Audi S6 vs. RS 6 Comparison: Which is the Better Buy?

2022 RS 6 Avant

Uncompromising luxury versus uncompromising performance: Which is the perfect Audi for you? Let’s have a deeper look and weigh the options!

The Audi S and RS models, regardless of which you choose, command a certain respect. Unquestionably, both versions are fast and luxurious. And their prestige is likely to hold water for decades, certainly as EVs are right around the corner for Audi. While common knowledge states that obviously the higher-rated package is the most desirable, we thought we’d take a closer look at a proper comparison. So let’s take one single model and weigh the pros and cons between the S and RS versions and see which may best be suited for you.

Now, before we begin, we must first establish a common baseline. In this case, we’ll be having a look at the main overall differences between the 2022 Audi A6, S6, and RS 6. So without further delay, let’s get started!

The Audi S6: The final say in luxury

2023 Audi S6

First up is the “mid-range” model, if we can even call it that, the Audi S6. Both the S6 and RS 6, are, of course, packages based on the A6. The A6 itself debuted for the 2019 model year and is itself no slouch in terms of luxury. Although that fact normally needs no further elaboration for the car serving as Audi’s premiere executive car. So then, what does an S6 do better than the A6?

Well, the “S” badge does stand for “Sport,” after all. And in this respect, the S6 handily wins us over with a 444-horsepower twin-turbo mated to the 8-speed Tiptronic. This performance increase carries over to the running gear, boasting adaptive air suspension and an optional sport rear diff, among other features. Interior-wise, the S6 handily beats both the A6 and RS 6 as well, a common trend across all model ranges. Basically, if you spring for an S-badged Audi, expect most interior options to appear as standard equipment. This includes MFD’s, premium-quality sound, leather everything, and top-tier finishing.

In a sentence: If you’re looking for just enough performance to outpace every base-model Audi without sacrificing premium luxury, the S-model’s the one for you. This type of Audi fits well in daily commutes through large towns and metropolitan areas, where stretching the engine’s legs is less of a concern versus a quiet, relaxing ride. And while both S and RS models are very expensive (as most quality luxury cars are), the S-model is still significantly cheaper. At a cool $82,595 MSRP, it’s certainly no bargain-bin car, but you get what you pay for. Which in this case is certainly more than adequate.

The RS 6: Brute-Force Application

2013 RS 6

However, let’s say you live in an area with a lot of wide-open roads. And you got that itch that only a howling V8 can scratch. Well, then the RS 6 is the one for you, provided you have the cash.

Traditionally, the RS line’s been regarded as being more performance-oriented to the detriment of luxury. Certainly some previous RS models featured less than stellar luxury offerings (by Audi standards, anyway). But that simply doesn’t apply with the 2022 RS 6. In fact, just about the only item that’s optional on the RS 6 versus standard on the S6 is adaptive cruise control. The RS 6 also houses a monster of a V8: a 592-horsepower twin-turbo enabling the super saloon to hit 60 in an eye-watering 3.6 seconds.

So why choose the S6 when the RS 6 does almost everything better? There’s a couple reasons for that. Firstly and most prominently, the absolute bare-minimum you’ll be paying is $117,595. That price can shoot upwards real quick, as well. Also, the aggressive styling may not be to everyone’s taste, especially for those looking for quiet, dignified performance. And while the car’s undoubtedly comfortable in or out of the city, it’s certainly not built for short trips. City fuel economy is, frankly, as one would expect on a thirsty twin-turbo V8 in a full-size luxury car. And a roaring engine like that really deserves some frequent exercise, at least in our opinion.

In short, if you jump the gun and go for the top-shelf item, it only truly serves its purpose on long-distance, wide-open roads. As opposed to a more practical and understated luxury package that’s still plenty capable of overtaking, namely the S6.

