The superior output of 426 kW (580 hp) requires a powertrain that is just as potent. On the new Audi RS 6, a sportily configured six-speed tiptronic transmission feeds the torque to the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system, which is also configured for maximum dynamism.
The tiptronic six-speed automatic transmission is one of the new generation of transmission units that is currently being introduced to the Audi model range. Its extremely compact and lightweight layout means that it harmonizes perfectly with the dynamic character of the new RS 6. Its torque converter usually works with the lockup clutch closed. The electronic transmission management system, which orientates itself toward the driver's style, has been optimized with new, powerful software that links it directly to the engine.
Improved routing of the oil ducts makes the gearshifts even faster. The response time has been cut to one tenth of a second and the gearshift time has been halved – shifting down with kickdown now takes less than a second. The transmission ratios have been systematically shortened. When the throttle is opened, the most powerful series-production Audi ever can still pick up speed impressively even in sixth gear.
The driver can select sport mode ("S") at the selector lever. The tiptronic then executes upshifts later, and the gears can also be changed manually, either with the selector lever or with the shift paddles. The aluminum-look shift paddles are located on the back of the steering wheel rim and are turned along with the wheel.
Grip and safety: the quattro drive system
The new Audi RS 6 also transfers its power to the road via the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system – the superior traction and the greater sense of driving enjoyment that it conveys are classic strengths of the brand. The quattro drive system is another winning technology that Audi has taken from motor sports. Its current generation with asymmetric/dynamic torque distribution highlights yet again the philosophy behind the brand motto "Vorsprung durch Technik".
A Torsen center differential (Torsen = torque-sensing), located longitudinally in the drive train, distributes the torque to the front and rear axle. In normal situations, 40 percent of the force is fed to the front axle and 60 percent to the rear – a slightly rear-driven emphasis. This further underscores the dynamism of the RS 6.
If road conditions change, for example if a wheel moves onto slippery asphalt, the differential, which works on a purely mechanical basis, instantaneously changes the distribution in favor of the axle with the better traction. It is possible for up to 85 percent of the force to be fed to the rear axle and up to 65 percent to the front axle. If one wheel on an axle should start to spin, it is braked by the electronic differential lock (EDL). However, this situation is very rare.
For the driver, quattro permanent all-wheel drive means maximum agility, extremely stable handling and uncompromising grip at the end of the bend, even on wet roads, while the competitors look on helplessly with their two driven wheels. The relatively low weight of the engine means a well balanced distribution of the axle loads. The battery and energy management system are accommodated in the luggage compartment, which supports this effect even further.
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