car news

20 years of Audi RS 6: all generations in a row

August 8, 2022

Audi RS 4

In 2002, Audi slid a V8 into the front end of an A6 Avant for the first time. To understand why they did that, we have to go back three more years, to 1999. In that year, the first RS 4 entered the market: the most powerful Avant within the A4 Series. The extra sporty Audi was an instant hit. The leadership of Audi did not think twice and commissioned the development of the RS 6 Avant based on the Audi A6 (generation C5).

Audi RS 6 Avant C5 – First Generation – 2002 through 2004

The RS 6 C5 was produced from 2002 to 2004. Under the hood of the first RS 6 Avant is a 4.2-liter twin-turbo V8, good for 450 hp and 560 Nm. From 0 to 100 km/h took only 4.7 seconds in the RS 6 C5 and its top speed is 250 km/h. In 2004, the 480 hp RS 6 Plus was launched with a top speed of 280 km/h.

Twenty copies per day

The Audi RS 6 Avant were largely manufactured on the regular production line of the Audi A6. The first RS 6 was available as both Avant and Limousine. Specific RS 6 elements such as the sideskirts, the intercooler for the V8, the modified air intake duct and the special rims were assembled by hand at quattro GmbH, now Audi Sport. Initially, twenty copies were produced like this daily.

Audi RS 6 C6 – Second generation – 2008 to 2010

In 2008, perhaps the most iconic RS 6 ever came on the market: the C6 generation. Why iconic? Simple: in this family car, with room for five people and a dog, there was a double-blown 5.0-liter V10 up front. A V10, in a station! The same engine was also in the Audi R8 and Lamborghini Gallardo. This dry-sump lubricated racing engine was good for a whopping 580 hp and 650 Nm. This made the RS 6 the most powerful Audi at the time. The top speed of the C6 was considerably higher than that of the C5 (plus): 303 km/h. A small number of Limousine models of the RS 6 C6 also rolled off the belt at the Audi plant in late 2008.

Audi RS 6 C7 – Third Generation – 2013 through 2018

In the third generation, the V8 returned in the Audi RS 6 Avant. The 4.0-liter V8 twin-turbo was lighter than the V10 and placed further back. This resulted in better weight distribution, which in turn translated into even more dynamic handling, especially in curves. Although the third generation of the Audi RS 6 was slightly less powerful than its predecessor on paper, with 560 hp, it performed significantly better on all fronts. Thanks in part to an eight-speed automatic transmission and launch control, acceleration from 0-100 km/h took only 3.9 seconds, for example. The predecessor with V10 needed 4.4 seconds for this.

Audi RS 6 C8 – Fourth Generation – 2019 to Present

In 2019, the current RS 6 entered the market. With the C8 generation, you can no longer speak of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Compared to the “regular” Audi A6, for example, the wheel arches have been widened by 4 centimeters. Thus, they accommodate the standard 21-inch rims from Audi Sport. It also has large front air intakes and oval exhaust pipes that are another 33% larger than those of its predecessor. It shares its flat matrix LED light units with the RS 7 and, as a result, it needs a specific (proprietary) hood.

600 hp

The current Audi RS 6 Avant is the most powerful ever. Its 4.0-liter V8 biturbo delivers 600 hp and a maximum torque of 800 Nm. Acceleration from 0-100 takes just 3.6 seconds, and the top speed is limited to 250 km/h. Optional 305 km/h is possible. To keep consumption somewhat in check, Audi has equipped the model with mild-hybrid technology with a 48V electrical system and its own battery. The current RS 6 Avant is the first RS 6 Avant also available in the United States.