Weighing the Options

4 Gens of RS 6

All in all, both vehicles remain excellent choices in terms of mid-high level luxury offerings. The RS 6 is, naturally, unquestionably the faster and more exciting of the two. But that doesn’t imply that the S6, by contrast, is a poor vehicle, either. Certainly, both have their intended uses and individual comfort zones. The S6 performs flawlessly where the RS 6’s more aggressive nature undercuts it, such as within tight city streets. Conversely, the RS 6’s party piece – namely, that glorious engine – sings a wonderful melody as you fly down a country road. But is all that power and performance at your fingertips worth the heavy burden at the gas station, much less the dealership? Ultimately, it’s up to you. But in our opinion, if it wasn’t for the allure of the V8, we’d be in S6’s neck of the woods.

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I’ve been an automotive aficionado since I had baby teeth. My path was set when I first leaned on my grandfather’s classic Porsche as I learned how to walk. One of my first memories was my mother sitting me behind the wheel of her Pontiac and talking me through the instrumentation and controls. Even though I was a mere three or four years old, I was instantly sold, and filled notebooks with technical drawings, sketches, and collections of manuals of all sorts of cars. I’ve actively tracked developments in automotive and motorsport technology for well over 20 years, and pride myself on being intimately familiar with the functions and history of a wide range of vehicles.

My primary goal as a writer and enthusiast is to equally learn and share what I’ve learned in a constructive and interesting way. I maintain connections with people from around the world and can read technical manuals in Italian, Japanese, and Spanish, granting me access to a wide array of resources. My primary focuses are deep-dives into historical topics, motorsport discussion, and learning about the complex mechanical elements of such vehicles. As such, my research is never perfect; as anyone into cars will attest, the more you learn about cars, the more you realize how little you actually know. Therefore, I always welcome fresh knowledge and corrections to help me better my work in the future.

Audi RS 6 Avant and RS7 get performance Trim for 2024

Audi RS 7 Sportback performance, Audi RS 6 Avant performance

The new performance versions of Audi’s RS 6 Avant and RS 7 follow a familiar formula — more power, less weight.

Few folks are going to accuse Audi’s RS 6 Avant and RS 7 of being underpowered. But as the old saying goes, there’s no kill like overkill. So for the 2024 model year, Ingolstadt is sharpening up its lovely longroof and sexy Sportback with new performance versions. First, there’s more power on tap. In each model, the twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 has been stoked to 621 horsepower and 627 lb-ft of twist, which is up 30 ponies over the standard models. Audi says the additional poke shaves 2/10ths off the zero-to-62 sprint.

An eight-speed gearbox is still on the menu, but it’s been tweaked for faster shifting, and it now pumps power to a new self-locking center differential. In standard conditions, the mechanical diff has a slight rear bias, with 60 percent of power going to the back tires and 40 percent to the front. If the system detects slippage, however, it can flip the script, and send 70 percent to the front, and 85 percent to the back. To improve steering feel, the new unit is both lighter and smaller than the standard model’s.

Plus, the new performance versions also come with Audi’s RS Dynamic Package as standard. That means four-wheel steering and a quattro sport differential are included, and the top speed has been raised to 180 mph. Drivers looking for even more top end can opt for the RS Dynamics Package plus, which bumps max velocity to 190 mph. This upgrade also adds ceramic brakes to the mix, and along with fade-free stopping power, they’re a whopping 75 pounds lighter than their steel counterparts. For visual pop, the calipers can be finished in gray, red, or blue.

Of course, there have been some visual tweaks too. In comparison to standard models, the mirrors, front spoiler, front side flaps, side sill inserts, roof rails, window trim, and rear diffuser are finished in matte gray. An available optics package swaps the matte gray roof rails and window trim for black versions, and Audi’s famous Four Rings logo can be rendered in either chrome or black. Metallic and matte Ascari Blue and matte Dew Silver are new additions to the exterior finish options, which makes for a total of 16 choices.

Additionally, the cabins of the RS 6 Avant and RS 7 performance models get some unique options. Along with the standard RS red and gray, buyers can also opt for Mercato blue accents on the floor mats, center console, and gear selector. This option also comes with blue seat belts and like the gray and red packages, the color will also be used behind the perforation on the seats, to give the interior a cohesive feel. Look for the performance trims to arrive in American Audi showrooms sometime next year.

