Space with sizzling performance: the RS7 Sportback (left) and RS6 Avant. Picture: SUPPLIED
Space with sizzling performance: the RS7 Sportback (left) and RS6 Avant. Picture: SUPPLIED

Audi has introduced steroid-boosted flagship RS models of its A7 Sportback and A6 sedan in SA.

Packing 441kW of power and 800Nm of torque from a 4.0 TFSI V8 turbo petrol engine, they offer family-sized space with scintillating performance, with the ability to scoot from 0-100km/h in just 3.6 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 250km/h but this can be increased to 280km/h with the RS Dynamic package.

The RS6 Avant, now in its fourth generation, is the more practical station wagon derivative while the second-generation RS7 Sportback more stylish curves.

It may have space for the labradors and bicycles, but there’s no mistaking the RS6 Avant’s sporting intent with its pumped-out wheel arches, aggressive RS bumpers, 22-inch wheels with 285/30 tyres, and gloss black honeycomb grille — features that are shared by the coupé-like RS7. Finished off by large oval RS dual exhausts and a rear diffuser, they both look like cars that can be driven straight from the family picnic to the racetrack.

HD Matrix LED headlights with laser lights come standard in both cars, and the RS7 gets an extra trick in the form of a tailgate spoiler that extends at a speed of 100km/h.

A 48V mild hybrid system (MHEV) can recover up to 12kW power under gentle acceleration and feed it into a lithium-ion battery, reducing fuel consumption by as much as 0.8l per 100km. The engine can also shut four of its cylinders under light loads, further improving fuel economy.

The V8 howls a full-bodied sound through its RS sports exhausts, which can be made even louder at the press of a button.

Power is fed to the quattro all-wheel-drive system via an eight-speed tiptronic and the cars fire off the line with a new launch control function. The quattro system adapts to driving conditions to shift up to 85% of the power to the rear wheels and up to 70% to the fronts.

The quattro sport differential, available with the optional RS Dynamic package, shifts the torque between the rear wheels as needed during sporty cornering.

The cars ride on RS adaptive air suspension that rides 20mm lower than regular versions of the A6 and A7, offering a choice between long-distance comfort and corner-attacking performance.

Progressive steering loads up more with increasing steering angle for precise feedback. Dynamic all-wheel steering comes as part of the extra-cost RS Dynamic package, reducing the turning circle at low speeds for more agility, while improving stability at high speeds. Lighter and more fade-resistant ceramic brakes are also optionally available.

Driving character can be changed at the press of a button through the Audi drive select system with six profiles. Individually configurable RS modes can be activated directly using a steering wheel button.

Sporty accents characterise the interiors of Audi’s RS duo, including RS sport seats in Valcona leather and a honeycomb pattern, and flat-bottomed perforated leather steering wheels.

Futuristic user interfaces include an RS monitor displaying drive system component temperatures, maximum g-forces and tyre pressures. The Audi virtual cockpit is available as standard on both of these performance models and features the RS Performance and Sport layouts.

The two cars’ sporting prowess comes with a remarkable level of leg room and practicality. Luggage capacity is a cavernous 565l in the RS6 Avant, expandable to 1,680l, while the RS7 Sportback offers 535l-1,390l.

An array of driver assistance systems includes lane change assist, park assist package and adaptive cruise control.

Pricing:

Audi RS 6 Avant TFSI quattro — R2,070,000

Audi RS 7 Sportback TFSI quattro — R2,173,500


The Nurburgring-taming RSQ8 is one of a barrage of new high-performance Audis being launched in SA. Picture: SUPPLIED
The Nurburgring-taming RSQ8 is one of a barrage of new high-performance Audis being launched in SA. Picture: SUPPLIED

* Audi has launched several other new high-performance quattro models in SA, to reach showroom floors at the beginning of April:

— The long-awaited RSQ8 holds the record for fastest SUV around the Nurburgring. Packing outputs of 441kW and 800Nm, the super-SUV is priced at R2,354,500.

— The large SUV is also available as an SQ8 turbodiesel with 310kW and 900Nm, and a R1,848,500 pricetag. The same engine powers the more family-orientated SQ7 which sells for R1,679,500.

— The Audi S8 arrives to take on high-performance models in the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes S-Class ranges. The V8-engined sports limousine has 420kW and 800Nm, and a pricetag of R2,484,000.

— The RS Q3 is the flagship model in Audi’s midsized SUV line up and arrives in two versions: the standard SUV shape for R1,094,000 and the more athletically styled Sportback for R1,128,000. Both wield 294kW and 480Nm.

— The mid-engined R8 supercar is available in two versions, a coupe priced at R3,336,000 and a spyder retailing for R3,592,500, both powered by a normally aspirated V10 with 449kW and 560Nm.

— The TT RS coupe (R1,062,000) and roadster (R1,113,500) with 294kW and 480Nm.

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