Audi RS6 quattro Avant 2008 Review


The Olympics are on as I write this article. China is in the lead in the medals table (most likely because their lungs are used to Beijing’s air quality). To get to the Olympics you have to be faster, stronger, more focused. It takes dedication, flexibility, a competitive spirit, and the willingness to get up in the morning a good two hours before most of us have finished dreaming about relaxing by the pool with a burger and milkshake.

Could the Audi RS6 qualify for the Olympics? No. It’s a station wagon on steroids; a sports car with a paunch. It’s lost the lithe athleticism that’s required due to an abundance of accoutrements such as an automatically closing tailgate, in-dash TV, and a set of deep, leather-clad, electrically adjustable bucket seats that clasp your torso like fat kid grips a hotdog.

The RS6 is like a prop forward in the 100m dash — comparatively speaking, it’s quick, but it’s never going to beat the true 100m runners. And when it wants to stop, there’s a much larger amount of muscle to decelerate.

But is that a bad thing? Short of airfreight, the Audi RS6 has to be the quickest way to move large boxes and a family around. It’s a supercar you can take on holiday without even having to deflate the beach ball.

Motive power is supplied by a 5.0-litre twin-turbo V10 (derived from the Lamborghini Gallardo’s engine) that bulges out of the engine bay like a weightlifter in a leotard. The stance at the front is all muscle, but it’s not just the front wheels that pull the car along. The quattro system (with electronic stability control and electronic diff lock) keeps the 580bhp and 650Nm in deep communication with the ground via a slick-shifting automatic six-speed dual clutch gearbox, which can also be controlled using paddles behind the steering wheel.

That combination equates to an almost Playstation-esque driving experience. Simply floor the throttle and marvel at how the scenery becomes distorted without you really even realising you’re gathering pace at a rapid rate of knots. Such is the aplomb with which the RS6 insulates you from its potential rawness, that it doesn’t seem anything like 4.6 seconds to 100kph.

Being a station wagon (with a practical 1660 litres of boot space), Audi has included useful movable load anchors, and a cargo net that extends from the top of the rear seats up to the ceiling — good protection against moving loads under braking, especially when you consider the Audi’s cross-drilled discs which are the size of table saws.

The four 20-inch wheels come wrapped in 275/35R20 Rubber — the bulky Audi needs those large contact patches. The suspension can be set to comfortable, dynamic or out-and-out rock solid sporty for rapid motoring.

Driven in a more lethargic manner, the RS6 performs excellently. There’s very little engine noise, the handling manners are perfect, and the Bose Surround stereo is exceptional. Parking is easy too with sensors front and back, and a reversing camera with direction visualisation (lines that change angle when you turn so that you can see where you’ll end up) and parallel park assist.

The large screen also serves as the hub for the entertainment system and satellite navigation. DVDs can be played via the screen while the car is stationary (as per watching the TV), and there’s a 6-CD stacker which is MP3 compatible. The satellite navigation is Audi’s usual option with the almost alluring female voice encouraging you to ‘please turn left in 100m.’ A jog wheel and two buttons facilitate data entry into the unit.

The RS6 left me feeling a bit like watching the opening ceremony at the Olympics. I was wowed, awe-struck, but then I realised there was a lot of electronic trickery, and somehow it felt kind of empty. It’s mercilessly quick, and contains almost every electronic option you’d need (except, surprisingly, tri- or quad-zone air conditioning), but when you buy one, you have to understand that for $251,000 you’re buying performance that is effortless; an inconspicuous super-tourer with which to bludgeon away the kilometres, but not necessarily one you’ll drive just for the hell of it. Now, where’s my beach ball.

