A couple of years ago on my Ride& Drive radio show on YFM, I teased a client that drove an Audi RS 6 Avant for being into old fashioned station wagons. He took me for a drive, and I came back a converted man to the four rings performance brand. Wow, that car could shift, and I had the privilege to experience the latest offering of the Audi RS 6 Avant and RS 7 Sportback recently.
Granted, we were driven by professional drivers, on a rooftop in Sandton, but they gave it horns, and added to that was that they did not run out of talent, everything was pin point. Would have liked a longer drive, but it was great all the same.
In a land that loves raised SUV’s the Avant is a car that can serve two purposes, it gives you the spce for getaway’s, and gets you there pretty rapidly as well. The Avant is now in it’s fourth generation, and the R7 Sportback slides into it’s second generation.
Quick look at the exterior. Both are longer & wider, as well as low to the ground, as to accentuate the sporty nature of the models. RS regalia abounds in the Avant with the dual exhaust in black, and the RS sills, and the rear end with roof spoiler and RS specific bumper & diffuser.
The RS 7 is muscular with many toned edges. At a speed of 100km/h , a spoiler will extend from the tailgate. The exhaust system with a large chrome oval tailpipe, sits on each side , and it also has an RS specific bumper & rear diffuser.
Let’s get to the crux of the matter, they both have a 4.0 L V8 engine that has a throaty roar. Pumping 441 kw & 800Nm of torque, these babies can shift. Reaching 0 to 100km/h in 3.6 secs, it’s very rapid indeed.
Thanks to its mild hybrid system (MHEV) with a 48-volt main on-board electrical system, the 4.0 TFSI combines maximum performance with high efficiency. The belt alternator starter can recover up to 12 kW power under gentle acceleration and feed it into a lithium-ion battery as electricity. If the driver releases the accelerator at a speed between 55 and 160 km/, the drive management will select one of two options. Depending on the driving situation and the settings in Audi drive select, the vehicle will either recover energy or coast with the engine switched off. When the driver steps on the accelerator, the belt alternator starter will start the engine again. MHEV technology allows for start-stop mode at speeds below 22 km/h. As soon as the vehicle in front of the performance model starts moving, the engine will spring back to life—even if the brakes are applied. With the MHEV-technology it is possible to reduce fuel consumption by as much as 0.8 litres per 100 kilometres.
The power produced by the 4.0 TFSI flows via the standard eight-speed tiptronic transmission with optimized shift times and a new launch control function to the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system.
The quattro sport differential, available with the optional Dynamic and Dynamic package, shifts the torque between the rear wheels as needed during sporty cornering, thereby improving traction, stability, and dynamics.
The driver can change the character of their RS 6 Avant and RS 7 Sportback using the Audi drive select dynamic handling system. Six profiles are available: comfort, auto, dynamic, efficiency, and the individually configurable RS-specific RS1 and RS2 modes, which can be activated directly using the “RS MODE” steering wheel button. This automatically opens the RS-specific displays in the Audi virtual cockpit. The Audi drive select dynamic handling system influences the engine and transmission management, the power steering, the suspension, the dynamic all-wheel steering, the quattro sport differential, the engine sound and the characteristics of the automatic air conditioning. The RS2 mode exists specifically to influence the Electronic Stabilization Control (ESC) directly at the push of a button.
The special RS displays use the Audi virtual cockpit to provide details of tyre pressure, torque, performance, oil temperature, boost pressure, lap times, acceleration, and g-forces. The shift light display prompts the driver to upshift when the rev limit is reached.
It has an RS leather steering wheel that has all controls close to hand. RS sport seats upholstered with Valcona leather, featuring a honeycomb pattern and RS embossing are fitted as standard. The RS design package brings a splash of colour, with contrasting red stitching on the Alcantara steering wheel rim, gear lever gaiter and knee pads. The package also features seat belt straps with red edging and RS floor mats.
The new RS 6 Avant is even roomier inside. The luggage compartment has a capacity of between 565 and 1,680 litres. A power tailgate and luggage compartment cover are standard. In combination with the standard comfort key, the sensor control allows the tailgate to be opened with a foot gesture. The optional swivelling trailer towing hitch features an electric release function.
The new RS 7 Sportback offers an array of extra functions not seen in the predecessor model. For the first time, Audi is offering the five-door grand tourer with a three-seater rear bench. The luggage compartment offers a base capacity of 535 litres, which can be increased to as much as 1,390 litres with the split rear seatbacks folded down. The long tailgate opens and closes electrically as standard.
For the new performance models, Audi offers an extensive range of convenience, connectivity, and driver assistance equipment. The cars will help the driver out in a wide range of situations. With an array of assistance systems available which include lane change assist; park assist package (360-degree camera, intelligent park assist); tour assistance package (adaptive cruise control and assist); and Audi pre sense rear package.
The RS models are priced as follows (inclusive of all taxes) and comes standard with a five year Audi Freeway Plan:
Audi RS 6 Avant TFSI quattro R 2,070,000
Audi RS 7 Sportback TFSI quattro R 2,173,500