Volvo V60 VS Audi RS6
- Stunning design inside and out
- Strong value for money across all grades
- Big on safety equipment
- Lower grades only have one powertrain option
- Ownership costs
- Climate controls through media screen
- It's a high-performance wagon
- Outstanding fit and finish
- Even more torque
- More angular styling
- Rear legroom could be better
The Volvo V60 is perhaps the best representation of how far Volvo has come in recent years. Why? Because it’s not an SUV - it’s a wagon. It’s a modern-day counter-argument to the XC40 and XC60 models that have impressed many over the past few years.
But is there a place for a mid-sized Volvo wagon? One that sits low to the ground and isn’t nearly as boxy as those of old?
Read on to find out.
|Engine Type||2.0L turbo|
|Fuel Type||Premium Unleaded Petrol|
The Audi RS 6 Avant is sacred ground for car geeks. See, we might barely agree on much in terms of what the ultimate driver's cars are but there are certain vehicles that are so awe inspiring they’re almost a protected species in our world, and the Audi RS Avant is one of them.
If you’re new to this idea and have only just stumbled onto the RS 6 Avant, then welcome. You’re just in time because the new-generation RS 6 Avant has arrived.
You only need to know three things at this point. The first is, an RS 6 is a high-performance version of the A6. The second is, Avant is Audi speak for wagon. And the third is, no you can’t get it in a sedan. The next best thing though is the RS 7 Sportback which shares the RS 6 Avant's engineering and features.
If this isn’t your first RS 6 Avant rodeo, then you’ll want to know what’s new and if this new one lives up to the legendary reputation.
|Engine Type||4.0L turbo|
|Fuel Type||Hybrid with Premium Unleaded|
Look at the V60 before you - you can’t tell me it isn’t one of the best looking cars on the road. Well, actually, you can tell me - do it in the comments section below.
The car we had on test was the mid-range T5 Inscription, and the colour is called Birch. It’s a beautiful colour, and helps the svelte lines of the V60 stand out and blend in, all at the same time.
All models have LED lighting across the range, and Volvo’s ‘Thor’s Hammer’ theme Volvo adds a little aggression, too.
The rear lives up to the boxy Volvo wagon look you’d expect, and in fact, it almost looks like the XC60 SUV at the back. I like it, and I like what it offers, too.
It carries its size well, being identical in most dimensions to the S60 sedan. It measures 4761mm long on a 2872mm wheelbase, it’s 1432mm tall (just 1mm taller than the sedan) and 1850mm wide. That makes it 126mm longer (96mm between the wheels), 52mm lower but 15mm narrower than the last model - and it’s built on the brand’s new Scalable Product Architecture - which is the same underpinnings from the range-topping XC90 to the entry-grade XC40.
The V60’s interior design is familiar to Volvos from the past three or four years. Take a look at the interior pictures below.
There’s something beautiful about the design of fast wagons, regardless of the brand. It’s that performance meets practicality combination, but Audi really is the master of it.
Audi doesn’t just take an A6, add big wheels and then shout, “let’s hit the showers!” Well, the wheels are definitely large, but there are only four body panels shared between the A6 Avant and RS 6 Avant – the roof, front doors and the tailgate. The rest of the panels are unique to the RS 6.
Look at those flared wheel guards – they extend out 20mm more than a regular A6’s.
This new-generation RS 6 Avant shares the same face as the RS 7 Sportback with the broad black mesh grille, narrow headlights, gigantic side air intakes and a thin upper air inlet which is a hat tip to early racing Audis.
All those sharp edges match its body which is more angular and ‘shredded’ than the previous generation’s curvy shape. Add the 22-inch alloys, plus the huge oval tailpipes (set into that chunky diffuser framed by the aluminum trim) and this RS 6 Avant is verging on Hot Wheels territory.
While the eight-year old kid in me thinks that’s awesome, the grown up me reckons it’s a bit too much. Historically, part of the appeal of the RS 6 Avant was its restrained styling – the thug in a suit.