Photos: Audi

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Wagon Wunderkind: Audi RS 8 Avant Rendering Has Us Dreaming Big

RS 8 AvantAudi RS 6 Avant is here and can do all of those things. Audi currently has an impressive lineup of cars and even in that lineup the RS 6 Avant stands out as one of the most desirable. Now, let’s go back to dream mode for a little bit. Let’s dial up that 6 to an 8. What if Audi produced an RS 8 Avant? What would that be like?

It may still be a dream, but an incredible rendering of an RS 8 Avant was recently revealed on the hycade YouTube channel. Our jaws have still not closed. There is nothing wrong with the RS 6 Avant we have of course. But why not dream a little more? It is just a rendering, not an Audi concept so we are in full fantasy mode here. But the good part of that is that we have freedom to make this what we want in our own minds. So, what would an Audi RS 8 Avant really be like?

Looks

RS 8 Avant

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Report: Faster Audi RS6 Avant Versions On the Way

Report: Faster Audi RS6 Avant Versions On the Way

American Audi fans got lucky with the RS6 Avant. And it sounds like Ingolstadt has even more goodness in store.

When it was announced that the Audi RS6 Avant was actually coming to America, Four Rings fans rejoiced. Now sure, there’s no lack of high-horsepower hardware available on our shores. But when it comes to fast wagons? Domestic enthusiasts have too often gotten the shaft. So this was far from a sure thing. Fortunately, Ingolstadt delivered — and a new report from our friends at Australia’s Wheels says even hotter versions are on the way.

Better still, the info isn’t credited to an unnamed source, like so much other reportage on automotive news. Rather, vague as it may be, this tidbit comes straight from A6 and R8 spokesperson Eva Stania. Because when Wheels asked about the possibility of a weapons-grade RS6 Avant, Stania replied:  “You drove the RS6 C7 as a Performance. We recently launched the R8 RWD as a Performance, so you can be pretty sure that we will follow up the Performance strategy.”

Of course, any specifics about timing and specs are still murky. But other — yup, unnamed — sources seemed to indicate there will be more than one hot rod variant of the lust-worthy longroof for well-heeled enthusiasts to choose from. We could see the first version by the end of the year, and the range-topping model will arrive closer to 2025, toward the end of this generation’s production run. All of which tracks, given Audi’s history with models like the R8 Performance.

As for how much power each model will make? I think it’s reasonable to expect that both models will make more than Mercedes’ 603-horsepower E63 AMG wagon, and less that the 690-horsepower Panamera Sport Turismo from corporate cousin Porsche. So if I was forced to make a guess? I’d say 620 for Performance model A, and 675 from Performance model B. Sound reasonable? Hit me up and let me know!

Photos: Audi

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Audi Celebrates 20 Years of the RS 6

4 Gens of RS 6

Audi celebrates the 20th anniversary of the iconic RS 6 with a look back at the previous generations and a look forward to 2022.

Twenty years ago Audi launched the RS 6. More than just a competitor to the BMW M5, it is a car for all road conditions. Configured as a sedan or wagon (Avant) it combines sports car performance with everyday practicality. Truly a car for all occasions, the RS 6 is not only the ultimate car in Audi’s midsize lineup but the zenith of what a midsize car can be.

The formula has remained consistent across the years. Take the Audi A6, add obscene amounts of horsepower and all-wheel-drive, and go hunting for Porsches. There’s more to it than that of course – Audi has a secret sauce that includes Dynamic Ride Control and other features which keeps the wheels planted and provides a comfortable ride.

