Driven: we experience the 2023 range of Audi RS performance models

There are few activities as enjoyable as spending a day with Audi RS models, especially around the iconic Kyalami racetrack. Audi recently invited us to test a range of their RS models, including the brand-new RS 6 and RS 7 models.

For those unfamiliar with the RS name, please feel free to read our article on the RennSport name:

Audi brought along a whole range of RS models, among which the iconic and original RS 2 Avant was ready for the media. Unfortunately, the latter was only there for a stagnant display.

The fact that this Avant wears “Porsche 911” wheel caps is no coincidence. The RS 2 Avant (B4 model) is the original RennSport model, a product created in collaboration with Porsche in the ’90s to make Audi’s offerings sportier, whilst keeping its luxurious design. Thus, this very model is a fusion of Audi’s 80 station wagon, paired with a 5-cylinder turbocharged engine, producing 232 kW and 223 Nm of torque. Alongside that, Porsche contributed their suspension, wheels, and brakes.

In the 1990s, a station wagon that could accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in just 5.8 seconds seemed like a fairytale.

However, the RennSport story didn’t end there, and to this day, Audi’s RS division continues to work wonders. The (B5) RS4 Avant, (C5) RS6 Avant, (B7) RS4, (C6) RS6, TT RS, (B8) RS4, RS 3, and of course, the R8, are just a few of the most iconic models under the brand.

Since then, the RS emblem has also embraced Q models (i.e., SUVs), and while these models are becoming more popular in South Africa, Audi remains attached to their station wagons and sport sedan models, and with good reason.

The brand-new RS6 and RS7 models are a continuation of the RS marvel, with both of these 2-ton vehicles accelerating from 0 to 100 km/h in a breath-taking 3.4 seconds. To put this into perspective, it’s only 0.6 seconds slower than the much lighter and powerful R8 V10 Plus.

This is mostly thanks to the 4.0-liter V8 twin-turbo engine, which produces 463 kW and a massive 850 Nm of torque. The turbocharger is now larger, delivering 2.6 bar of pressure, as opposed to the previous 2.4 bar.

Coupled with this is the 8-speed tiptronic gearbox, which changes gears faster and more smoothly than in the normal quattro models.

Naturally, it wouldn’t be an Audi RS article without mentioning the distinctive quattro system. It was Audi that introduced this 4-wheel-drive system, turning the rallying community on its head in the ’80s.

So, in both the RS6 and RS7 models, the quattro system will work with a 40:60 front-to-rear torque split, with slightly more attention given to the rear axle. However, should any of the other wheels require more power or more grip at any point, this quattro system can distribute the energy more evenly and proportionally.

Older Audi RS models were known for understeering due to the engine being pushed so far forward. However, this is a thing of the past with the new RS6 and RS7, thanks to the lighter and more compact central differential. We found that the steering action is now more direct and precise.

What further aids this is the fact that the massive 22-inch wheels are now made of titanium and, therefore, weigh 5 kg less than the original aluminum wheels. This reduces the overall weight by 20 kg. Additionally, the new Continental Sport Contact 7 tires (285/30) help not only reduce further weight but also provide a firmer grip on the road surface.

All of these factors also contribute to reducing the overall braking distance (from 100-0 km/h).

Both the RS6 and RS7 models will come with 6 electronically adjustable driving profiles. These include the efficiency mode (for better fuel consumption), comfort, automatic, and dynamic modes. The RS1 and RS2 profiles have also been added to give a boost of adrenaline.

The system has become so sophisticated that the engine will shut off under 160 km/h in the efficiency mode to consume less fuel overall.

Just like the original RS2 model, the RS6 and RS7 models bring together the worlds of sportiness and luxury. Both models feel sporty yet luxurious and extremely comfortable in the interior. A softer blue color and stitching have been introduced to break away from the red and black stereotype.

Furthermore, both models are equipped with a 12.3-inch Audi virtual cockpit and a gear change indicator (to assist with gear changes during manual shifting). Unlike other vehicles, it doesn’t feel like the vehicle is telling you what to do. Instead, the color of the display panel changes from green to yellow and red as the revolutions increase, much like in a true motorsport vehicle.

The RennSport emblem is once again right where it should be, striking a perfect balance between sporting performance and sophisticated luxury. The new RS 6 and RS 7 models are sure to leave a smile on everyone’s faces.

Both RS models will be sold with a 5-year / 100,000 km Audi Freeway Plan, with the prices as follows:

  • Audi RS6 Avant Performance: R 2,332,700
  • Audi RS 7 Sportback Performance: R 2,444,500

Leave a Comment