Audi intends to unleash a serious powerhouse in the summer of 2003 in the form of a limited-edition RS6 sedan. At a glance, the RS6 might look like an ordinary four-door sedan. But underneath the hood lurks a bi-turbo 4.2-liter V-8 engine that cranks out a whopping 450 horsepower at 6,500 rpm. That kind of power translates to a 0-to-60-mph acceleration time of 4.6 seconds.
Based on Audi’s A6 sedan, the RS6 was developed by quattro GmbH, which is a subsidiary of Audi AG. Creating a sedan of this stature follows on the success of Audi’s high-performance S models in recent years. BMW’s M5 sedan is the logical RS6 competitor.
Among the technical innovations is Dynamic Ride Control — an active suspension system that employs shock absorbers that are diagonally and hydraulically connected to dampen and counteract movement along longitudinal and transverse axes. According to Audi, the system “helps to virtually eliminate vehicle roll and pitch during active cornering maneuvers.”
Dynamic Damping Control also improves ride and handling characteristics. To boost driving performance, Audi has lowered the suspension by 25 millimeters by installing firmer shocks, springs and stabilizers than those used on the A6. An Electronic Stabilization Program is installed, along with Brake Assist and Brembo eight-piston brake calipers. Audi’s quattro IV all-wheel-drive (AWD) system works with a Tiptronic five-speed-automatic transmission that uses new paddle-shift controls.
Audi first announced the RS6 at the New York auto show in the spring of 2002. About 850 of the limited-production RS6 sedans will be available.
Though it is similar to the regular Audi A6, the RS6 gets a batch of unique visual cues, along with subtle badging. The front and rear aprons have been revised. The front bumper incorporates three large air inlets and integrated fog lamps, and a diamond pattern decorates the front grille. A unique back bumper has a new apron and diamond grille pattern that is accented with larger-than-usual dual exhaust tips. A spoiler lip is visible on the deck lid.
Following the lead of Audi’s renowned RS4 (sold exclusively in Europe), the RS6 has matte-aluminum mirror housings and side-window trim. New nine-spoke 18-inch alloy wheels hold P255/40ZR18 high-performance tires. Xenon Plus high-intensity-discharge headlights have automatic washers. A power sunroof is standard.
Similar to Audi’s S6 Avant wagon, the RS6 comes with a choice of two interior color schemes: black or silver. Sport seats are upholstered in Nappa leather and are heated in both the front and rear. An RS6 logo is embossed in the headrest and incorporated into the doorsill trim. The split, folding rear seat has an armrest and pass-thru ski sack.
Covered in perforated leather, the three-spoke steering wheel includes paddle controls for the Tiptronic transmission. The instrument cluster is unique to the RS6. Except for a matte-finish-aluminum shifter surround plate, the interior is trimmed in Gray Poplar wood.
Standard equipment includes a Bose sound system with a Symphony II radio, a tire-pressure monitor, a memory function for the front seats and mirrors, a power-adjustable steering column and dimming/folding heated mirrors. A Parktronic system for the front and rear issues a warning if the sedan approaches a nearby vehicle while parking. Options include a navigation system, Audi Telematics by OnStar and carbon-fiber interior trim.
Under the Hood
Twin turbochargers and twin pressure-loss optimizers help send fuel and air into the RS6’s 4.2-liter V-8 engine, which has five valves per cylinder and develops 450 hp at 6,500 rpm. The engine also delivers 415 pounds-feet of torque at 1,950 to 5,600 rpm. Audi’s Tiptronic five-speed-automatic transmission incorporates paddle-shift controls. Quattro IV AWD is standard.
Side-impact airbags for the front seats are standard, and side airbags for the rear seats are optional.