Launched in 2002, the Audi RS6 celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. Auto-Moto tells you a few stories about this ringed sports car that combines performance and performance.
This year, Audi celebrates the 20th anniversary of its RS6. For the occasion, Auto-Moto returns to the saga of the sports car, in six stories you might not have suspected…
To give a brief history of context at the time, Audi was expanding and enjoying great success in motorsports. The manufacturer entered endurance racing in the late 1990s, and won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in its second participation in 2000, after a good 3rd place in 1999. Building on the success of the S line (S3, S4, S6, etc.) and the fan reception to the RS4 launched in 2000, Audi uses its Quattro sports division (today Audi Sport) to develop a more muscular car: the RS6.
The first generation V8 was produced by Cosworth in England
To power this new RS6, Audi uses the S6’s 4.2 V8, which delivers 340 hp and 420 Nm at the end. This base is equipped with two turbochargers thanks to the help of Cosworth. At that time, the British engine manufacturer was one of Audi’s subsidiaries (until 2004) and therefore partly produced this engine in its own regions, in England. The block assisted by double artificial respiration develops a unique output for the time: 450 hp and 560 Nm of torque. That’s the same as the Audi DTM of the Abt team that won the title in 2002! And that makes it the most powerful Audi at the time.
The front end had to be stretched by 4 cm to fit the engine
Obviously, with the addition of these two turbos, the engine takes up more space. The problem: it no longer fits under the supercharged A6’s hood. Therefore, Audi decides to expand the bodywork of the sedan and rest, and 4 cm more than the standard version. It’s hardly noticeable, except when the A6 and RS6 are side by side. To manage all these riders, Audi decided to ditch the manual transmission and offer, for the first time on the RS, an automatic transmission with a shifter. The manufacturer also includes a new optional chassis with mechanical damping, Dynamic Driving Control or “DRC”. This will then come as standard.
Only one generation benefited from the V10
The second generation Audi RS6, launched in 2008, is more advanced. It replaces its V8 with a 580 hp V10 5.0 biturbo. This powerful block produces 650 Nm of torque, and weighs 278 kg. The power is greater than that of the Audi R8 which, at the time, stood at 560 hp in its GT version. Dry sump lubrication system – the motorsport principle allows for a separate oil tank. This gives more perspective to the placement of the V10 engine, and therefore a lower center of gravity.
Stephan Reil, responsible for the development of the entire Audi RS 6 series and director of technical development today at the Neckarsulm site, recalls: ” The V10 with its twin turbochargers and manifolds is already a visual work of art and packs a punch. I don’t know of a better filled engine compartment than the RS 6 C6“. A true supercar in the body of a “daddy sedan” or a very basic family station wagon. Indeed, discretion was at that time one of the key features of the Audi RS, except for the oval exhaust of a good size.
The sedan body was discontinued in 2013
In 2013, with the transition to the third generation called “C7”, the RS6 seems to offer little at first glance. It loses its sedan body for a station wagon only, and returns to a V8 instead of the mysterious V10. But he is also losing weight. The station wagon gains more than 120 kg due to heavy use of aluminum. Despite its two cylinders being removed and 20 hp down, the RS6 station wagon gains in performance! The torque increases to 700 Nm and the car gets half a second in the exercise from 0 to 100 km / h (3.9 s) thanks to the new Tiptronic eight-speed gearbox. The Performance variant pushes the power up to 605 hp, while the torque increases to 750 Nm.
Pintle hook among the recommended options
The RS6’s catalog of options has been offered over the years, most notably air suspension to provide less comfort or more efficient ceramic brakes. In the third generation, a surprising option for such a sports car arrives on the list: a tow hitch. This trailer-towing capability makes the RS6 very versatile, as Stephan Reil explains. Between the third and fourth generation, “more than half of our European customers order a trailer“, he announces. ” This shows that customers are not only interested in driving the RS6, but also in meeting daily needs.“. Audi continues to offer this option today.
The fourth generation has very little to do with the regular A6 Avant
For the fourth generation RS6, launched in 2019, Audi keeps the same engine as the 4.0 biturbo V8 of 600 hp, which still offers a light hybrid of 48V and develops a “truck-like” torque of 800 Nm. What changes a lot, is the design. The sports station wagon is almost cartoonish as it shows off its muscles at first glance. Whereas the first three generations were wiser, The RS6 C8 takes on its sporty character with a body extended by eight centimeters, more attractive tires and rims. (21 inches as standard and 22 inches as an option) and a body kit that displays more. Depending on the brand, only the roof, front doors and tailgate are shared with the base A6 Avant. Everything else has been modified specifically for the RS6, including the independent engine cover that specifically allows the integration of the Audi Matrix LED lights and the laser light from the Audi RS 7 Sportback.
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