Audi RS Avant megatest: the best quick Audi property vehicles head-to-head

Audi RS Avant megatest: the greatest fast Audi estate cars head-to-head


There have been quick vehicles, and there have been property vehicles, however there have been no really quick property vehicles earlier than Audi and Porsche received collectively and unleashed the RS 2 Avant upon the world in 1994.

In the identical 12 months, the Channel Tunnel was opened by The Queen, whereas McLaren unveiled the mighty F1 which, by the best way, the four-wheel-drive, 311bhp RS 2 may out-accelerate – as much as about 38mph…

Through the 29 years which have adopted, Audi has crafted the RS Avant right into a breed of its personal, making a car-culture in contrast to some other in motoring. Alongside the best way there have been quite a few variations to select from boasting completely different powertrains, all of them 4 wheel-drive, every of them

eye-wateringly fast. Some have been good, some have bordered on genius, whereas others haven’t been so memorable.

Right here we’ve chosen what we consider to be the seven most vital RS estates from the final three many years, beginning after all with the RS 2. From there we go straight to the primary RS 4 from 1999 (codenamed B5), boasting what was again then a totally outrageous 375bhp from its Cosworth-modified 2.7-litre twin-turbo V6.

Then we leap forwards to the primary RS 6 (the C5) and on to the second RS 4, the endlessly magnificent B7, the primary RS property automotive to not use a turbocharged engine. The second such instance was the C6 RS 6, which warrants its place right here not as a result of it’s one of many greats, removed from it, however as a result of it’s powered by a 572bhp V10 that additionally appeared at the back of a Lamborghini. It was, and stays, arguably essentially the most outrageous RS property of all.

Then once more, anybody who’s pushed or merely set eyes upon the most recent RS 6 – the cartoonishly fierce Efficiency mannequin with its 597bhp 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 and huge wheelarches – may suppose in any other case. Both means, to spherical issues off we’ve got the most recent RS 4 Competitors, a limited-edition model of an already nice automotive that could possibly be the perfect of the lot.

There’s just one solution to discover out, as they are saying…

Audi RS 2

Mannequin: Audi RS 2 Avant
Engine: 2.2-litre 5cyl turbo petrol
Energy/torque: 311bhp/409Nm
0-62mph: 5.4 seconds
Prime velocity: 163mph
Gearbox: Six-speed guide
Kerbweight: 1,595kg

The RS 2 was a whole madman of a automotive when it appeared in 1994. I do know as a result of I helped conduct one of many first ever highway checks on it again within the day, and for an property automotive (for any automotive) it was mind-bendingly speedy.

Its 2.2-litre, five-cylinder turbocharged engine contained all types of know-how that had been developed by Audi’s motorsport division, boosting its energy to a whopping 311bhp and torque to 409Nm at simply 3,000rpm. Its four-wheel-drive chassis was partially arrange by Porsche to ship most buy close to the restrict, and featured not solely a central differential, but additionally one on the rear, which could possibly be adjusted manually contained in the cockpit for additional driveability. The inside was nearly Bauhaus sparse for a highway automotive and contained two high-set bucket seats and a few arresting white dials, however not loads else when it comes to luxuries.

It wasn’t essentially the most delicate automotive to drive, the general emphasis being on grip and the supply of big energy to the highway moderately than fingertip finesse, however that didn’t matter. The place it counted, the RS 2 delivered, after which some.

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Externally it was distinguished by its Nogaro blue paint and a quartet of lovely 17-inch Porsche Carrera Cup wheels. It appeared imply and menacing again then, however right now it seems nearly dainty beside its larger, altogether extra brutal trying successors.

It nonetheless feels correctly fast, although, does the RS 2, with a torque wave that doesn’t do a lot till about 3,000rpm however then comes with a rush from thereon after. At its peak, between 4,000-5,000rpm, the RS 2 nonetheless goes like a rocket, which it ought to do, given how outrageous it felt in 1994.

The steering feels much less numb right now than it did again then one way or the other, possibly as a result of we’ve received used to much less feelsome electrical energy steering programs. However what hasn’t modified is the agency trip, the eye-popping traction from the automotive’s still-clever all-wheel drive system, or the rousing soundtrack from the five-cylinder turbo engine.

