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Audi RS6 V10: Buying guide and review (2008-2010)

Audi RS6 V10: Buying guide and review (2008-2010) Classic and Performance Car
Audi RS6 V10 Audi RS6 V10 Audi RS6 V10 Audi RS6 V10
Fast estate cars used to be rare tentative one-off experiments by manufacturers on the search for a new niche. Today they’re as commonplace as their saloon counterparts, and while most manufacturers offer some sort of multi-cylindered forced induction family estate, it is arguably Audi that truly championed the idea with the mighty RS2 Avant way back in 1993. 
 
The engineers have since shoehorned all manner of engines into the humble-looking estate cars, but perhaps the most extreme variant is the last-generation RS6 5.0 TFSI Quattro, launched in 2008. Following in the tradition of the well-established German horsepower race, Audi decided that it would bring a gun to a knife fight, fitting a 5.0-litre twin turbocharged V10 into its S6 estate. With a few very necessary modifications to the brakes and suspension the new RS6 was born. It was not only the most powerful estate car ever sold but with 572bhp it was also more powerful than a contemporary Ferrari 458 or Porsche 911 Turbo.
 
A saloon body style was introduced soon afterwards, and this autobahn monster was produced for 3 years before someone realised that they could cut the VW group’s carbon emissions in half if they put something smaller under the bonnet. So in 2010 a smaller capacity V8 was used in its replacement, making the V10 RS6 a unique car – and with the way the world is going, we may never see the likes of it again.
 
Which one to buy?
 
The V10 RS6’s price was pitched a lot higher than its logical rivals from Mercedes and BMW, however neither offered the all-weather security of four wheel drive or twin-turbo’s boosted performance. 
 
The basic running gear and trim offerings stayed the same for the duration of the production period, with a large list of extras and the choice of either saloon or estate body shapes being the only options available.
 
The only gearbox available for this engine was a 6-speed automatic with tiptronic function, the dual clutch S-tronic boxes of the time were unable to handle the amount of torque that the engine generated. The steering mounted paddles are in a fixed position and the gearbox will allow you to hit the rev-limiter without executing an up-change.
 
The lack of a seven or eight-speed gearbox is never missed and there are few cars out there that can out accelerate a V10 RS6 in-gear at motorway speeds. Pushed to the limits in the dry the RS6 is less happy, tending to push into juddery understeer. In fairness this is not what most owners will be doing with their RS6 and driven within its limits the RS6 is a surefooted machine with supple suspension. The cost of having 572bhp on call is paid at the pumps with fuel consumption happily dipping into the low teens when the performance is called upon.
 
The estate versions are a whisker heavier than the saloons but you would be hard pressed to notice any difference in performance, and the added practicality makes them the default choice for larger families. Specification levels were high with some of the standard features including a BOSE sound system and DAB digital radio, massive 20-inch wheels and heated sports seats. 
 
Some of the more desirable options to look out for are the solar sunroof which can operate the air-conditioner while the engine is turned off as well as carbon ceramic brakes. A good option for a car with this level of performance weighing two tons.
 
Performance and specs
 
Audi RS6 Saloon
Engine 4991cc 40 valve DOHC V10 
Power 572bhp @ 6250-6700rpm 
Torque 479lb ft @ 1500-6250rpm
Top speed 155mph (limited)
0-60mph 4.5 seconds 
Fuel consumption 21.7 mpg 
Gearbox Six-speed automatic
 
Dimensions and weight
 
Wheelbase 2846mm
Length 4928mm
Width 1889mm
Height 1456mm
Weight 1985kg
 
Common problems
 
Running a V10 RS6 is not for the faint hearted. Fuel consumption can easily dip below the 20mpg level and while specialists can carry out most of the servicing parts will need to be bought from the main agents. Reliability has proven to be excellent to date.

• Massive 20-inch rims and huge tyres mean that potholes should be avoided and tyre life tends to be around 17,000 miles, as the four wheel drive system apportions power to each corner relatively equally you may be replacing all four tires at the same time.

• The V10 engine is strong, and despite its huge output can handle higher levels of boost, prompting many owners to have the ECUs reprogrammed. Some cars have been pushed to beyond 700bhp, but it is wise to make sure that if any modifications have been carried out they have been done professionally. Even so, there is always an increased risk to mechacanical problems.

• Some of the earlier cars would fracture oil cooler pipes, however this can be repaired by specialists at moderate expense.

• The six-speed automatic gearbox is strong, but oil and filter changes every 20,000 miles are recommended to keep them functioning optimally.

• Brakes are well up to the task of slowing down the two ton RS6, and some came with the optional carbon ceramic setup. Replacement pads are pricey as would be expected on 390mm discs.
 
Model history

2008: Audi RS6 5.0 TFSI Quattro launched with 572bhp twin-turbocharged 5.0-litre V10. Only available with six-speed tiptronic automatic transmission. Initially only available in ‘Avant’ estate body style, but the saloon was introduced mid-year
2010: RS6 Plus models offered with large standard spec. Final RS6 5.0 TFSI Quattro built with replacement reverting to V8 power.
 
Owners clubs, forums and websites
 
• www.audisrs.com – Audi RS forum
• www.audiownersclub.co.uk 
• www.unit20.org – Audi specialists
 
Summary and prices
 
£45,000 is the number you are looking at for a late 2010, low-mileage RS6 with the perfect spec, but today £25,000 will net you a 2008 higher-mileage example. This is a huge amount of car for the money, and almost a quarter of what these models cost when new. 

The RS6 5.0 TFSI Quattro remains a technological tour-de-force with the ability to silence a full load of teenagers with the press of your right foot. The ability to embarrass supercars away from the lights is complemented by added practicality especially in the estate version. If you can afford the fuel and servicing, then why not? 
 
Words: John Tallodi
Audi RS6 V10 Audi RS6 V10 Audi RS6 V10 Audi RS6 V10
Last updated: 15th Dec 2015
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Audi RS6
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