I’m obsessed with the idea of the “forever car”. What is that, great question. A rich and powerful person, a genie, or a government official, appears and says that you can have one car, for free, but you have to keep it forever. All of the fuel, maintenance, insurance, all that stuff is on you. What do you pick? It’s one of those daydreams that car enthusiasts have, when in reality it’s never going to happen. Still, its a fun exercise, and my loaner this week might just fit the bill. Audi sent me this gorgeous 2023 RS 6 Avant, and I think I need it in my life.
(Note, I had some amazing photographic assistance on this one via my new buddy Mason, so his stuff is specifically called out specifically in the (numerous) galleries below, the rest are mine. Kudos to him for finding the ridiculously cool Graffiti Alley as well as a abandoned(ish) train depot nearby, both in Baltimore, MD.)
Photos by Mason
2023 Audi RS 6 Avant Overview
I’m going to try and follow my normal review procedures and format, even though this is far from an ordinary car. Starting your build is pretty straightforward, there is only one version of the RS 6 Avant, and it starts at $121,900. From there, strap in.
Our tester also had the following:
Sebring Black crystal effect ($1,095)
Carbon Optic Package ($6,350)
- 22″ 5-V-spoke trapezoid design cast aluminum wheels, gloss black finish, with summer tires
- Black roof rails
- Carbon Optic exterior elements (door blades, front & rear bumper inserts)
- High-gloss black exterior elements (badges, grille, window surrounds, front & rear bumper inserts)
- Carbon exterior mirror housings
Ceramic brakes with gray calipers ($8,500)
Executive Package ($2,750)
- Extended leather package (center console, door armrests, upper part of instrument panel)
- Heated rear seats
- Head-up display
- Power soft-closing doors
- Remote park assist plus
Driver Assistance Package ($2,250)
- Audi adaptive cruise assist with lane guidance
- Audi side assist with rear cross traffic assist
- Intersection assist
- Audi pre sense rear
- Traffic sign recognition
Sport exhaust ($1,000)
Dynamic Ride Control suspension ($1,250)
Black Dinamica headliner ($3,000)
Night vision assistant with large animal and pedestrian detection ($2,500)
Bang & Olufsen 3D Advanced Sound System ($4,900)
- 19 speakers including 3D sound speaker, center speaker, subwoofer, and aluminum speaker covers
- 19-channel amplifier with a total output of 1,820 watts, fully digitized with highly efficient ICEpower technology and BeoCore amplifier
- Symphoria® 3D algorithm by Fraunhofer IIS
- 2 automatically extending acoustic lenses on the instrument panel and Digital Signal Processor (DSP)
And, well, even more. Take a look below.
All in you’re looking at $158,105 with a $1,000 gas guzzler tax. Obviously that last bit is a drop in the bucket compared to the overall price tag, but let’s find out if this is “forever car” material.
2023 Audi RS 6 Avant Inside & Out
The RS 6 is menacing, particularly in black. Honestly some of the details are lost in the dark color however, especially with the preponderance of black bits of trim across the exterior. I like that the 22-inch (!) wheels aren’t all black, it would have been too much darkness. While the slanted split Y-spokes aren’t my favorite wheel design ever, it’s a great looking car from front to rear.
And it’s wide. So wide. It was so wide that I scrunched up my shoulders as I entered graffiti alley to help make the car more narrow. How wide exactly, well the overall width without mirrors is 76.8 inches. For comparison, a 2023 Ford Bronco Big Bend 4dr 4WD w/Advanced package comes in at 75.9 inches! It’s almost an inch wider than a damn Bronco! Of course, once you add in the big truck-like mirrors the Bronco gets the edge in total width, but still it’s an intimidating thing to drive, particularly in the city. For a more direct comparison a 2023 Mercedes Benz E 63 S AMG wagon is a full 1.7 inches narrower.
Photos by Mason
But the width if what gives the RS 6 it’s presence, as does the sloping rear roofline. The carbon fiber bits are tasteful and can be found in a handful of locations, most notably covering the side-view mirrors and rear diffuser. When the RS 6 pops up in your mirror, it’s very noticeable, and you should probably get the hell out of the way. This car is difficult to drive slow, more on that in a bit.
Photos by Mason
The interior is a different story, while the exterior is full-Darth Vader, the Cognac-colored leather make the RS 6’s cabin actually feel a bit light and airy. Naturally in a six-figure vehicle, the list of standard stuff is a mile long. On the comfort side, in addition to the gorgeous leather interior, the front seats are heated and ventilated, the flat-bottomed wheel is heated, there is a four-zone automatic climate control system, and the rear has manual sunshades. On the tech side, you get the latest Audi Virtual Cockpit digital cluster, a great looking dual touchscreen setup with 10.1-inch top and 8.6-inch on the bottom, Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay, wireless charging pad (with a phone signal booster), and more.
