2021 Audi RS 6 Avant Review: Path Vader

A press on the ‘RS’ button delivers one of two presets – we used the first as ‘sporty cruising’ and the second as ‘this is when the fun begins’. Thanks to all the tech onboard, you can adjust the behaviour of the steering, suspension, quattro all-wheel drive, sport differential behaviour, engine sound. 

Like other similarly-sized performance models, such as the Porsche Cayenne Turbo, RS Q8, or even the Lamborghini Urus, the RS 6 has lots of tech tricks to make it dance, including quattro (all wheel drive), sport diff (torque vectoring for quicker cornering), all-wheel steering (more agility), and adaptive air suspension. 

In comparison to the tall SUVs, the RS 6 is more jumping Jedi than lumbering Sith lord – they don’t have the high ground here, even if they’re less afraid of sand.

The Audi’s all-wheel drive and sport differential, matched with its wide, grippy tyres deliver prodigious acceleration with what seems like the maximum accuracy and point-ability possible for a five-metre long, two-tonne car. Ripping through the gears is also viscerally pleasing, as only a V8 can be, though with the amount of performance here you’ll probably only get to second or third before running out of room.

Like the previous car, there’s a colossal amount of forward traction thanks to the all-wheel drive system, but it doesn’t impinge on agility or accuracy, especially in comparison to super-SUVs. 

While the all-wheel steering makes for a very ‘turnable’ car, there’s no getting around the fact that this is a long, wide car – at 2,110mm wide it’s wider than a Lamborghini Aventador’s 2,030mm span. 

While ‘only’ 600hp is eclipsed by its rivals the BMW M5 and Mercedes-AMG E 63 S, on the road – especially Singapore’s roads – the power differences are merely academic since you quickly come up the fact that the horizons here are simply too small to unleash its full potential.

On track it’ll not be as fast as a supercar of course, but it’s clear that in real-world driving on wide highways and decently-sized B-roads, the RS 6’s combination of power, traction, and agility will allow it to keep up with pretty much anything. 

Just as well, since once you’re done chasing imaginary rebels and you turn the dials down, the RS 6 is really quite refined. Audi Sport typically pairs lots of daily civility in its RS models, but it’s been taken to a new level with the RS 6. 

Redirect power away from the weapon systems RS drive mode, and you find that the RS 6 is almost able to emulate a luxury limo. The air suspension softens up, the exhaust noise dies away, and the car can possibly even better the standard A8 limo in ride quality and silence – aside from the loud startup roar. 

It helps that the RS interior additions are subtle : Contrast red stitching, carbon trim panels, a flat-bottomed steering wheel, and nothing too loud – though you could throw money at the options list to alleviate that. 

It’s no longer a wolf in sheep’s clothing, but you can carry quite a bit with this sled. After all the high performance talk, remember that it’s still a station wagon and still capable as a regular cargo carrier.

There’s 565-litres of storage room with a big loading aperture and an auto tailgate, and flip the seats down you get 1,680-litres. There’s room enough for three adults in the back, not to mention younglings in appropriate seats so they are not in mortal peril. 

Huge 22-inch wheels don’t mean terrible ride quality

If there are any drawbacks, it’s all carbon-based. The RS 6 is a heavy, high-performance luxury car so it’s a guzzler. There’s now a 48V mild hybrid system which helps alleviate guilt, but don’t expect miracles: in person we never dipped below 13L/100km. 

Weapons Wagons for a more civilised age are already on the way, but looking at its combination of menacing style and high-performance paired to exceptional comfort and wagon usefulness, the RS 6 Avant could easily be all things to one driver.

To bring it back to the title premise, Vader isn’t an iconic villain just because he’s a badass, it’s his redeeming features that make him a compelling character, and it’s the same for the RS 6.

Audi RS 6 Avant 

Engine3,996cc, V8, biturbo 
Power600hp at 6000-6250rpm
Torque800Nm at 2050-4500rpm
Gearbox8-speed automatic 
0-100km/h3.6 seconds 
Top Speed250km/h
Fuel Efficiency13.2L/100km
VES Band C2 / +S$20,000*
AgentPremium Automobiles
PriceS$505,360 with COE
Verdict Super wagon performance to see off supercars and visuals to match, but still retaining the traditional RS usability 
*Increases to S$25,000 in July 1, 2021.

about the author

Derryn Wong
CarBuyer's chief editor has a keen interest in all things mechanical, technological, animal and mineral. He's particularly fascinated by eco-cars and cars which make no logical sense. An avid motorcyclist and photographer, he also enjoys cats.