Audi RS 6 and RS 7 performance 4.0 TFSI quattro tiptronicÂ Australian Launch Review.If you thought Audiâ€™s RS models were the most focussed sports cars available from the German luxury brand, think again, because now there are â€˜performanceâ€™ versions of the two ultimate RS cars, the RS 6 Avant and RS 7 Sportback.
Audi RS 6 and RS 7
Naturally, they bring more power and equipment, which of course means more pace and higher prices.
Audiâ€™s RS 6 and RS 7 have always danced to a different beat than their chief German rivals, the hottest A6 wagon offering the practicality of a huge 565-litre boot and the most potent A7 hatch bringing a unique five-door design to the large luxury car market.
The one thing they have in common is epic performance from a monumental 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, which for these new performance variants has now been tweaked to deliver no less than 445kW of power (up from 412kW) and 750Nm of torque in overboost mode â€” up from 700Nm.
That makes them not only the most powerful Audis this side of the new R8 V10 Plus, but also the quickest, with a claimed 0-100km/h figure two-tenths quicker than the models they replace, at 3.7 seconds.
Theyâ€™re genuinely fast, too, with the option of lifting their electronic speed-limiters to no less than 280km/h or even 305km/h. Fitted with the â€˜Dynamic package plusâ€™, the RS 7 we drove effortlessly topped 260km/h on the Phillip Island grand prix circuitâ€™s main straight, and the RS 6 was only slightly slower at the same point before braking, at 255km/h.
Despite their sheer size and weight (both cars measure about five metres long and weigh around 2000kg), itâ€™s hard to argue with Audiâ€™s standing-start performance claims.
No, weâ€™re not sure if theyâ€™re quicker than the standard models, but thatâ€™s because both top-shelf RS cars were already blisteringly quick off the line and delivered enough midrange punch to press you firmly into the lavish Alcantara/Valcona leather-clad RS seats from almost any speed.
The bellowing birturbo V8 in both models spins so quickly to its 6750rpm limiter in the lower gears of the eight-speed tiptronic auto that you need to be ready to flick the upshift paddle well before you get there.
It might not sound quite as glorious â€“ nor rev quite as high â€“ as the naturally aspirated 4.2-litre V8 in the RS 4, but its outright performance and flexibility with almost zero turbo lag is nothing short of epic.
Of course, you canâ€™t defy physics and all that weight and torque makes getting out of lower-speed corners efficiently a waiting game, even with one of the best all-wheel drive systems in the business. But once pointed in the right direction, both the RS 6 and RS 7 slingshot out of bends with addictive brute force.
Donâ€™t go thinking these are lead-tipped arrows, because they steer with surprising alacrity and precision, but retarding the speed of both these big five-door performance cars for any corner on any racetrack requires careful attention.
Indeed, brake fade was evident after a handful of hard laps at Phillip Island, which is notoriously tough on tyres and brakes, but not with ceramic brakes, which are a cool $20,940 option.
They also come as part of the 305km/h Dynamic package plus, which for a substantial $25,840 also includes Dynamic Steering, RS sport suspension plus with 20mm lower ride height and Dynamic Ride Control, which replaces the standard air springs with steel springs and hydraulic diagonally-linked dampers.
For â€˜justâ€™ $4900 thereâ€™s the basic Dynamic package, which comprises all of the above except ceramic brakes and a lower 280km/h speed-limiter.
Tick just a few more options â€“ like red brake callipers ($980), privacy glass ($1200), crystal-effect paint ($1490), powered door closure ($1400), night vision ($4890) and a 1200-Watt, 15-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound ($12,000) â€“ and you can easily spent over $300,000 on either RS model. A new Ascari blue exterior paint colour is also available by special order.
That said, there is a bunch of extra standard equipment for both models â€“ on top of the extra power and torque, which comes at the expense of just 0.1L/100km higher fuel consumption.
For starters, the standard equipment list extends to quattro all-wheel drive with a self-locking crown gear centre differential, quattro sports rear diff, torque vectoring, RS adaptive air suspension and variable damping via the four-mode Audi Drive Select system.
Both performance models also gain 42mm wider wheel-arches wrapped around 21-inch titanium-look alloy wheels with 285/30 tyres (RS 6) or 275/30 tyres (RS 7).
The unique theme continues with a matt-titanium exterior styling package for the grille, front spoiler and air intakes, mirror caps, window surrounds and rear diffuser, which can be had instead in matt-aluminium (no cost), black ($2200) or carbon ($8500).
Also no-cost is the RS design package bringing RS sport seats in Alcantara/leather with honeycomb quilting in blue stitching, blue-stitched leather-clad front armrests, Alcantara door inserts, RS embossing on front seats, Audi exclusive leather covered controls in black with blue stitching and carbon-fibre inlays with blue twill.
Another no-cost option is the Audi exclusive package comprising Alcantara/Valcona leather with marcato blue honeycomb stitching and carbon-fibre blue twill inlays.
This is on top of chunkier bumpers with larger intakes, a revised rear diffuser, gloss-black honeycomb grille, flared side sills, Matrix LED headlights and dynamic turn indicators all round.
Also standard is the switchable RS sports exhaust, digital TV and DAB radio, head-up display (HUD), Audi parking system plus with front, rear and 360-degree view, park assist, glass sunroof (panoramic on RS 6), RS leather-clad three-spoke multifunction flat-bottom steering wheel, powered tailgate with gesture control and Driver Information System.
No, Audiâ€™s new RS range-toppers donâ€™t come cheap at $245,000 for the RS 6 performance and $258,000 for the RS 7 performance. But we reckon a circa $16,000 price premium for all that extra performance and equipment make them fitting new flagships for Audiâ€™s racy RS line-up.
2016 Audi RS 6 Avant and RS 7 Sportback pricing and specifications:
Price: $245,400 and $258,000 (plus on-road costs)
Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Fuel: 9.7 and 9.6L/100km (ADR Combined)
CO2: 226 and 224g/km (ADR Combined)
Safety rating: Five-star (ANCAP)