The RS 2 seems a bit puny when lined up beside its extra trendy contemporaries, however to drive it feels each inch as thrilling because it as soon as did. You may’t say that for a lot of vehicles which are three many years outdated.

Audi RS 4 (B5)

Mannequin: Audi RS 4 Avant (B5)
Engine: 2.7-litre V6 twin-turbo petrol
Energy/torque: 375bhp/440Nm
0-62mph: 4.9 seconds
Prime velocity: 155mph (restricted)
Gearbox: Six-speed guide
Kerbweight: 1,620kg

The very first RS 4 (codenamed the B5) was damned with faint reward when it appeared proper on the finish of the final century. Commentators on the time favored the best way it appeared, cherished the best way it was constructed and had nothing however wide-eyed admiration for the best way it went in a straight line.

Due to its Cosworth-modified 2.7-litre twin-turbo V6 engine, it produced a thumping 375bhp and 440Nm between simply 2,500rpm-6,000rpm, which was sufficient to catapult it from 0-62mph in lower than 5 seconds and make mincemeat out of most full-blown sports activities vehicles again within the day. It was additionally a great-looking automotive, with blistered wheelarches entrance and rear, all 4 of which had been stuffed completely by a set of beautiful 18-inch alloy wheels.

But critics stated it lacked delicacy on the highway and had a tough trip, clumsy steering, a clonky six-speed guide gearchange and brakes that had been highly effective however jumpy. It was a little bit of a blunderbuss, they stated.

However possibly they had been fallacious, as a result of the B5 you see right here feels surprisingly sharp and quick right now. Its steering has extra really feel than we remembered, its trip is agency however not horrendously so, and boy does it nonetheless go onerous while you introduce the again of the accelerator to the footwell. The two.7-litre V6 revs with an enthusiasm that few turbo engines earlier than or since can match. Even the gearbox feels way more ‘related’ than we keep in mind.

Briefly, we anticipated lower than we received from the B5 RS 4 Avant. In locations, much more. We’re unsure in regards to the bright-yellow paintwork of Audi’s heritage assortment automotive, or the practicalities of the competiton-spec seats, however in most different methods this was essentially the most stunning automotive of the group. In an excellent means.

Audi RS 6 (C5)

Mannequin: Audi RS 6 Plus Avant (C5)
Engine: 4.2-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol
Energy/torque: 474bhp/560Nm
0-62mph: 4.6 seconds
Prime velocity: 174mph
Gearbox: 5-speed Tiptronic auto
Kerbweight: 1,865kg

It was all the time the flared wheelarches that made the unique RS 6 (codenamed C5) appear so menacing. It appeared so cool, in reality, it was typically chosen as THE automotive to be pushed by ‘the unhealthy guys’ in movies on the time, together with the infamous London gangster film Layer Cake, starring a younger Daniel Craig.

Beneath its bulging bodywork, the RS 6 Avant boasted a Cosworth-modified 4.2-litre twin-turbo V8 with 40 valves and a totally wild sports activities exhaust system. In direction of the tip of manufacturing, the Plus mannequin, as examined right here, produced a thumping 474bhp and 560Nm, sufficient to fireplace it from 0-62mph in simply 4.6 seconds, regardless of burdening the scales at 1,865kg.

Nevertheless, the RS 6 was by no means an particularly rewarding automotive to string alongside a twisting highway. It was much better as an Autobahn monster, and 20 years later, not a lot has modified. The automotive’s straight-line efficiency continues to be mighty, and the noise from the twin-turbo V8 stays fairly spine-tingling. However in corners the C5 RS 6 feels as clumsy because it ever did, whereas its brakes, though highly effective, lack delicacy in the best way they reply.

However essentially the most disappointing side of all stays the transmission, which is a careless five-speed Tiptronic computerized gearbox. No guide possibility was ever supplied for the C5-generation RS 6, and to be trustworthy the traditional piece of engineering connecting the engine to the wheels hampers the automotive’s attraction, maybe much more so right now than it did twenty years in the past.

The underside line is that the C5 RS 6 Avant is a great-looking automotive, however dynamically it’s not one among Audi’s higher efforts. These would come somewhat later, as we’ll see.

