2021 Audi RS6 Review. Best fast wagon ever?

Audi RS6 Review

Fast wagons are Audi’s thing, and the new Audi RS6 is Audi’s best yet. We grabbed one for a week and had a ball, read our 2021 Audi RS6 Review.

2021 Audi RS6 Specifications

Price: $216,000+ORC Warranty: three years, unlimited kilometres Safety: Untested Engine: 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8 petrol engine Power: 441kW at 6250rpm Torque: 800Nm at 2050-4500rpm Transmission: eight-speed automatic Dimensions: 4995mm long; 1951mm wide; 1497mm high; 2934mm wheelbase

Imagine riding a crocodile while walking two Rottweilers; that’s kind of what it’s like driving the Audi RS6. Everything is nice and calm but you know you’ve real firepower at your fingertips.

Audi has cornered the market on fast wagons. From the limited-run 232kW/410Nm Porsche-powered RS2 Avant of the 1990s (the first Audi RS vehicle), to the full-run RS4 and RS6 sedans and Avants (station wagon to you and I). And in my humble opinion, no-one does it better. These things combine family-friendly practicality with supercar performance and quattro all-wheel drive for all-weather ferocity.

Audi RS6 Review

Me, I’ve never got the SUV craze. I’ve always been a sucker for a fast wagon and even if I woke up tomorrow morning as rich as a footballer (the round ball variety), I’d walk straight past everything and begin talking to the salesperson about one of these things. And that’s because, while I like fast things, I’ve also got a family. And there ain’t no SUV on the planet that can match the RS6.

The RS6’s old Lambo-sourched 5.0-litre V10 might now be a distant memory ( and while the 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8 is a smaller engine it packs a bigger punch with 441kW and 800Nm of torque between 2050-4500rpm, running to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. Want some more numbers? It’ll go from stopped to 100km/h in an eye melting 3.6 seconds. Then, after you’ve finished demolishing supercars on the drag strip, you’ll be able to pick up that bookcase from Ikea…the boot offers up to 1600 litres of storage space when you fold down the back seats.

Audi RS6 Review

Let’s just digress and stay with the interior for a moment. It’s an incredibly plush place to spend time with seats that are both comfortable for longer drives (with a seat base extender for those of us with long legs) and just the right amount of grip to keep you in place as your internal organs slosh about under the incredible cornering forces. The backseat is similarly comfortable with good leg, head and shoulder room and with nice wide door openings for taller passengers.

Audi RS6 Review

There are a raft of creature comforts from the tri-zone climate control, heated and cooled front seats, to three hi-res screens (the two in the dashboard offer haptic touch) and wireless phone connectivity, double-glazed glass, and the naked-esque carbon-fibre dash inlay on our test car feels sensational to the touch. And the digital Virtual Cockpit display is easily the best in the class. But it’s nods to the original Quattro that made this nerd most happy, like the hockey stick tacho when you select one of the sportier driving modes.

Audi RS6 Review
Audi RS6 Review

In all, the RS6 offers a blend of comfort and luxury that makes it a stand out in its segment and, if I’m being honest, any segment. There’s loads of room in the front and the back, the boot is big with 565 litres growing to 1680 litres with the back seats folded down. The boot opening is nice and wide and the boot floor is nice and flat with minimal load lip. What I’m getting at is this is a properly practical station wagon that’ll swallow a bike or the family and all its luggage.

Audi RS6 Review

Okay, it’s comfortable and it’ll carry stuff. Great. Now, what’s it like to drive? Well, over the years, the RS6 has always been stupid fast but it’s never really been sophisticated. And by that I mean you had to guide the thing carefully around town to avoid charging around like a wounded bull.

But this current car has everything that opens and shuts to make it a thoroughly modern and sophisticated performance vehicle. It’s proper Jekyll and Hyde stuff. Meaning it’s comfortable tip-toeing around town as if butter wouldn’t melt in its mouth and equally at home rampaging around the countryside like a loon. And the transition from one to the other is seamless.

Audi RS6 Review

There’s so much throttle adjustability and feel, that gliding around at 60km/h is a cinch and such is the nature of the RS6 that it doesn’t ever feel like it’s being held back. Ease your foot a little deeper on the throttle and nudge the stubby gear shifter into Sport mode and the RS6 will explode towards the horizon, rapid-firing through the gears and blurring your vision (I’m not kidding).

The straight line speed is one thing but it’s how the RS6 carries that speed through corners that’s truly astonishing. Few vehicles I’ve ever driven can make ludicrous speed feel so ‘safe’ and comfortable.

Thanks to all-wheel drive (40:60 bias with up to 85% of oomph able to be sent to the rears), four-wheel steering and a very clever sports differential you can keep your foot buried in the carpet and the RS6 will grip and tear its way around the corner. Indeed, you’ll one hand (although I recommend always driving with two hands on the wheel) this thing around corners that will have you white-knuckled and sphincter quivering in other vehicles.

Audi RS6 Review

The four-wheel steering system is incredible, allowing it to turn in with a sharpness the RS6 has never had before. And the ride, even on its whopping 22-inch alloys and paper thin rubber, is glorious. No, really. Even across rougher surfaces there’s no chattering, thump-through or banging off sharp-edges.

Obviously there are a bunch of driving modes to choose from but, me, I left the thing in Auto which allows the system to do things like adjust the ride height (adjustable air suspension) and tweak the dampers from soft to hard in the blink of any eye. But if you really want to get your geek on you can thumb the RS button on the steering wheel which allows you to further tailor the RS6 to suit you and your driving style.

There’s a whole heap of electronica going on in the RS6, from the way you can adjust how it drives from soft to bonkers at the press of a button, to a raft of active safety systems, and high levels of creature comforts and techno-wizardry. But there are also some nods to the past with the gaping grille, pumped guards and hockey stick tacho all nods to the original Quattro.

The RS6 is proper Jekyll and Hyde stuff. You’ve got power and aggression matched with real practicality.

Audi RS6 Review

And that’s what makes the RS6 Avant so good…it can do all the family friendly stuff with ease but then it can go and take chunks out of supercars. Some might pick on the RS6 for lacking any stand out features, like others in the segment. But to do that is to miss the point.

The Audi RS6 is one of the finest sports vehicles Audi has ever made and the fact the engineers have managed to build a vehicle that is the sum of each and every one of its parts is to be applauded. This is a fast wagon that is all the car you or I could ever need. Or want. Now, I wonder whether selling an arm and a leg would raise the $216,000 plus on-road costs needed to buy an RS6?

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Isaac Bober has been writing about cars and 4x4s for more than 20 years, has worked on some of the country's biggest motoring magazines (remember what they were?), and launched Practical Motoring. Now he's back, back again... to share dad jokes and much more.