The first Audi RS6 was formally presented at the Geneva Motor Show in 2002. The RS6 is based on the Audi A6 C5. After the Audi S6 Plus and the RS4, the RS6 is the third vehicle produced by the Audi subsidiary quattro GmbH and the first Audi model with a turbo-charged V8 engine. With a maximum output of 331 kW (450 hp) it was the most powerful engine from quattro GmbH until its successor entered production in 2008. The driving performance that the RS6 achieves despite its relatively high curb weight of just under two tons is correspondingly high. Only the sedan version of the RS6 was sold in the USA.

Production of the first generation came to it’s end towards the end of 2004. A total of 8081 vehicles of the Audi RS6 were built by Audi at the Neckarsulm plant. The RS6 plus was only available as a station wagon and was originally limited to 999 copies. The station wagon cost 101 050 euros without special equipment (as of April 6, 2004). The only RS6 plus sedan ever built cost 132,000 euros including individual equipment and was delivered to Austria. The successor to the first RS6 generation was presented in 2008.


The vehicle body of the RS6 was slightly different in some details compared to the standard version. Externally, it received much wider wheel arches, modified bumpers, front and rear honeycomb inserts, as well as modified side skirts and aluminum door sills with the RS6 logo. The larger standard 18-inch wheels (optionally 19-inch) and 255 mm wide tires also distinguish the vehicle from the standard A6. The body has been revised compared to the normal variant and is therefore more torsion-resistant.

The Audi RS6 was offered as a sedan and station wagon (Avant). The RS6 Plus, on the other hand, was only available as an Avant, with the exception of a single special edition RS6 Plus red sedan.

The most striking visual differences between the body of the RS6 and the standard Audi A6 C5 are:

  • wider fenders
  • wider side skirts
  • larger roof spoiler
  • Xenon plus headlights
  • modified front and rear bumper
  • oval tailpipes, double-flow
  • matt polished aluminum exterior mirrors
  • Standard light alloy wheels in the dimensions 8.5 × 18 inches (optional 19 inches)
  • Roof rails

The additional equipment for the RS6 Plus includes:

  • matt black chrome-plated add-on parts (only the exterior mirrors are in aluminum gloss, all other chrome-plated parts are black)
  • a sports exhaust system from quattro GmbH with black anodized tailpipes
  • 22 kW (30 PS) more maximum power (the maximum torque remained at 560 Nm)
  • standard 19-inch instead of 18-inch wheels
  • Brakes with perforated brake discs from quattro GmbH
  • Sports suspension Plus from quattro GmbH (optional at no extra charge)


The interior design is very similar to that of the standard model. There are RS6 logos in the instrument cluster and a speedometer that displays up to 310 km / h. It is equiped with standard Recaro seats with piped leather covers. The boot space of the RS6 sedan version has a capacity of 424 liters, whereas the Avant version has 455 liters (that could go up to 1590 liters when rear seats are folded).

The standard equipment of the RS6 includes:

  • Climate control
  • four electric windows
  • Recaro heated leather seats
  • Leather steering wheel with gear shifters levers
  • six airbags
  • Center armrest front and rear
  • CD radio with Bose sound system

The natural leather seats on the RS6 Plus come from the RS6 model as standard. For an additional charge, the RS6 Plus could be equipped with two-tone leather and Alcantara interior. These interior combinations could be ordered in three packages:

  • “Black Cognac” (black or cognac leather),
  • “Blue” (leather and Alcantara in black and blue) and
  • “Silver” (leather and Alcantara in black and silver).
  • The vehicle paintwork corresponds to the respective interior color (ebony black, sprint blue, light silver).

Every RS6 Plus comes with a unique number plate identifying the productioon number. The interior is equipped with carbon trim strips, shiny aluminum pedals and footrests. In addition, the navigation system available in the RS6 Plus was equipped with a DVD player, 16:9 screen and MMI (Multi Media Interface) operating system.


The V8 engine was built by Cosworth (England), which belonged to Audi between 1998 to 2004. The engine is based on the V8 engine of the Audi S6 C5 with a maximum output of 250 kW (340 hp), which was manufactured from 1999 to 2005. In the RS6, the engine has two turbochargers (biturbo) and two intercoolers. The engine block is made of aluminum and each cylinder has five valves. An additional water cooler is installed on the RS6 Plus model.

Due to the relatively high displacement of 4172 cm³, combined with the twin-turbo charging, the engine in the RS6 has a maximum output of 331 kW (450 hp) at 5700-6400 / min. It develops a maximum torque of 560 Nm, which is constant at 1950-5600 / min. Audi’s original plan was to deliver the RS6 with a maximum output of 368 kW (500 hp), but the automatic transmission has reached its peak at 331 kW (450 hp). Considering this the performance was not increased any further.

According to the manufacturer, carbon dioxide emissions are 350 g / km. The engine meets the Euro 3 emissions standard.

The RS6 Plus has upgraded sports exhaust system, sports brake and sports suspension. The engine on the RS6 Plus has been upgraded through software changes reaching maximum speed of 280 km/h. In addition, the RS6 Plus has two additional water coolers that are located directly behind the intercoolers. This additional water cooler was already available in the normal RS6 in the so-called “hot country version” (i.e. the version that was delivered to tropical countries). Thanks to the additional water cooler, the amount of cooling water is two liters more than that of the RS6 with just one water cooler.


The RS6 is exclusively equipped with the Tiptronic automatic transmission. It also enables you to change gears manually with the paddles on the steering wheel or with the gear selector lever.

The transmission is based on the 5-speed automatic transmission from the Audi A8 D2 W12 and has a dynamically controlled shift program. The switching times have been adjusted for the RS6 and are shorter. The Tiptronic also recognizes the driving style currently selected by the driver and varies the shift points accordingly. Even in sharp corners, this works better than a conventional torque converter automatic transmission and unwanted gear changes are avoided. A manual gearbox was not offered for the RS6.


The Audi RS6 was offered only with quattro all-wheel drive as standard. It has an electronic differential lock with driving dynamics control.


The RS6 has a special sports suspension with Dynamic Ride Control (DRC) counteracts the pitching and rolling movements of the body without electronics. It reduces “pitch” (movements around the transverse axis, such as diving in when braking) and “roll” (movements of the body around the longitudinal axis). For this purpose, the shock absorbers are diagonally coupled to one another; if the car dips into the front right, it no longer goes up automatically at the rear left.

This special damper system changes the characteristic of the shock absorber. The functioning of the system is based on the use of the oil volume that the plunging piston rod of the shock absorber displaces during compression and the resulting pressure change in the damping system. Ordinary shock absorbers compensate for the volume of the plunging piston rods with a compressible gas cushion (single-tube gas pressure damper) or with the help of an additional volume into which the displaced oil can expand (twin-tube damper).

Due to the diagonal connection of the respective front shock absorbers with the rear two coupled systems, the different pressure ratios are used when body movements occur in order to adapt the respective damper characteristics specifically for these driving conditions. This results in a comfortable basic set-up of the chassis, which at the same time counteracts possible pitching and rolling movements of the body in almost all driving situations.