Just in case the RS6 Avant or RS7 Sportback isn’t quick enough for you, Audi cooked up even hotter “Performance” versions.
You know what? Up until this point, I hadn’t looked at either Audi’s hot V8-powered wagon or Sportback and thought, “Man, these cars are just too slow”. The automaker apparently thought so, however, as it rolled out new Performance (and yes, you must use a capital P) versions of both the RS6 and RS7 Tuesday.
As the name implies, Audi turned up the heat for both of these cars. Now, the 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 under the hood pumps out 621 horsepower and 627 lb-ft of torque. What’s this Mercedes-AMG E 63 S wagon you speak of? Pfft, that only puts out 603 horsepower and 627 lb-ft of torque! How pedestrian.
In all seriousness, though, the extra oomph is enough to shave about two-tenths of a second off the Audis’ 0-60 times. The new RS6 Avant Performance and RS7 Sportback Performance can now make the run in just 3.4 seconds, according to the manufacturer’s claims. That’s pretty impressive, considering the RS6 wagon weighs 4,608 pounds (while the RS7 Sportback Performance is about 55 pounds lighter).
If you’re thinking that curb weight is a bit chunky, it’s actually a bit lighter than the standard models. Thanks to less sound deadening in the engine compartment and the cabin, these Performance versions shed 17.6 pounds.
It’s not just a power upgrade, either
Naturally, getting that power down to the ground and being able to stop it is critically important. Audi didn’t forget either side of that coin, as it retuned the cars’ 8-speed automatic transmission and fitted grippier tires. The automaker retuned its 8-speed automatic transmission to deliver faster shifts and a more noticeable difference between the drive modes. The RS6 Avant Performance and RS7 Sportback Performance sport a new, lighter locking center differential.
Audi claims that should kill some of the understeer on the limit and deliver “more precise handling”, while sending up to 85% of the available power to the rear axle. Under normal driving conditions, the mechanical differential will split power 40:60 toward the rear, but it can also send up to 70% toward the front if needed. Audi says it also updated the software for “tighter load changes” in Dynamic mode.
As for wheel and tire packages, the new Audi RS6 Performance and RS7 Sportback Performance get a whole new affair. Each car gets bespoke 22-inch, 5-Y-spoke wheels. Not only are they designed to improve brake cooling, but they also cut 44 pounds of unsprung weight versus the normal models’ 22-inchers. With the new wheels, Audi also includes 285/30-R22 Continental Sport Contact tires. Against the standard tires, drivers could see up to 6.5 feet shorter stopping distances from 62 mph.
Thanks to the RS Dynamic Package, you’ll also see rear-wheel steering and a top speed of 180 mph. The “Plus” package is an option on top of that, bumping V-Max up to 190 mph and bringing in carbon ceramic brakes. Not only is that helpful to scrub off the extra speed, but that drops another 75 pounds off the curb weight.
What about interior changes?
Inside, the Audi RS6 Avant Performance and RS7 Sportback Performance look pretty much the same as their standard counterparts. You get matte gray and black trimmings throughout the cabin, while you can spec piano black or carbon fiber trim. Audi expanded the color palette to include Mercato Blue contrast stitching in addition to the usual red, and you also get more Alcantara (or Dinamica microfiber) than your standard RS models.
Information on U.S. pricing is not out yet, though both cars will make it to the U.S. market next year. When it launches in Europe, it will most likely start around €135,000 (or about $139,415).