After Audi Sport boss revealed an “even stronger” RS6 is inbound, new spy shots give clues what to expect.
The Audi RS6 is in line to receive an “extreme” new special edition as the Ingolstadt firm gears up to celebrate its most successful performance models before going all-electric.
The new, top-rung Audi RS6 Performance will be revealed in coming months with output and acceleration boosted over the standard car and a raft of chassis revisions aimed at enhancing its dynamic behaviour.
Speaking at Audi Sport’s 40th anniversary celebration – at which he also hinted a more powerful five-cylinder Audi RS3 is inbound – division boss Sebastian Grams suggested Audi will emphasise the RS6’s popularity and status as a halo model – potentially with more power and a sharper dynamic remit.
Asked if the new Performance edition is the most hardcore version there will be of the RS6, he said: “No, we can go more extreme.”
He added: “You can see that we are sharpening our portfolio. We are always trying to take the maximum out of the technology. This is how I challenge my R&D department. We can go even further. We can make the car even stronger, even more performance, even sharper…
“But don’t forget the RS models are used on a daily basis: we are not trying to lose our DNA. An RS model needs to be an all-day car, but it needs to give performance if needed.”
New photographs of a camouflaged RS6 testing at the Nürburgring are thought to show this hotter new take on the super-estate, but beyond the addition of a chunky rear wing and subtle tweaks to the front and rear, it remains to be seen how extensively it will be differentiated from the standard car.
This mule is fitted with what looks to be a full race-spec roll cage, but it’s unclear whether the back seats remain, nor whether this is something that could make production.
Any limited-edition, range-topping V8 RS6 could arrive as soon as next year, with Grams confirming that Audi Sport will reveal a combustion car in 2024 – along with its first EV, based on the PPE architecture developed with Porsche, which is likely to be a hot version of either the upcoming Audi Q6 E-tron or Audi A6 E-tron.
Clues to the most ‘extreme’ RS6 were given by 2021’s radical, IMSA-inspired RS6 GTO concept, conceived by a team of apprentices to celebrate 40 years of Audi’s Quattro four-wheel drive system.
Modelled on the legendary Audi 90 Quattro IMSA GTO racer from the late 1990s, this outlandish one-off donned a retro red-and-white livery, track-style one-piece rims and a sprinkling of bespoke aero-enhancing bodywork elements. It was stripped out inside, too, to make way for a roll cage and bucket seats – although Grams’ preoccupation with everyday usability suggests these elements will remain on the drawing board.
Audi never confirmed whether it had fettled the concept’s drivetrain, but side-exit exhausts hinted at a degree of engine enhancement – or at the very least pointed to a much louder exhaust note.
Referring to the RS6 as “the RS model” and describing it as “the core product of our portfolio”, Grams hinted that its radical differentiation from the standard Audi A6 gives clues to what to expect from future electric RS cars, and so it remains a brand-shaping product.