Audi RS 6 Efficiency

Mannequin: Audi RS 6 Avant Efficiency
Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, petrol
Energy/torque: 597bhp/700Nm
0-62mph: 3.4 seconds
Prime velocity: 174mph (restricted)
Gearbox: Eight-speed auto
Kerbweight: 2,277kg

The newest RS 6 Efficiency isn’t a refined automotive by any stretch of the creativeness. But it surely’s an excellent one – even on this esteemed firm – and that’s as a result of it’s been engineered from its wheelnuts as much as really feel and behave like a totally completely different automotive from the one on which it’s based mostly. Some RS 6s haven’t all the time felt like that, however the Efficiency places any such doubts to relaxation in a heartbeat.

It’s, in each means, the true deal. A correct AudiSport RS. And never simply because it’s lung-bustingly quick in a straight line, though having 597bhp and 700Nm from a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 does imply its efficiency is fairly particular, regardless of the actual fact it weighs a whopping 2,247kg. However that’s the factor in regards to the RS 6 Efficiency; on the highway, it doesn’t really feel as large or heavy as its on-paper credentials counsel it ought to. Nor does it appear as vast because it seems on the surface while you’re behind the wheel.

Subjectively it’s a automotive that shrink-wraps itself round you when you climb aboard and begin driving, and that’s right down to a mixture of things. Its steering is lighter and much sharper than you may anticipate. Its trip and dealing with are extraordinarily nicely resolved, because of some extremely refined digital trickery that works on its dampers in addition to the diffs. And its brakes aren’t simply enormously highly effective but additionally have tons of really feel engineered into them. Plus its twin-turbo V8 feels immediately responsive underneath foot – in all its drive modes however particularly in Dynamic, by which you’d be onerous pushed to even inform it’s turbocharged.

The general result’s a automotive that’s not simply very quick certainly, but additionally one which’s straightforward to interact with emotionally. In contrast to a few of its predecessors, the RS 6 Efficiency is laden with really feel. It’s, and all the time can be, one of many biggest RS Avants.

Audi RS 4 Competitors

Mannequin: Audi RS 4 Avant Competitors
Engine: 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol
Energy/torque: 444bhp/600Nm
0-62mph: 3.9 seconds
Prime velocity: 180mph
Gearbox: Eight-speed auto
Kerbweight: 1,729kg

In principle, there isn’t a lot to tell apart the most recent RS 4 Competitors from the common RS 4 Avant on which it’s based mostly. It has the identical quantity of energy and torque from its 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 (444bhp and 600Nm), the identical eight-speed computerized gearbox and from the surface it even seems just about equivalent.

However beneath its acquainted pores and skin the RS 4 Competitors has undergone all types of tweakery to make it a greater, extra involving automotive to drive, and the general result’s quietly spectacular. The usual RS 4 was already automotive, however the Competiton now borders on the good, and many of the enhancements are subjective and contain the bits that arguably matter most.

Such because the steering, which has extra response than regular; the trip and dealing with, each of which might be tailor-made electronically and manually through adjustable springs to fit your environment; the sound it makes because of a sports activities exhaust; and the grip it has, which has been considerably improved because of the usual fitment of Pirelli P-Zero Corsa tyres.

The person variations are pretty refined, however collectively they add as much as a far sharper, extra alert model of an already nice automotive – to a degree the place we reckon the most recent RS 4 Competitors could possibly be the RS Avant’s best ever second. Robust phrases, robust automotive.

Both means, the RS 4 Competitors is a fittingly excessive notice to exit on, even when it looks like a little bit of a cop-out on the floor. In actuality it’s something however.

Audi RS 4 (B7)

Mannequin: Audi RS 4 Avant (B7)
Engine: 4.2-litre V8 petrol
Energy/torque: 414bhp/430Nm
0-62mph: 4.8 seconds
Prime velocity: 155mph (restricted)
Gearbox: Six-speed guide
Kerbweight: 1,785kg

The B7 RS 4 Avant from 2006 is one among Audi’s best ever vehicles, full cease. And it stays so even in 2023. Not solely does it nonetheless look knee-tremblingly pretty, however beneath its delicate traces it comprises some uncommon genius in its powertrain and four-wheel-drive chassis, each of which have stood the take a look at of time remarkably nicely, if the instance you see right here is something to go by.