While RS 6 Avant’s exterior is different to a regular A6’s their interior designs are almost identical. It’s a stunning cabin dominated by a dash which protrudes back towards the passengers and houses the media screen.
Anther display for climate is set into the big centre console which divides the driver and co-pilot into almost cocooned cells.
The cabin isn’t without its RS touches though. There’s the sports seats with honeycomb stitching, fully digital instrument cluster with RS specific meters, the RS steering wheel, aluminium inlays, plus Nappa leather on the dashboard and doors. The level of fit and finish is up there with the best that I’ve seen on any production car.
The RS 6 Avant is 4995mm long, 1487mm tall and 1951mm across, for a wide planted stance.
The Swedish brand’s current interior design language is premium, plush, but not sporty. And that’s totally fine.
The cabin of the V60 is lovely to look at, and the materials used are all sumptuous - from the wood and metallic elements used on the dashboard and centre console to the leather on the steering wheel and seats. There are some lovely elements like the knurled finishes on the engine starter and other controls, too.
The 9.0-inch tablet-style vertical media display is familiar, and while it may take a week of driving to figure out how the menus work (you have to swipe side-to-side for detailed side menus, and there’s a home button down the bottom, just like a real tablet), I find it mostly very usable. However, I do think the fact you control the ventilation (air con, fan speed, temperature, air direction, seat heating/cooling, steering wheel heating etc) through the screen is a little annoying. However, the de-mister buttons are exactly that - buttons.
The volume knob below doubles as a play/pause trigger, and you get steering wheel-mounted controls as well.
Cabin storage is okay, with cup holders between the seats, a covered centre bin, bottle holders in all four doors, and a rear flip-down armrest with cupholders. But there isn’t as much in the way of smarts as, say, a Skoda wagon.
Now. The wagon bit. The best bit of all!
The V60 wagon is clearly a more practical pick than the S60 sedan, with 529 litres of cargo space (the S60 has a still decent 442L boot). The rear seats fold down flat for extra room, and there’s also a clever partition wall you can erect to stop things moving around in the boot. The opening is a good size, easily broad enough to make loading luggage or a pram in easy. The boot can cope with the bulky CarsGuide pram and a large suitcase side by side, with space to spare.
Sure, the RS 6 has supercar acceleration but it’s also a large station wagon. So, it’s super practical, too, right?
Well not as much as you might think. See it’s not the most spacious of wagons. Up front the stepped dash protrudes into the passenger’s space, the door pockets are thin and the centre console storage under the armrest is small.
Legroom in the back could also be better – at 191cm (6'3") tall I can only just fit behind my driving position, although headroom is good. The door pockets in the rear are larger and there are two cupholders in the fold-down centre armrest (another two up front).
The boot’s 565-litre cargo capacity isn’t bad and almost matches the Alpina B5 Touring’s 570 litres.
For phones there’s a wireless charger and two USB ports in the centre console storage box, while back seat passengers have two USB ports and a 12V outlet. There are also directional air vents and dual-zone climate control in the rear, too.
While the RS 6 seats five, the middle passenger in the second row will have to straddle the hump over the drive shaft.
While wagons have lower load lips to their boots making them easier to fill with luggage or shopping bags, SUVs are easier on the back when it comes to loading children into car seats.
Price and features
The V60 wagon line-up is attractively priced, with entry level variants undercutting some of the big name competitors.
The starting point is the V60 T5 Momentum, which is priced at $56,990 plus on-road costs (a $2000 premium over the equivalent S60 sedan). The Momentum has 17-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and tail-lights, a 9.0-inch multimedia touchscreen supporting Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as DAB+ digital radio, keyless entry, auto dimming rear vision mirror, auto dimming and auto folding wing-mirrors, dual-zone climate control and real leather trim on the seats and steering wheel. It also gets a power tailgate as standard.
The next model up the range is the T5 Inscription, which lists at $62,990. It adds plenty of additional gear, with 19-inch alloy wheels, directional LED headlights, four-zone climate control, a head-up display, a 360-degree parking camera, auto-parking assist, wood interior highlights, ambient lighting, heated front seats with cushion extensions, and a 230-volt power outlet in the rear console.
