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The crown jewel of Audi Sport‘s storied division is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. The RS6 first appeared on the scene in 2002, offering outstanding performance with everyday usability in a way that was quite unlike anything else at the time.

Four generation of the Audi RS6 by a lakeside
Audi celebrated the 20th anniversary of the RS6 in style

Four generations and 20 years later, the RS6 is still the benchmark of its segment. Between 1999 – 2002, Audi stole the show at Le Mans and would go on to become the second most successful team in the competition. Using their knowledge from the track, the Audi Sport team applied it to the A6. A twin turbo 4.2L V8 was chosen to power the RS6 but it wouldn’t fit in the A6’s engine bay! So, the team had to extend the width and length of the car to accommodate it. A torque converter auto and an ingenious Quattro system would help the RS6 from 0-100 in 4.7s.

Four generations of the Audi RS6 being photographed by a lake
Four generations of RS6, how the design has changed!

Audi’s ‘Dynamic Ride Control’ or ‘DRC’ was the hero of this RS6, ensuring the car could take on corners with pace. Six years later in 2008, the second generation burst onto the scene with the largest road going Audi RS engine ever made. A twin turbo 5L V10 sat at the nose of this beast! Weighing in at 278kg, the V10 would make the RS6 even more powerful than the R8 at the time.

Rear view of four generations of the Audi RS6
Evolution of the Audi RS6 through the years

The third generation would come along in 2013, returning to a twin turbo V8 powerplant. The sedan was discontinued this time around with the RS6 only available as a wagon. There was a 120kg weight reduction as more Aluminium was used, though power was never an issue with 700Nm on tap! It was far more fuel efficient too, a 30% improvement on the previous car. Most recently, the latest generation debuted in 2019. Audi calls it the best ever RS6 and it can hit 200kph in a brief 12 seconds! It is also the most aggressive looking RS6 and that’s because it barely shares any parts with the regular car.

Wow, the RS6 has been on quite a journey through these last two decades!

For more Audi news and reviews, visit Tarmac Life.

Words by Matthew D’Souza, pictures courtesy of Matthew D’Souza.

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