What’s your favorite RS 6 generation?
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2002 to 2004 Audi RS 6 (C5)

2002 RS 6 Avant

Highlights:

  • 4.2-liter V8 jointly developed by Audi GmbH and Cosworth
  • First car with Audi’s Dynamic Ride Control (DRC)
  • Won the North American SPEED World Challenge GT Series in 2002, 2003, and 2004

Looking to infuse the spirit of the RS 4  into the A6, Audi stuffed a 444-horsepower twin-turbo 4.2 liter V8 under the hood. Paired with a 5-speed automatic Tiptronic gearbox and Audi’s Dynamic Ride Control the result was explosive performance. 0 to 60 mph took only 4.7 seconds on the way to a 167 mph “limited” top speed. More impressively is how DRC reduced roll and pitch in performance driving. Not only could the RS 6 compete with the BMW M5, Jaguar S-Type R, and Mercedes AMG E55, but was unmatched in all-weather driving.

To showcase the RS 6, Audi took it racing. At the hands of Randy Pobst, it won the SPEED World Challenge GT Series in three successive years. But while its performance capabilities and racing pedigree are successful, it’s the refinement of the whole car that makes it special.

2008 to 2010 Audi RS 6 (C6)

2008 RS 6 & RS 6 Avant

Highlights:

  • 5.0-liter V10 with dry-sump lubrication
  • First RS with adjustable shock absorbers
  • Limited run of 500 RS 6 plus Sport & Audi RS 6 plus Exclusive

Audi followed up the C5 RS 6 with the C6 in 2008. Setting its sights again on the M5, the company took the Audi R8’s V10 and bumped the horsepower to 571. As a result, 0-60 mph times dropped to 4.5 seconds and the car could reach 188 mph on the track. Unlike the subdued twin-turbo V8 in the previous RS 6, the new car’s V10 made feral noises to go with its power.

More impressively, handling improved from the C5. Audi retained the DRC suspension and added adjustable shock absorbers allowing the ride to be changed using one of three settings. Now the driver could select a softer setting for comfort, a firm setting for performance, or a middle setting somewhere in between those extremes.

2013 to 2018 Audi RS 6 (C7)

2013 RS 6

Highlights:

  • 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8
  • First RS with fully automatic air suspension and cylinder deactivation
  • Performance model produces 603-horsepower

For the C7 Audi dialed back the crazy, returning to the twin-turbo V8. The move was regarded as a step back by enthusiasts but more in step with the times. But even the worse critics were silenced by the performance. Reduced weight thru the use of more aluminum and a retuned V8 in the Performance model increased horsepower to 603 and dropped 0-60 mph times to 3.7 seconds. The new 8-speed Tiptronic gearbox not only aided in this performance but combined with cylinder-deactivation, provided significantly improved fuel economy.

What stands out about the C7 Audi RS 6 is the level of refinement when compared to the first two generations. It’s every bit as capable as the older cars and then some. But it’s also comfortable and familiar and more user-friendly. The air suspension works magic providing a pleasant ride in the soft setting and going full-on track ready in performance mode.

2022 Audi RS 6 (C8)

2022 RS 6 Avant

Highlights:

  • Unique RS 6 only styling
  • 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8
  • 48-volt mild hybrid system and rear-axle steering

You wouldn’t be blamed if you thought of the 2022 Audi RS 6 as a refined and improved version of the C7. The V8 engine stayed at 4.0 liters of displacement. Performance numbers are similar as well – 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds and a top speed of 190 mph. But what those numbers don’t tell you is how much better the car actually is to drive. Not only does the current RS 6 feel more capable at hunting down a Porsche 911 in any weather conditions, but it’s much more liveable every day.

It also looks different. Unlike previous generations of the RS 6 which had flared fenders and revised front and rear end facias, the new RS 6 has a different body. Every panel except for the doors and roof is unique to the RS 6. Yet it retains the same aesthetics as the older cars. Because regardless of the year and generation, each RS 6 is clearly related because of how it looks and how it drives. It is still one of the most capable performance cars in any driving condition and still at the zenith of what a midsize car can be.

Photos: Audi USA

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Mark Webb is fascinated by anything automotive and particularly loves cars that are unusual or have a good story. He’s owned a variety of cars from 60’s muscle, Japanese imports, and oddities like a VW Thing and Porsche 924. After 20 years in the automotive and tech industries, he’s a walking encyclopedia of car info and is always on the lookout for his next project or a good road trip.