2009 Audi RS6 Preview

Jeff Youngs | Dec 31, 2008
  • The most powerful A6 derivatives to date
  • Twin-turbo, 580-hp V-10 engine
  • 6-speed Tiptronic transmission
  • Standard quattro all-wheel drive (AWD)
  • Standard Dynamic Ride Control
  • "RS" stands for RennSport (German)
  • Sedan or Avant (wagon) body styles
  • Official introduction at the Paris Motor Show


Audi's A6 traces its lineage back decades, to the early Audi 5000 and 100/200 models. The comfortable, capable, and luxurious midsized sport sedan has always been built on a front-wheel-drive (FWD) platform, although more recent generations have featured Audi's quattro permanent AWD as an option. While the base Audi A6 is a perfectly capable 4-door sedan, Audi has frequently offered high-performance "S" derivatives with turbocharged or larger displacement engines, upgraded suspension, racing brakes, and sport-oriented interior and exterior treatments. The "RS" models are a step even higher, as they represent Audi's ultimate performance models.

In 2009, the facelifted Audi A6 will be sold in three different models (in both sedan and Avant body styles). The standard Audi A6 will feature a new supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 engine rated at 300 hp. Stepping up to the Audi S6, consumers will find much elevated performance with a race-bred 5.2-liter 10-cylinder engine rated at 435 hp. (The basic engine configuration is shared with the powerplant used in the Lamborghini Gallardo) As the competition from the Mercedes-Benz E63 and BMW M5 continues to raise the bar, Audi has introduced the RS6 for 2009. Available in either sedan or wagon body styles, the RS6 is the most powerful A6 model to date.


The engine in the 2009 Audi RS6 is essentially identical to the V-10 model that powers the S6, with the exception of twin turbochargers and direct injection. The changes add up to a class-leading 580 hp, and 479 lb.-ft. of torque. The new power is harnessed by a standard 6-speed Tiptronic transmission before it is sent to all four wheels by Audi's quattro permanent AWD. According to Audi, the RS6 models rocket from 0-60 mph in just 4.5 seconds and they will hit 125 mph on a test track in less than 15 seconds. Drilled and ventilated ceramic disc brakes are available for quicker stopping. Unlike traditional cast-iron brakes, the ceramic rotors are designed to handle more heat for better braking and they offer a much longer service life. The suspension package on both the sedan and Avant includes Audi's Dynamic Ride Control as standard equipment.

While the twin-turbo powerplant and suspension upgrades are hidden within, 20-inch wheels and a more aggressive aerodynamic body kit will immediately differentiate the RS6 from its siblings, as will the twin chrome exhaust pipes. Inside the sport-oriented passenger compartment, the RS6 features deeply bolstered leather racing seats, a thick flat-bottomed steering wheel, and carbon fiber trim throughout the cabin. Audi will officially debut the RS6 at the Paris Motor Show this fall.

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