An extra dose of Performance (with a capital P) is coming to the Audi RS 6 Avant and Audi RS 7 Sportback. That’s right, Audi just revealed “Performance” versions of each model that will make both already-hot cars even hotter.
In case you’re in need of a reminder, an Audi “Performance” model is a version of an RS model that’s even more aggressive, powerful and sharper. All of the changes we’ll describe below apply to both the RS 6 and RS 7.
Audi begins the makeover with the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 under the hood. It gets larger turbochargers and an increase in boost pressure, resulting in an extra 30 horsepower and 37 pound-feet of torque. The new totals for both models are 621 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque. This matches the Mercedes-AMG E 63 S Wagon in torque, and bests it in horsepower. The 0-62 mph time is reduced by 0.2 second, getting it down to just 3.4 seconds.
Audi’s 8-speed automatic transmission is re-tuned for faster shifting times and a more noticeable spread in behavior between drive modes. A new center-locking differential is used that is both lighter and more compact — Audi says it can distribute up to 85% of drive torque to the rear axle. The new differential is also said to improve handling with “more precise cornering” and “less understeering at the handling limits.”
Weight reduction efforts are minimal but still present. Audi says it’s removed insulation in the engine compartment, interior and in the rear of the vehicle to enhance the in-cabin sound. This reduces weight by 17.6 pounds. Where you’ll really see weight chopped off the new Audi Performance models is if you opt for the newly available (and exclusive to Performance) 22-inch 5-Y spoke design wheels. The new wheels feature a design aimed to aid brake cooling, and fitting them chops 44 pounds of unsprung weight versus the regular cars’ 22-inch wheel option. Assuming you do opt for the lightweight wheels, Audi fits them with new, sticker rubber in the form of Continental Sport Contact 7 285/30/22 tires. Audi says these tires result in braking distances from 62-0 mph that are up to 6.5 feet shorter than the standard tires.
As for updated software, Audi says that fine-tuning of the engine software allows for tighter load changes in “dynamic” mode for more instant responses. However, there is no mention of changes made to the suspension or stability control systems for the Performance.
As you might expect, the RS Dynamic Package is fitted standard to the Performance models. This includes the rear-wheel steering system, a higher top speed of 180 mph and the Quattro sport differential on the rear axle. The RS Dynamic Package Plus is still optional, which further raises the top speed to 190 mph and swaps the steel brakes for a carbon ceramic brake package, dropping another 75 pounds.
On the appearance front, the Performance models get matte gray exterior trim all around. However, you can spec glossy black trim or carbon fiber trim if you so choose. Inside, you’ll find all sorts of blue accents. Mercato Blue is used for interior stitching throughout the cabin and more Dinamica microfiber (Alcantara) is used than on the regular RS models. The “Performance” branding is very subtle, as it doesn’t scream the special model name in many places at all. The most prominent display is weirdly in the front door puddle lamp projector lights that say “RS performance” on the ground at night.
Audi confirmed to us that the Performance models of the RS 6 Avant and RS 7 Sportback will both make their way to the U.S. next year, but a spokesperson said we'll need to wait for market-specific pricing and specs. European pricing is said to start at €135,000.