The Car Connection Audi RS6 Overview
The first Audi RS6 arrived in 2002 and ran through 2004. Powered by a 4.2-liter V-8 engine rated at 444 horsepower, the C5 RS6, as it's known to enthusiasts, could accelerate to 60 mph in under 4.5 seconds. Top speed was officially electronically limited to 155 mph, though some owners have reported being able to achieve up to 168 mph in the real world. A five-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission shifted gears, sending power to all four wheels via quattro all-wheel drive. In addition to the beefy powerplant, the first-generation Audi RS6 also featured an upgraded suspension tune, unique appearance details such as flared fenders, RS-branded interior elements, and upgraded brakes. The C5 RS6 was available in both sedan and Avant (wagon) forms.
Audi's second RS6 arrived after a four-year hiatus in 2008. Larger and more modern thanks to improvements to the Audi A6 the RS6 is based on, the second-generation car also upgraded its engine to a twin-turbocharged 5.0-liter V-10 engine rated at 571 horsepower. A six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission handled the gearshifts, and Audi's quattro all-wheel drive was again standard equipment. Unfortunately, the U.S. missed out entirely on this generation of the RS6. Like its predecessor, the C6 RS6 was available in sedan and Avant form. The C6 RS6 was sold in Europe and elsewhere in the world through 2010.
After yet another hiatus, though briefer this time around, the third-generation Audi RS6 was launched in 2012. For its third time around the block, Audi decided to build only Avant versions of the RS6, a decision that effectively ruled it out for wagon-hating America. The bitter envy of America's speed- and wagon-loving enthusiasts has thus far not been enough to turn the tide on Audi's decision, despite the clamor inspired by the C7 RS6 Avant's twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 engine. Rated at 560 horsepower and capable of 0-62-mph sprints in under four seconds, the 189-mph RS6 Avant is one of the highest-performance wagons in the world--in history, in fact.
On top of the potent twin-turbo V-8 engine, the third-generation Audi RS6 Avant also features an RS-tuned air suspension, which can lower the car by up to 20 mm as well as deliver dynamic damping adjustments. Dynamic steering is available, altering assistance levels from the power steering system to suit the driver's pace and aggression. Upgraded 15.35-inch brake discs (or 16.54-inch carbon ceramic discs) boost stopping power, and the interior of the current Audi RS6 Avant features matte-finish aluminum and carbon fiber trim packages, unique quilted sport seats, and many other RS-specific upgrades.
Rumors of U.S. availability of the C7 Audi RS6 Avant continue to crop up from time to time, but at present, it looks like Americans will have to wait for the fourth-generation car, should it arrive.