That list of upgrades and packages is significant, so for example in the Executive Package you get even more leather, heated rear seats, a heads-up-display, soft-close doors, and lots more. It’s a massively comfortable place to spend time. The seats, naturally, are fabulous and I loved that the center console was the same height as the the shifter. On longer drives, I was able to have my elbow on the armrest and have my hand comfortably resting on the shift lever.
Criticisms were incredibly minor. I’m just old enough to appreciate that there was no massage function, which is ashame based on the price. The button that typically activates it on (much cheaper) Audis was blank. Also, like some other Audis, there isn’t really anywhere to store your phone aside from the cupholder. There is a spot inside the center console (also where you can wirelessly charge) but I have one of those pop-sockets on my phone (I take a lot of pics, shut up) so that’s not an option. Finally, the front cup holders pinch the bottom of a 20 oz soda, making it difficult to pull said soda out without spilling it. Yes, I could take the screw top off each time but who’s got time for that? You need your hands on the wheel at all times.
Rear seat room was ample, with 37.4 inches of legroom (which is a good bit more than the E 63 wagon’s 36.1 inches). My grumpy (almost) 16-year old daughter did not complain about the rear seat room. Meanwhile, cargo capacity is 30.0 cu. ft. which was plenty for my needs (didn’t get a pic of my youngest’s Bauer hockey bag in there, sorry it’s the off-season) but is significantly less than the Benz’s 35 cu. ft. Otherwise most of the other measurements, like front headroom and legroom for example, were generally within an inch of each other.
At night the RS 6 is just as cool, with a host of gauge cluster options to choose from, plus the ability to change the ambient lighting depending on mood. Plus, you get dual “RS” puddle lights, if that’s your kind of thing.
We took a lot of pics, sorry not sorry. This semi-abandoned train maintenance depot was just down from graffiti alley. I say semi because it appears that they do store some stuff in the main building, but the platform off to the side was in disrepair.
Photos by Mason
2023 Audi RS 6 Avant On The Road
As I sat in the Lexus RX hybrid that came before the RS 6, I saw it. I even captured the moment for posterity, complete with a little rev by the delivery dude from DriveShop at the end.
It delivers a tremendous first impression, though I immediately wished it would be a little bit louder. Even in full RS mode it’s a little too quiet and subdued considering the monster 4.0L twin-turbo V8 under the hood. With 591 horsepower and 590 lb-ft I wanted it to sound a little scarier, especially since it has the upgraded RS sport exhaust. The RS 3 that I reviewed recently was also a bit quiet in regular mode, but in RS mode it was loud and proud. Still, the flip side is that is extremely docile in comfort mode. You cruise in comfort barely hearing the engine or exhaust, and the adaptive suspension delivers a super smooth driving experience.
It’s blisteringly fast, you mash the throttle and hold on. Your head will immediately get mashed into the headrest and Audi’s computer system keeps everything on track. I even goosed the throttle with the wheel turned in the rain pulling out on a road and there wasn’t so much as a tire chirp. It just goes.
On my first drive, I got a thumbs up from an RS 7 driver who I merged in next to on the highway. Speaking of the highway, it is pretty difficult to drive the RS 6 slowly. Even a partial throttle press will see you crest past 80 mph without trying. The lane departure system is a little aggressive, and you better not even think about changing lanes without signaling (insert BMW-driver joke of your own) as it it will attempt to wrestle the wheel from your hand.
The upgraded driver assist package also gets you forward collision mitigation (which helped me during a rapid stop on I-95 heading to Baltimore from DC) plus a nice top-down 360-degree camera system that was helpful when navigating a narrow city alley.
There are loads of screens to poke through in order to get your RS 6 to act the way you want it to, including two RS modes. You can click through everything from the suspension setting to the engine sound. Though I did wish that there was an option after “present” to “oh shit that’s loud”.
Still, I’m not sure I’ve experienced a better mix of highway cruising and bananas acceleration, except for the Lamborghini Urus, which is significantly more expensive by nearly $100,000. The only downside out on the road was the fuel consumption. Typically when I get a loaner I may fill it up once in a week, the RS 6 visited the pumps for the high test stuff 2-3 times. But I have a heavy foot and downshifted to all the way to 1st gear every time I stopped.
In the end, I didn’t want the RS 6 to leave, I may have even hugged it goodbye. For the price, it was a little subdued but I could see it being part of a multi-car garage as a daily driver for an exotic car owner. The mix of comfort and speed is incredibly enticing at any price. It’s no surprise that the primary rival, the E 63 S wagon, starts at $121,000 which only $900 less than the RS 6. Pile on the options and you’ll end up with a similarly expensive finished product. You can’t lose either either uber-wagon though, and anyone remotely considering a fast four door should check out an RS 6 immediately.
I will keep it firmly atop my “someday” forever car list, though I might opt for the Ultra Blue metallic paint color if it were mine though. But I’m a bit of an extrovert.
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