you want it to be a performance car, it will happily be one, but it can also be a great motorway cruiser, albeit an expensive one. It also feels just as comfortable as the standard A6 Avant, as there is hardly any wind noise at speed and the air suspension absorbs bumps superbly, providing you keep it in its most comfortable setting.

The quality of the RS6 is superb, too. Unlike other cars that cost nearly £90,000, the RS6 feels worthy of that price inside. The interior is well-made, simple to use and is packed full of high quality materials. While you may sit low in the seats, they are supportive and very comfortable, in both Alcantara or leather trim.

Space and Practicality

Unlike other cars which pack over 500bhp, the RS6 is one that is extremely useable.

It is barely any less spacious than the standard A6 Avant is and has a 565 litre boot that is well shaped and can handle huge loads. With the seats folded this increases to an equally impressive 1,680 litres – although this is slightly down on the Mercedes-AMG E63 Estate that has 1,820 litres of boot space with the rear seats folded. The electric tailgate also adds to the easy accessibility of the RS6. It can also seat five people at a push, although you could easily use it every day as your family car, just as many RS6 owners do. It comes with Isofix mountings, too. Your running costs would be exceptionally high if you did this, however.

While the RS6 has never been officially tested by EuroNCAP, when the standard A6 was tested back in 2011, it received the full five stars. It comes with six airbags as standard, along with numerous driver aids. On the Performance model you even get a rest recommendation system, that analyses your driver behaviour.

Engines

The RS6 is only offered with one engine, a 4.0-litre V8, that comes with Quattro all-wheel-drive. The standard RS6 comes with 553bhp, while the tuned RS6 Performance version has even more power – 597bhp to be precise. Both variants come with an eight-speed tiptronic.

Running Costs

Put simply, if you were to use the RS6 daily, you would need stupidly deep pockets. Not only does the RS6 sit in the highest insurance grouping (50), its fuel economy is less than impressive.

While Audi claims the RS6 will manage 29.4mpg on the combined cycle, you are far more likely to get a figure of between 15-20mpg, or even worse if you are driving it hard. While it does feature cylinder-deactivation technology, it achieves little in the grand scheme of things. Its emissions are also high, too, producing 223g/km of CO2.

Vehicle tax will also be hefty, not helped by its ultra-high emissions and the fact it costs over the £40,000 threshold.

Things to look out for

There are a few common problems that you really need to be aware of with the RS6. Firstly, the 21-inch alloy wheels are known to buckle under the heavy weight of the car, which can be costly to repair. Also, the brakes are known to warp and the coolant hose does have the possibility of splitting on facelifted cars. As more of an advisory, the RS6 is prone to getting through tyres very quickly, and are expensive to replace due to their size, so check the condition of the tyres thoroughly if you are buying a used example.

Rivals

There really are few rivals for the RS6. For new cars, there are a handful of performance estate rivals – the Mercedes-AMG E63 S Estate and the new Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo. If you are looking at older cars, rivals include the BMW M5 Touring or Jaguar XFR Sportbrake. There is also the option of sports SUVs, such as the Mercedes GLE63 AMG, Audi SQ7 and BMW X5M.

Depreciation

There are two sides to depreciation, and the RS6 sums both up brilliantly. If you after a used example, the RS6 is a great buy as current generation cars, even with low mileages, cost under £50,000. However, if you are buying a new RS6 you need to be careful as it plummets in value, particularly in the first year. Options are also expensive for the RS6 and make little difference to its value on the used market, so choose options carefully is what we advise.

Trims Explained

Just two versions of the RS6 are available – the standard RS6 and the Performance version

Standard RS6

The standard RS6 comes with 20-inch alloy wheels, Audi Drive Select which can adjust the handling of the car, RS adaptive air suspension, Audi Matrix LED headlights, dark tinted LED rear lights, an electric tailgate, RS bodykit, heated and electric leather seat, a Bose sound system and carbon inlays on the interior.

The standard RS6 starts at £81,430.

RS6 performance version

The Performance model is mainly all about the 44bhp extra compared to the standard model, but it also comes with 21-inch alloy wheels, sports seats a leather and Alcantara interior and a rest recommendation system that analyses driver behaviour.

The Performance costs from £88,345.

Summary

  1. Incredible performance
  2. Spacious
  3. Expensive to run
  4. Superb interior
  5. Excellent equipment levels
  6. Poor fuel economy
  7. Great handling
  8. Genuinely could be used as a family car
  9. Superb all-rounder...
  10. ...Minus the fuel costs

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