Audi has revealed all on the sedan version of their head-stompingly powerful RS6 well ahead of the model's anticipated launch at the Paris Motor Show in October.
As we suspected, the sedan gets the same twin-turbocharged 5-litre V10 used in the RS6 Avant wagon, which went on sale in Europe in April. Derived from the Lamborghini Gallardo's V10, the RS6's mill is one beast of an engine. Those twin huffers cram a sizable 1.6 bar of boost (that's 23 psi in the old money) into the RS6's ten cylinders, which is enough to generate a whopping 426kW and a Herculean 650 Nm of torque.
That's more grunt than the BMW M5 and Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG, arguably the RS6's two main rivals. That power also endows the RS6 with the ability to sprint from zero to 100kph in just 4.5 seconds, while top speed is electronically limited to 250kph. Curiously, Audi says that buyers have the option to raise the limiter to 280kph, although they make no mention of just how fast the RS6 can go when the e-reins are removed entirely.
All of that motive force is channeled through a paddle shifter-equipped six-speed tiptronic automatic. The gearbox is capable of reacting to gearchanges in one tenth of a second, however we get the feeling that a twin-clutch DSG gearbox would probably be better suited to the RS6's performance aspirations.
However, it's not all about straight-line go with the RS6. Audi's ubiquitous Quattro all-wheel-drive system once again finds its way under the RS6 and is programmed to favour a powerslide-friendly rear torque bias.
In addition to the elec-trickery of the Quattro system and Audi's ESP stability control system, the RS6 also features some relatively-old-school tech in its suspension kit. Diagonally opposed dampers are linked to one another by hydraulic lines and valves which serve to cancel out roll movements while cornering. The steering rack also features a relatively quick 12.5:1 ratio, which means the RS6 should be plenty of fun when unleashed upon a winding mountain road.
Six-piston calipers squeeze 390mm disks up front, while 365mm discs and a pair of single-piston sliding calipers bring up the rear. However, if this ain't enough for you then a ceramic brake kit can be optioned for between $13,000 - $14,000 AUD. Big money, yes, but these are big brakes: 420mm on the front and 356mm on the rear, with 8-piston calipers clamping the front rotors. Unsprung weight is also decreased by 12.2kg compared to the steel hardware - a handy advantage for serious(ly cashed up) enthusiasts.
While the engine bay is hellishly crowded (and devilishly hot) thanks to that huge turbocharged V10, then the cabin is surely the polar opposite. With Nappa leather, carbon fibre and aluminium covering every surface, the RS6 should be every bit as pleasant to cruise in as it is exciting to thrash around a racetrack.
There's also dual-zone air conditioning, parking sensors, Bose surround sound system, boost gauges and a leather-bound steering wheel included as standard. Adaptive cruise control, Alcantara-clad seats, body-hugging bucket seats for the front occupants and Bluetooth connectivity are also available as options, but it seems to me that the only boxes worth ticking would have to be the ones marked "Ceramic Brakes" and "Speed limiter extension".
Oh, and maybe those bucket seats too.
The 2009 Audi RS6 sedan is expected to go on sale in Europe sometime in mid-October. The cost? Try ?105,550 ($179,263 AUD) for a bare-bones model. No word yet on when we can expect to see the potent saloon in Australia, but given the RS6 Avant is due to go on sale here in September the wait shouldn't be too long.
The new Audi RS 6:
The confidently superior sports sedan from quattro GmbH
- Twin-turbo V10 producing 426 kW (580 hp) and 650 Nm of torque
- Racing-inspired direct injection and dry-sump lubrication
- A wealth of high-tech for superior performance
426 kW (580 hp) and 650 Nm (479.42 lb-ft) of torque ? with its twin-turbo V10 and quattro permanent all-wheel drive, the Audi RS 6 is a car without equal. Following on the heels of the RS 6 Avant, Audi now presents the sedan. It drives like a supercar thanks to its superior performance and thrilling dynamics, yet offers all of the everyday utility of a large business sedan.
The engine of the new Audi RS 6 is a high-tech work of art. The 4,991 cc V10 bundles a number of Audi's race-winning technologies ? FSI direct fuel injection, dry-sump lubrication and two turbochargers. With up to 1.6 bar of boost pressure, these provide smooth, powerful thrust and an incomparable power band: The peak torque of 650 Nm (479.42 lb-ft) is available from 1,500 to 6,250 rpm and thus nearly over the entire rev range. Peak power of 426 kW (580 hp) is generated between 6,250 rpm and the maximum figure of 6,700 rpm.