In 2006 the B7 RS 4 was one of many nice high-performance highway vehicles of its period, and if something its attraction has grown exponentially since then.

It was the primary naturally aspirated Audi RS mannequin, its 4.2-litre V8 having been tuned to ship a rousing 414bhp at 7,800rpm with a rev limiter set to permit a screaming 8,250rpm. It additionally had a deliciously crisp six-speed guide gearbox, which right now feels even sharper and snappier than it did 17 years in the past.

The steering incorporates a small ‘Sport’ button, which unleashes but extra response and sound from the V8, whereas the chassis options Dynamic Experience Management adaptive damping, which is refined however works a deal with.

The consequence? The B7 has a pure really feel to it on the transfer, with nice steering, a lot of really feel and stability to its dealing with, robust brakes and unprecedented agility for an Audi RS. Its cabin can also be a deeply great place by which to search out your self, with a pair of nice sports activities seats and a degree of construct that continues to be breathtakingly spectacular.

Of all of the vehicles right here, that is the one I’d take dwelling for retains. With no second’s hesitation.

Audi RS 6 (C6)

Mannequin: Audi RS 6 Avant (C6)
Engine: 5.0-litre V10 petrol
Energy/torque: 572bhp/650Nm
0-62mph: 4.6 seconds
Prime velocity: 155mph (restricted)
Gearbox: Six-speed auto
Kerbweight: 2,025kg

On paper, the C6 RS 6 from 2008 had all of it. A screaming V10 in its nostril with no turbocharger in sight. A four- wheel-drive chassis with a 40:60 rear bias that had been tuned, claimed Audi, to ship rather more adjustable dealing with than the common S6 Avant. Plus an much more refined model of the Dynamic Experience Management adaptive damper system that made the B7 RS 4 such a weapon on nation roads.

But in observe, this era of RS 6 one way or the other by no means fairly hit the spot. Its dealing with wasn’t wherever close to as sharp as Audi claimed, the trip was awkwardly stiff, the steering lacked really feel, and though it went like stink in a straight line, the clumsy six-speed Tiptronic computerized gearbox blunted its total attraction. Regardless of its theoretically outrageous powertrain, it was admired moderately than adored, and never a lot has modified right now.

Sure, the V10 engine continues to be a factor to marvel at, even in 2023. The noises it makes are maybe a bit extra muted than you’d anticipate, however the efficiency it delivers past 4,000rpm in a low gear stays deeply magnificent. However dynamically the C6 RS 6 lacks sparkle, right now simply as a lot because it did when new in 2008. That is partly as a result of it weighs a whopping 2,025kg, however the particulars additionally lack finesse.

Finally it feels an excessive amount of like an everyday Audi A6 with a nutcase engine put in, moderately than a full bundle, though for its engine alone it warrants a spot on this record.

The inconceivable verdict

What an enchanting assortment, what a legacy to have created, and what a disgrace that there can be no extra vehicles like this from Audi in years to return.

To choose a favorite would appear unfair, as a result of every of those vehicles is extraordinary, however for various causes. The RS 2 (above) stays an unbelievable machine, not simply because it created the breed; it’s additionally surprisingly speedy even in 2023. The primary RS 6 additionally seems as menacingly lovely right now because it did 20 years in the past, whereas the most recent RS 6 Efficiency is a automotive you possibly can’t assist however be blown away by – each technically and dynamically.

If we’ve got to select a favorite to take dwelling, it must be the B7 RS 4. In its day this automotive was adequate to place one over the BMW M3; 15 years later, it nonetheless feels each inch as particular because it did in 2008. Extra so if something, because of its mighty V8 engine and guide gearbox.

They merely don’t make ’em like this anymore. So we should always get pleasure from and have fun all of them whereas we nonetheless can. Not simply the RS 4, however all of those nice Audi RS Avants. And do our greatest to look forwards to no matter comes subsequent.

What’s your favorite quick Audi? Tell us within the feedback part…


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