|Audi has refined the RS 6 Avant and RS 7 Sportback to make it even more suitable for everyday use. Thereby integrating incredible performance with outstanding design and practicality in producing two performance vehicles for the discerning customer. The Audi RS 6 Avant is in its fourth generation and continues to mark its iconic status while the Audi RS7 Sportback in its second generation endures a stunning design. Both models will officially retail in South Africa from 1 April 2021.
Innovative: the exterior design
The body style, which is unique in its segment, proves alluring the moment you set eyes on the new Audi RS 6 Avant, even when stationary. The body, which has been widened around 40 millimetres on each side with its broad flared wheel arches, emphasizes the distinctive character of the high-performance Avant. The new Audi RS 7 Sportback sits low to the ground. The extreme width is no optical illusion – at 1,950 millimetres at the front fenders, the performance model is an extra 40 millimetres or so wider than the base model. Its RS-specific exterior design gives the 5,009 millimetre grand tourer a character all of its own.
The characteristic Avant silhouette dominates in the side view of the RS 6 – elongated front section, long, straight roofline and flat D pillars, which rest on the quattro blisters. The RS-specific sills with black inserts visually emphasize on the flanks the pronounced forward thrust. The dynamic rear-end consists of the roof edge spoiler and an RS-specific bumper with rear diffuser and design elements in gloss black. In hallmark RS style, the RS exhaust system flows on both sides into oval chrome-coloured tailpipes – an RS sport exhaust system with black tailpipes is standard.
The side view of the new Audi RS 7 Sportback reveals sharply defined lines and curved surfaces like well-toned muscles. A low shoulder line shifts the visual emphasis downward, while the window line rises toward the rear, giving a sense of dynamism even when the vehicle is stationary. The RS-specific door sills with black inlays accentuate the high-performance Sportback’s distinct impression of forward movement. The rear end’s curved trailing edge and strip of lights linking the main rear lights make it one of the characteristic defining features of the RS 7 Sportback. At a speed of 100 km/h, a spoiler will extend from the tailgate. The RS exhaust system, with a large, chrome-coloured oval tailpipe on each side, sits beneath an RS-specific bumper with a rear diffuser and design elements in gloss black.
V8 power: the drive system
The 4.0 TFSI in the new Audi RS 6 Avant and RS 7 Sportback produces 441 kW and delivers 800 Nm of torque within a broad range from 2,050 to 4,500 rpm. The high-performance models will sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in only 3.6 seconds. The top speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h; this can be increased to 280 km/h with the RS Dynamic package.
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 cylinder on demand (COD) system is another weapon in the vehicle’s armoury when it comes to efficiency. In higher gears at low to medium loads and engine speeds, it will deactivate cylinders 2, 3, 5, and 8 by halting injection and ignition and closing the intake and exhaust valves. In four-cylinder mode, the operating points will switch to the active cylinders at higher loads, thereby improving efficiency, while the deactivated cylinders continue to run like gas springs, largely without any losses. When the driver presses the accelerator pedal, they are reactivated immediately. Each switchover takes mere milliseconds and is virtually undetectable by the driver and passengers.
The four-litre engine produces a full-bodied and sporty V8 sound. The Audi drive select dynamic handling system allows adjustments to the sonorous growl of the power unit. The standard RS sport exhaust system with black tailpipe trim provides an even fuller sound. In the customizable RS1 and RS2 modes, customers can decide for themselves whether they want a sporty or balanced sound.
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. Drive forces are distributed to the front and rear axles in a 40:60 ratio via the purely mechanical centre differential. If one wheel slips, more drive torque automatically goes to the axle with the better traction. Up to 70 percent can flow to the front wheels and up to 85 percent to the back wheels.
The wheel-selective torque control optimizes the agile and confident handling of the new performance models, applying the brakes gently to the wheels on the inside of a bend before they have the chance to slip. 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.
Agility: the suspension
On the new performance models, the front and rear axles use a five-link design to handle the induced longitudinal and transverse forces separately. The linkages and the subframes are made largely of aluminium. The track width is 1,668 millimetres front and 1,650 millimetres rear.
The standard RS adaptive air suspension with controlled damping was tuned specifically for the RS models and can be set to several modes and includes automatic level control. The body of the new RS 6 Avant and RS 7 Sportback is 20 millimetres lower than on the base models with standard suspension; at speeds of 120 km/h and above, it is lowered by another 10 millimetres. A lift mode raises the vehicle by 20 millimetres at low speed. The very wide spread of the RS sport air suspension offers the driver a free choice between long-distance comfort and maximum performance.
The performance models comes standard with the sporty progressive steering with its direct ratio. The system develops significantly higher return forces with increasing steering angle for precise steering feedback. Its newly developed power assist directly connects the driver and road. Optionally with the RS dynamic package, the models comes with dynamic all-wheel steering. It combines dynamic steering at the front axle, which uses an infinitely variable strain wave gearing, with a separate rear axle steering system with a spindle drive and track rods. At low speeds, the rear wheels turn as much as five degrees in the opposite direction relative to the front wheels. This reduces the turning circle by as much as one metre, making the performance models more agile in city traffic and tight curves. At intermediate and high speeds, the rear wheels turn by as much as two degrees in the same direction – promoting stability particularly when changing course quickly.
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 performance models are fitted as standard with RS-specific wheels with a 22-inch 5-V-spoke design with 285/30 tyres in silver, matt titanium look, gloss turned finish, and gloss turned anthracite black finish. The calipers of the RS brake system with internally ventilated and perforated discs (420 millimetres at the front, 370 millimetres at the rear) are painted red as standard. On the optional RS ceramic brakes, the calipers can be blue. The discs measure 440 millimetre at the front and 370 millimetres at the rear. The new RS ceramic brake system tips the scales at 34 kilograms less than its steel counterpart, which cuts down on unsprung mass.
Local pricing and availability
The new Audi RS 6 Avant and RS 7 Sportback will officially go on sale in South Africa from 1 April 2021. 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