2024 Audi RS 6 Performance Pros:
– More power.
– Sharper throttle response.
– More speed.
– The RS 6 is an Avant.
2024 Audi RS 6 Performance Cons:
– No such thing.
– Well, other than the optional Dynamic Ride Control (DRC) being a notch too intense for the RS.
Napa Valley, CA. quattro, with a lower case “q”, is synonymous with all-wheel-drive, performance, and winning. Tales of the then new system’s dominance in motorsports are still shared today, more than 40 years later. Nearly exactly four decades ago, Audi Sport took the reins and brought us cars like the legendary RS 2 Avant and soon thereafter, the S6+. The latter was the genesis of the current ultimate RS car, the RS 6.
It’s no secret – in fact, never has it been more obvious: The Audi RS 6 is Audi Sport’s halo car and the one that best represents what the Audi AG subsidiary is all about. And what it is happens to be ultra-high yet civilized performance. And despite the staggering specifications and capabilities, the RS 6, and RS 7, are exactly that.
Refreshed for 2024, the RS 6 and RS 7 will return in only one trim with a handful of options. The new Performance variant brings with it a series of upgrades that serve to make the cars all the more mouth-watering.
Still as P.H.A.T as ever
Aesthetically, they will be differentiated by matte grey mirror caps, intake side flaps in the lower front bumper extremities, rear diffuser inserts, and the mind-bending ultra-light 22-inch wheels. Wrapping everything up are a few new colours including Ascari blue, Ascari blue matte, and one of my new favorite colours: Dew Silver matte – it’s the silver/white/gold/green on the RS 6.
The interior also receives a few extra touches. The usual gray and red highlights may now optionally be joined by blue accents including on the seats and blue seatbelts. The steering wheel is covered in wonderful Alcantra while the dashboard gains dinamica inlays.
If matte grey exterior touches and dynamica inserts on the inside are not your thing, they can all be optionally replaced by non-glossy carbon fibre. You should. You should also opt for Dew Silver – truly, it’s majestic, rich, and calming all at once. That is, until the car starts up.
More power and more speed
While most will not notice the visual Performance upgrades, all who are privileged enough to be a passenger and, better yet, the driver of an RS 6 or RS 7 will take note of the real reason why the new trim is called Performance.
Back is the is the twin-turbocharged 4.0L V8 but no longer does it produce only 591 hp and 590 lb.-ft of torque. Thanks to larger turbochargers, more boost (from 2.4 to 2.6 bar), the sumptuous V8 now belches out 621 hp and 627 lb.-ft of torque. Modest increases though they may be on paper (or screen), the reality is that with the transmission’s updated software, for faster shifting times, and a noticeably increased differentiation between the various driving modes, the RS 6 and RS 7 are even more explosive. And then, there are the programmable RS 1 and RS 2 modes to suite your ever-changing mood.
Part-throttle application, even in the Comfort drive mode, feels more eager and primed to launch. Dynamic mode is like cocking a gun – gently squeeze the trigger and pray. Using launch control will be the closest thing you’ll ever experience to becoming an astronaut. The extra power and mild weight savings (20 kg thanks to the wheels, 8 kg from reduced insulation, and -34 kg when with RS ceramic brake) also means that the 0-100 km/h time drops to 3.4 seconds from 3.6. To note, the new high-performance Continental “Sport Contact 7” 285/30 tires improve grip is most respects, including stopping distances – Audi thought of everything.
Everything includes the standard dynamic all-wheel steering and air suspension. Both are directly responsible for the RS 6’s (and RS 7) phenomenally refined and rewarding drive. The available DRC however proved to be too unforgiving even for California roads. Despite the dampers being set in Comfort, the roads that took us to the Pacific west of Santa Rosa could not be entirely controlled by the chassis. A quick stint in an air suspension RS 6 afterwards reminded me that unless there’s a clear intention to track the car, there’s no need to spend the extra money.
Most think, and even I tend to forget, that the larger Audi Sport RS vehicles are not designed to crush apexes and set lap times. Although they can, their real raison d’être is to swoon via looks and shock with power. Audi Sport does offer such track-capable vehicles in the final TT RS, the RS 5, but the RS flagship is not one of them. But it will grab your soul and make you sob uncontrollably just by looking at it – maybe it’s just me…
Audi’s electrification plans are set and will bring many new cars and SUVs. In the meantime, though, Audi Sport will launch 10 new RS models between now and 2026, expanding on the current 16 globally available RS vehicles.
Conclusion: Get a twin-turbocharged 621hp Audi RS 6 Avant while you still can. Or an RS 7, whatever floats your boat.