The all-new Audi RS 6 Avant will need just 3.9 seconds to dispel any doubt that its ultra-efficient new downsized V8 TFSI engine has compromised on muscle for the sake of miles-per-gallon. The latest super Avant will firmly cement its RS credentials by outrunning its mighty V10-powered predecessor with an exceptional sub-four-second 0-62mph sprint time. At the same time its smaller displacement and cylinder-on-demand technology will make 28.8mpg economy potential a reality.
Available to order early in 2013 priced at approximately £77,000 OTR, and due in the UK next summer, the new RS 6 Avant will derive its phenomenal pace from a twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 TFSI engine which replaces its predecessor’s 5.0-litre twin-turbo V10 TFSI. Peak output of 560PS in the new engine is reached between 5,700 and 6,700 rpm, with a constant 700 Nm of torque available between 1,750 and 5,500 rpm.
The two large twin-scroll turbochargers enable the RS 6 Avant to gather momentum with remarkable intensity. They are mounted together with the intercooler in the inside V of the cylinder banks. The exhaust side of the cylinder heads is also on the inside, while the intake side is on the outside. This concept allows for a compact design and short gas paths with minimal flow losses.
The RS-specific engine management and unthrottled intake system also contribute to the eight-cylinder engine’s dramatic response, which is delivered to the tune of a classic V8 soundtrack. Switchable flaps in the exhaust system will make the sound even fuller at the touch of a button, and a sports exhaust system will be available as an option to provide even greater amplification if required.
Variable top speed
After catapulting to 62mph from rest in a best-in-class 3.9 seconds, the RS 6 Avant in its standard form will be capable of continuing to an electronically limited 155mph top speed where conditions allow. It will be possible to increase this top speed to 174mph by specifying the optional Dynamic package, and to go a step further still with the Dynamic plus package, which curbs acceleration only when the new super Avant reaches 189mph.
Despite straying even further into the realms of the supercar, the latest RS 6 Avant nevertheless manages to register a fuel economy improvement of approximately 40 per cent, thanks partly to an engine start-stop system and innovative thermal management technology, but primarily to the new engine’s cylinder on demand (COD) system. At low to intermediate loads and engine speeds, it shuts down the intake and exhaust valves of cylinders 2, 3, 5 and 8. The 4.0-litre TFSI then runs as a four-cylinder engine until the driver accelerates more forcibly again. Efficiency in the active cylinders is increased because the operating points are displaced toward higher loads.
The switch between four and eight-cylinder operation takes just a few hundredths of a second, and the only real indication to the driver that it is taking place is a visual signal within the instrument cluster. The COD technology reduces ECE fuel consumption by roughly five per cent. Even greater savings of approximately 10 per cent are possible when driving at moderate speeds. Active engine mounts use out-of-phase counter-oscillations to compensate for the vibrations that occur during four-cylinder operation.
The 4.0-litre TFSI is paired with an eight-speed tiptronic transmission featuring shortened shift times and offering ‘Sport’ and ‘Manual’ modes in addition to the standard ‘Drive’ setting. To shift for themselves drivers can use the shift paddles on the steering wheel or the selector lever, which is of a unique RS design. The lower gears of the tiptronic are tightly spaced for optimum performance, while a tall eighth gear reduces fuel consumption.
At the heart of the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system with torque vectoring is a self-locking centre differential with an elevated locking value. A sport differential is also active on the rear axle to distribute power steplessly between the rear wheels for even greater agility and stability.
Adaptive air suspension for the first time
The new RS 6 Avant will be the first Audi RS model to feature adaptive air suspension. The specially tuned set-up lowers the body by 20 millimetres, and incorporates controlled damping which takes into account road conditions, driving style and the mode chosen in the standard Audi drive select adaptive dynamics system, with which the driver can influence the function of key components in multiple steps.