The Audi A6 is a refined, powerful sedan. It’s a responsible type car that provides a fun ride and nice amenities. The Audi RS6 looks similar to the A6, but it sports a huge engine and tons of power that will leave sports cars trembling in its wake. You’d expect to find a turbo four-cylinder under the hood, or maybe a straight six. Forget that, the RS6 has a twin-turbo V10 that’ll rumble the fillings right out of your teeth.
The twin-turbo 5.0-liter V10 puts out a ridiculous 580 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque. That power is funneled through a new six-speed tiptronic gearbox that features both automatic and manual (steering wheel paddles) shifting settings and sports a reaction time of one-tenth of a second. The average time it takes for a human being to blink is three-tenths of a second, so Audi’s gearbox really is faster than the blink of an eye. As always, the automaker’s Quattro all-wheel drive system makes sure that the power goes to the right wheels to maintain optimal grip and control.
Of course, you can’t simply put all of that power into an A6 and call it a day. The suspension received an extensive overhaul to bring it to a level where it can keep all of that power on the road. The front suspension has eight (!) aluminum control arms that utilize a complex suspension geometry that delivers a smooth responsive ride. Audi’s Dynamic Ride Control (DRC) system of sway bars and anti-roll bars is the standard system to keep the car level, but they’ve added a bit of icing to the cake in the form of hydraulically connected shock absorbers. What happens is that when you go into a tight corner, extra fluid shifts into the shock absorber at the outside wheel, firming it up in order to maintain a level body. Of course, the suspension is electronically controlled so you can adjust the ride to three settings, Dynamic, Sport, and Comfort, depending on your preference.
The base RS6 has 19-inch wheels at the corners, covering 15.4″ front brake rotors and 14.4″ rear rotors. If you want to get Audi’s performance ceramic brakes, you need to upgrade to the 20-inch wheel package so that they can fit the massive 16.5″ rotors on the front. For comparison’s sake, the new Toyota Corolla comes with 15-inch wheels, so the brakes on the RS6 are actually bigger than a Corolla’s wheels.
The interior features a bunch of goodies and options, but the most most striking difference between the RS6′s interior and the A6′s is the front seats. The RS6 features sculpted sport seats that will keep you upright through the tight turns, holding you straight against the massive lateral g-forces this car can generate. The seats are, of course, upholstered in fine Silk Nappa leather.
Many people have described the 2009 Audi RS6 as an M5-killer, referring to BMW’s performance sedan. And that is an apt description. It is powerful, it is refined, it is sport, and it is German. What makes the RS6 top the M5 though, is the extra 80 horsepower and the Quattro all-wheel drive (the M5 is rear-wheel drive). So, if you’re got $100,000 or so to spend on a car, give the RS6 a shot.