Click through to the next page to read the full specifications of the Audi RS6

Price: from $251,000. Our test model had the optional load retaining kit ($400)

What we like

  • It has almost everything┬Ž

What we don’t like

  • Except soul
Audi RS 6 Avant
Engine / electrics
Engine type

Aluminium ten-cylinder V90┬░ spark-ignition engine with FSI petrol direct injection, twin turbochargers, regulated high-pressure and low-pressure fuel system

Valve gear / number of valves per cylinder

DOHC cylinder head, roller cam followers with hydraulic valve-play compensation, continuous camshaft adjustment for the intake and exhaust valves, maintenance-free timing assembly via chain / 4V

Displacement in cc / bore x stroke in mm / compression

4991 / 84.5 x 89.0 / 10.5 : 1

Maximum power output in kW / at rpm

426 / 6250-6700

Maximum torque in Nm / at rpm

650 / 1500-6250

Engine management / mixture preparation

Fully electronic engine management, single-rod ignition coils, 2 control units as ‘master-slave’ concept, drive-by-wire throttle control, sequential petrol direct injection, cylinder-selective knock control, adaptive lambda control (per cylinder bank), mapped ignition with solid-state high-voltage distribution, comfort and quick-start system / secondary air system, Bosch ME9.1.2

Exhaust emission control

Single-pipe manifold with 4 integrated close-coupled main catalytic converters, each with pre-catalyst and post-catalyst probe

Emissions rating

Euro 4

Alternator in A / battery in A/Ah

190 / 520 / 110

Drive / transmission
Drivetrain type

quattro permanent four-wheel drive with self-locking centre differential with asymmetric/dynamic distribution of torque
electronic stabilisation program ESP, ASR traction control,
electronic differential lock EDL


Hydraulic torque converter with lock-up clutch

Gearbox type 6-speed tiptronic with DSP (Dynamic Shift Program) and Sport program
Gear ratio in 1st gear / 2nd gear

4.171 / 2.340

Gear ratio in 3rd gear / 4th gear

1.521 / 1.143

Gear ratio in 5th gear / 6th gear

0.867 / 0.691

Reverse gear / final drive ratio

3.403 / 3.317

Running gear / steering / brakes
Front suspension

Independent four-link front suspension with virtual steering axis, anti-roll bar, spring/damper unit

Rear suspension

Independent-wheel, trapezoidal-link rear suspension, anti-roll bar

Steering / steering ratio / turning circle in m

Maintenance-free rack-and-pinion steering with speed-dependent power assistance (servotronic) 12.5 / 12.2

Brake system, front/rear

Dual-circuit brake system with diagonal split, anti-lock brake system ABS, brake servo, electronic brake-force distribution EBD and ESP, ventilated brake discs at front and rear, front: six-piston high-performance brakes

Wheels / tyres

9J x 19 alloy wheels in 10-spoke design / 255/40 R19

Performance / consumption / acoustics
Top speed in km/h

250 (governed)

Acceleration 0-100 / 0-200 km/h in seconds

4.6 / 14.9

Fuel type

Unleaded Super, 95 RON (91 RON with slight reduction in performance)

Fuel consumption: urban / extra urban / overall, l/100 km

20.4 / 10.3 / 14.0

CO2 mass emission, g/km


Standing / drive-past exterior noise level in dB (A)


Servicing / guarantee (New Zealand)
Oil Change

15,000kms or 12 months

Audi Cover/ Vehicle/ Paint/ Rust Perforation Warranty 3 years/ 3 years with unlimited mileage/ 3 years/ 12 years
Weights / loads
Unladen weight in kg / gross weight limit in kg

2025 / 2655

Axle load limit at front / rear in kg

1410 / 1380

Roof load limit in kg


Cooling system capacity (incl. heating) in litres


Engine oil capacity (incl. filter) in litres


Fuel tank capacity in litres


Body / dimensions
Body type

Unitary steel body, galvanised, aluminium wings and bonnet

Number of doors / seats

4 doors / 5 seats

Drag coefficient Cd / frontal area A in m2

0.35 / 2.36

Length / width excl. mirrors/ height, mm

4928 / 1889 / 1460

Wheelbase / track at front/rear, mm

2846 / 1614 / 1637

Height of loading lip in mm


Luggage capacity in l, acc. to VDA block method

565 – 1660 (loaded up to roof with rear seat folded down)


1. Car’s unladen weight excluding driver. Optional extras may increase its unladen weight and aerodynamic drag coefficient, in which case the payload limit and top speed will be correspondingly lower.

