More powerful and faster than any RS6 and RS7 to date: the new Audi RS6 Avant performance and the RS7 Sportback performance are bursting with extras that sharpen the models' appearance and make for a more emotive driving experience. The potent 4.0-litre V8 biturbo TFSI engine now has an output of 630PS and a maximum torque of 850Nm.
At Audi, 'performance' means more power. For example, larger turbochargers and an increase in boost pressure from 2.4 to 2.6 bar in the 4.0-litre V8 biturbo TFSI engine that both the Audi RS6 Avant performance and RS7 Sportback performance boast, allow an increase of 30PS in engine power and 50Nm more torque compared to the outgoing versions. This means a total increase in power from 600PS to 630PS and in maximum torque from 800Nm to 850Nm. The performance models sprint from 0-62mph in 3.4 seconds, 0.2 seconds faster than the outgoing RS6 / RS7 base versions.
Yet less is sometimes more: reduced insulation between the engine compartment, the interior, and the rear of the vehicle ensures the performance duo will thrill customers with an exciting, next-level sound experience - the reduction also makes the car eight kilograms lighter. The Audi RS6 Avant performance has a total unladen weight of 2,090kg whilst the RS7 Sportback performance weighs 2,065 kg.
Performance as standard in the UK
The RS6 Avant performance and RS7 Sportback performance now become the standard offering in their respective model lines in the UK, replacing the current base versions.
As a result, there has been an uplift in the level of standard equipment across the range over the current offering. The entry performance models now benefit from a Bang & Olufsen Premium Sound System with 3D sound, Park Assist Pack with park assist plus, Head-up Display, 360-degree cameras and 22-inch wheels in matt grey. Visually, the exterior style package in matt grey is also now standard, while the RS sport exhaust comes finished in gloss black, along with the Audi rings and badges. The RS design package in either red, blue or grey is now standard along with an Alcantara flat bottom steering wheel. Top speed limit increases to 174mph.
Stepping up to performance Carbon Black brings 22-inch wheels in matt black, high-performance Continental Sport Contact 7 285/30 tyres, matt carbon styling and mirror housing, and Dinamica headlining. Carbon Vorsprung models now benefit from Night Vision assistant and carbon twill inlays on top of the already generous specification.
Exclusive and high-performance: 22-inch wheels with high-performance tires
The new Audi RS6 Avant performance and RS7 Sportback performance roll off the line on standard 22-inch, matt grey alloy wheels with 285/30 R22 section tyres. Performance Carbon Black and performance Carbon Vorsprung editions come as standard with 22-inch lightweight wheels finished in matt black. Inspired by motorsport, the airy 5-Y spoke design aids brake cooling and the lighter rims are manufactured in a high-tech forging-milling process. The new lightweight wheel is around five kilograms lighter than the 22-inch aluminium wheel on the current RS6 Avant or RS7 Sportback - this 20kg weight reduction in unsprung masses improves the throttle response.
New high-performance Continental "Sport Contact 7" 285/30 tyres, which are part of the new lightweight wheel, play a key role in reducing weight. The tyres offer consistently better grip on both dry and wet roads and reduce understeering when cornering at speed, making for overall more precise handling across the entire speed range. Additionally, the braking distance is up to two meters shorter with the new wheels when braking from 62-0mph.
The Audi drive select dynamic handling system lets the driver control the vehicle's character. Six profiles are available: efficiency, comfort, auto, dynamic, as well as two customizable RS-specific RS1 and RS2 modes.
But experience of the driving modes in the performance models is much more unique. For example, the coasting mode now only activates automatically in the efficiency profile, which means in speed ranges up to 99mph, it switches off the combustion engine and coasts with no fuel consumption or drag torque from the engine. Additionally, fine-tuning to the engine control unit software makes for tighter load changes in S mode when the "dynamic" drive select mode or driving mode S is active. The updated software in the transmission control unit makes for faster shifting times and a noticeably increased spread between the various driving modes.