With a power-to-weight ratio of 3.4 kilograms per hp, the Audi RS 6 performs like a supercar. It catapults to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 4.5 seconds on its way to an electronically-limited top speed of 250 km/h (155.34 mph), which can be optionally raised to 280 km/h (173.98 mph). The V10 responds immediately and spontaneously to the throttle, and is very smooth while accelerating with a powerful roar.
The engine's power flows through the six-speed tiptronic, one of a new, dynamic generation of Audi automatic transmissions. Its reaction time has been reduced to one tenth of a second, shift time has been halved compared to units used in other models and transmission ratios are short. The driver can also manually change gears either using the shift lever or the paddles on the steering wheel. The tiptronic transmission transfers the power to an extremely sporty, rear-weighted quattro drive train.
Precision high-tech suspension
The technology bundled into the suspension of the Audi RS 6 guarantees an amazing performance experience. The front axle features four lightweight aluminum control arms per wheel, whose elastokinematics have been designed for particularly sporty performance. The characteristics of the speed-dependent servotronic power steering were retuned and the steering gear ratio is a direct 12.5:1. The rear suspension kinematics have also been modified.
The development engineers have also deployed an exclusive damping technology: Dynamic Ride Control DRC reduces pitch and roll using purely mechanical means. Hydraulic lines and valves connect diagonally opposed pairs of shock absorbers. When cornering, the flow of fluid to the damper of the compressing outside front wheel increases, providing firmer support and reducing roll. When combined with the sports suspension plus, DRC offers a choice of three selectable damper settings ? sport, dynamic and comfort ? which can be activated via the MMI.
The electronic stabilization system ESP offers maximum driving fun with uncompromised safety. Its relatively high activation threshold encourages a dynamic driving style. It offers a Sport mode and can also be deactivated entirely.
The new Audi RS 6 rolls on 19-inch alloy wheels shod with 255/40 tires. Up front, six-piston fixed aluminum calipers ? painted black and decorated with RS badges ? clamp down on 390 millimeter brake disks. The rear brake disks measure 365 millimeters in diameter. The rear axle features single-piston floating brake calipers. The floating steel disks feature large cooling ducts and axial perforations for enhanced performance and less weight.
9.5J x 20-inch wheels are offered as an option. These allow the use of a ceramic brake system. The 420 (front) and 356 (rear) millimeter disks weigh a total of 12.2 kilograms (26.90 lb) less than the steel disks. The calipers ? up front with eight pistons ? are painted anthracite and labeled "Audi ceramic."
The body of the 4.93 meter (16.17 ft) RS 6 also sports a number of distinctive features that immediately identify it as a dynamic, top-of-the-line model. These include the single-frame grill, the air intakes, the headlights featuring xenon plus, adaptive light and RS 6-specific LED daytime running lights, the flared fenders and deep side skirts, the rear diffuser, the spoiler integrated into the trunk lid and the two large oval exhaust pipes.
The finest of materials and uncompromised quality
Like all Audi RS models developed and built by quattro GmbH in cooperation with AUDI AG, the RS 6 is the embodiment of power, elegance, exclusivity and perfection. The interior is adorned with the finest of materials such as carbon fiber, aluminum, piano lacquer, leather and Alcantara in tried-and-tested Audi quality.
The deeply sculpted sports seats provide optimal support and firm hold. The power-adjustable seats are upholstered in Silk Nappa leather, with leather/Alcantara and Valcona leather available as options. Bucket seats with an even more sporty emphasis are also offered for both driver and front passenger. Standard equipment includes the dual-zone deluxe automatic air conditioning plus, a parking assistant at front and rear, an RS leather multifunction sports steering wheel with flat-bottomed rim and a Bose surround sound system. A boost pressure indicator for the two turbochargers in the driver information system rounds out the instrumentation.
The options are also pure hi-tech: Audi lane assist helps to keep the car in its lane, adaptive cruise control maintains a constant distance to the car ahead and Audi side assist helps the driver change lane safely. The Audi Bluetooth car phone integrates perfectly with the driver's cell phone to make even using the phone a luxurious experience. It is integrated into the standard MMI operating system, a new generation of which is making its debut in the Audi RS 6.
The Audi RS 6 will be launched on the market in mid-October. The starting price in Germany including VAT is 105,550 euros.