2. Measured by the VDA test method using 200 x 100 x 50 mm blocks. Second value for Avant: rear seat back folded and loaded up to roof.

3. If not available, Super unleaded (95 RON) can be used; power output will be slightly reduced. Performance and consumption data were taken with SuperPlus unleaded (98 RON).

4. Depending on driving style, road and traffic conditions, environmental influences and the car’s condition and equipment, the fuel consumption obtained in practice may differ from these standard test values.
5.0 V10 FSI quattro Avant
Cubic Capacity: 4,991
KiloWatts/Bhp: 426 / 580
Torque (Nm/rpm): 650 / 1,500 – 6,250
Cylinders / Valves Per Cylinder: 10/4
Fuel Injection System: FSI
Drive Train: quattro
Transmission – Tiptronic With DSP & Sport Program: 6 speed
Servotronic Steering Assistance
Suspension: Dynamic Ride Control, Three Stage Variable Suspension
Acceleration 0-100 km/h (secs): 4.6
Top Speed (km/h): 250
Fuel consumption combined in l/100 km (CO2 emission): 14.0 (333)
Audi Cover Assistance – 3 Year Cost Free Motoring
Galvanised Body – 12 Year Anti-Corrosion Warranty

Safety and Security

ABS with EBD (Electronic Brake Pressure Distribution) and Electronic Brake Assist
ASR Traction Control System, with EDL – Electronic Diff Lock and ESP
Front Passenger Airbag Key Deactivation
ISOFIX Child Seat Anchorages Front & Rear
Active Front Head Restraints
Driver & Passenger Airbags, Side Airbags Front And Rear, and Sideguard Head Airbag System
Head Restraints Front & Rear
5 Auto-Retract 3-Point Seatbelts
Tyre Pressure Monitoring System


Alloy Wheels (quattro GMBH desgn): 20″ 5 Spoke Design
Tyres: 275 /35
Aluminium- Look Housing for Exterior Mirrors
Auto Headlight Activation with Rain Sensor, Coming-Home and Daytime Driving Mode
Automatic Dimming Exterior Mirrors – Electric & Heated with Memory function
Automatic tailgate operation (electric open and close)
Black painted brake callipers with RS6 emblem
Bi- Xenon Plus with Adaptive Light
Tyre Mobility System
Headlight Washers
Rear Fog Lights


Air Conditioning with Sun Sensor & Humidity Sensor
AMI Audi Music Interface For Connection With MP3 & ipod Devices. Operated Via MMI & Multifunction Steering Wheel
Auto Dimming Interior Mirrors
Carbon Styling Package
CD Changer for AMI
Cruise Control
Dash Inserts: Carbon Atlas
Bose Surround System
Driver Information System
Dual Band GSM Hands-Free car phone in MMI
Electric Front Seats with Lumber and Drivers Memory
Electric Windows Front & Rear
Electromechanical Parking Brake
Heated Front & Rear Seats
Height And Reach Adjustable Steering Column: Electric with auto easy entry
Illuminated Vanity Mirrors

Interior Trim

Silk Nappa Leather With Piping
Leather Gear Shift: Perforated Leather
Leather 3- Spoke Multifunction RS Flat Bottom Sports Steering Wheel with shift paddles
Lighting Package
Multi Function Trip Computer with Colour Display
Multi Media Interface (MMI)
Advanced Parking Aid Front & Rear with rear view camera
RS6 Sports seats
RS6 door sill trims
Split Folding Rear Seat
Storage Package
TV Reception
Through Loading Ski Sleeve

Words and photos Darren Cottingham

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