Audi RS6 Avant Takes on S8 in Battle of Mega Powerful Body Styles


On paper, the Audi RS6 Avant has a clear advantage over the S8, but on the tarmac, it can’t seem to keep up.

There was a time when wagons were the preferred body style for those needing to haul families around – not crossovers and SUVs. Alas, those days are long gone, sadly. But we’d argue that those longing for the good old days won’t find a better wagon than the Audi RS6 Avant,  a snarling beast of a machine that’s equally capable of hauling tail and hauling the groceries. The question is – can it outrun its stablemate, the Audi S8 sedan? Well, Carwow is here to find out.

What makes this matchup particularly interesting is the fact that both of these cars are powered by a twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V8 that lays down 590 pound-feet of torque. However, the Audi RS6 Avant makes 591 horsepower, while the S8 offers up “just” 563, and the sedan surprisingly weighs a little over 300 pounds more. The RS6 Avant is also cheaper, with a starting MSRP of $109,000 versus $130,900 for the S8. Both cars come equipped with an eight-speed automatic gearbox and Quattro all-wheel-drive.

Audi RS6 Avant vs S8 Drag Race

This paper comparison is undoubtedly interesting, but what really matters is how these two cars stack up in the quarter-mile. And that comes as a bit of a surprise, as the S8 rockets ahead and takes the first win, though its driver believes he might have been “a bit premature off the line.” Thus, the two go at it again, and the result is exactly the same.

Audi RS6 Avant vs S8 Drag Race

“I think once again I’m just reacting a little bit quicker off the line,” our host says. “You’re not reacting quicker, you’re going before his hand drops,” the other driver quips. So on the third go, both cars leave together and the S8 still gains an early lead. “It seems to just be finding better traction because we were neck and neck,” the S8 driver says. “I just seem to have a bigger delay between gear changes than you,” the RS6 Avant driver notes. “When I was shifting, there was a large gap between when it engaged power again.”

While the S8 was the decisive and surprising winner here, the elapsed times – 11.4 seconds for the sedan and 11.6 seconds for the wagon – are undoubtedly close. However, our host does say that he managed to get an 11.4 out of the RS6 Avant on another occasion, so this is clearly a race that can go either way, depending on conditions and who’s behind the wheel. And once the two cars stack up for a few roll races, the RS6 Avant edges out its sedan counterpart each and every time, proving that in spite of their similarities, these two performance machines are quite different, after all.

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