RS Dynamic Package as standard
The RS Dynamic Package is standard equipment in the new performance models. This includes the increase in maximum speed to 174mph, dynamic all-wheel steering (the RS-specific software update helps the driver with active steering corrections on the front and rear axles), and the quattro sport differential on the rear axle.
The RS Dynamics Package plus is also available as an option, which in addition to the RS Dynamics Package, raises the top speed to 189mph and includes an RS ceramic brake system. Customers can order the calipers in grey, red, or blue and discs measure 440 mm (front) and 370 mm (rear). The RS ceramic brake system weighs a total of approx. 34kg less than its steel counterpart for a reduction of the unsprung masses. This package will be offered at a later date for UK customers.
Fresh exterior colors and optics packages
The new RS6 Avant performance and RS7 Sportback performance are available in a total of 16 exterior colours - for the first time, metallic and matt Ascari Blue and matt Dew Silver are included. The performance models stand out with standard RS exterior components in matt grey, including the exterior mirrors, the front spoiler, the front side flaps, the side sill inserts, the roof rails, and the trim on the side windows and rear diffuser. A matt carbon/black finish is standard on Carbon Black specification and above, in which the roof rails and trim on the side windows are black.
Out of the blue: new interior accents and features
In the interior, the familiar RS design packages in grey and red have been expanded to include the colour blue. The steering wheel rim in Alcantra black features contrasting stitching in Mercato blue, whilst the floor mats, the side of the centre console, and the selector lever cuff also come with blue contrasting stitching. The seat belts are full-surface ocean blue with decorative inlays in a carbon twill structure with optional blue accents. The selector lever knob and the side of the centre console are made with Dinamica microfiber, which consists of around 45 percent recycled PET fibres and the sports seats feature high-quality Valcona leather upholstery perforated with honeycomb stitching with contrasting stitching in Mercato blue. Another distinguishing feature is an entrance LED in the front doors that projects the lettering "RS performance" onto the ground next to the car.
On Carbon Black specification and above, customers benefit from RS design packages in the three available colour variants with optional additional features: door armrests and a centre armrest in Dinamica microfiber. An added benefit of this equipment variant is the seat centre panel with a grey, red, or blue inlay, whilst the customer's chosen colour shows through the perforated sports seats and the seat backs feature RS embossing in matching colours.
The displays of the standard 12.3-inch Audi virtual cockpit plus offer new features including a blinking shift indicator in manual transmission mode which changes the rpm display from green to yellow to red, blinking in a manner identical to that used in motorsport, to indicate the optimal time to change gears. Plus, Launch Control, fully exploits the acceleration potential of the RS6 Avant performance and the RS7 Sportback performance by signalling the ideal moment to accelerate off the line, with new traffic light icons.
Performance by tradition: from the RS6 Avant plus to today
The RS6 Avant performance and RS7 Sportback performance in the C8 generation continue Audi's long-standing sport strategy of plus and performance models. It all began with the RS6 Avant Plus in the C5 generation, shortly before the series was discontinued in 2004, quattro GmbH (now Audi Sport GmbH) launched a special limited series of 999 units with a subtle upgrade in power. The engine power climbed by 30PS to 480PS and the model bore the distinction of being the first Audi to officially go faster than 155mph fastest sport wagon. Without the engine control unit, it reached a top speed of more than 186mph.
The plus variant in the C6 generation hit the market in 2008 and was limited to 500 units. Unlike its predecessor, it did not feature any additional power; the V10 kept its 580PS. But Audi limited the top speed of the special Avant and Sedan to 188mph; the only faster vehicle at the time was the R8.
In the C7 generation, "plus" became "performance" - the Audi RS6 Avant and RS7 Sportback performance rolled off the line in 2016, with a slightly tweaked engine, the power rose to 605PS, 45PS more than in the base model. The overboost function increased briefly to 750Nm in "dynamic" driving mode and depending on equipment, the speed was limited at 155, 174 or 189mph.