Stepping up to the T5 R-Design gets you more grunt (info in the engine section below), and there are two options available - the T5 petrol ($66,990) or the T8 plug-in hybrid ($87,990).
Extra equipment for R-Design variants includes ‘Polestar optimisation’ (a bespoke suspension tune from Volvo’s performance division), 19-inch alloys with a unique look, a sporty exterior and interior design pack with R-Design sports leather seats, paddle-shifters on the steering wheel, and mesh metal interior finishes.
There are some packs available to add more to your V60 if you want it, including the Lifestyle Pack (with panoramic sunroof, tinted rear glass and a 14-speaker Harman Kardon stereo), the Premium Pack (panoramic sunroof, rear tinted glass and a 15-speaker Bowers and Wilkins stereo), and the Luxury Pack R-Design (nappa leather trim, blonde head-lining, power adjustable side bolsters, front massage seats, heated rear seat, heated steering wheel).
The Audi RS 6 Avant lists for $216,000. That might sound like a lot of money but to put it in perspective, when the RS 6 Avant was first introduced to Australia in 2003 it was $220K.
Coming standard are the enormous 22-inch alloy wheels, matrix LED headlights with laser lights, metallic paint, a panoramic glass sunroof (which is new to the model), privacy glass, a head-up display, soft-close doors and red brake calipers.
Inside there’s the Bang & Olufsen 16-speaker sound system (that's new, too), sat nav, the 12.3-inch 'virtual instrument cluster', wireless Apple CarPlay (new, as well), wireless charging, full leather upholstery with RS sport front seats that are heated and now come with ventilation as standard, and four-zone climate control.
I’ve left off all the standard RS mechanical equipment, but I’ll cover that in the driving section below.
Is it good value? Well, its direct rival is the Mercedes-AMG E 63 S Estate, but that’s not sold in Australia, the nearest to this is the C 63 S Estate for $170K. And while BMW hasn’t made an M5 Touring since 2010 there is the Alpina B5 Touring which lists for $217,000. I’ve tested the sedan version and it’s astonishingly quick and super comfortable. Alternatively, there’s the Porsche Panamera 4 Sport Turismo for $236,300.
Engine & trans
All Volvo V60 models are petrol-powered, but there’s one that adds electricity to the mix. There is no diesel this time around.
Three-quarters of the range are powered by the T5 engine, which is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo motor. However, there are two states of tune offered for the T5.
The Momentum and Inscription get the lower state of tune - with 187kW of power (at 5500pm) and 350Nm of torque (1800-4800rpm) - and it uses an eight-speed automatic with permanent all-wheel drive (AWD). This powertrain’s claimed 0-100km/h sprint time is 6.5 seconds.
The R-Design model takes a higher tune of T5 engine - with 192kW of power (at 5700rpm) and 400Nm of torque (1800-4800rpm). Still eight-speed auto, still AWD, and a little quicker - 0-100km/h in 6.4sec.
At the top of the range there’s the T8 plug-in hybrid drivetrain, which also uses a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo engine (246kW/430Nm) and pairs it to an electric motor with 65kW/240Nm. The combined outputs for this hybrid drivetrain equate to a phenomenal 311kW and 680Nm. Unsurprisingly, the 0-100km/h time for this grade is a startling 4.5sec!
And then there’s the fuel consumption…
Remember this moment in human existence: a time when you can buy a family car with a 441kW/800Nm twin-turbo petrol 4.0-litre V8. Yup, the electric future is coming and it’ll be great from what I’ve experience so far, but it’s clear engines like the V8 in the RS 6 Avant won’t be around forever so you should enjoy it while you can.
And you will enjoy it – this engine with almost 600 horsepower is glorious. There’s the seemingly never-ending acceleration with 0-100km/h coming in 3.6 seconds. That’s a tenth of a second faster than the Audi R8 V10 RWD supercar, and this is a large, family wagon.
Compared to the previous generation model the power is down by 4.0kW but torque is up by a whopping 100Nm. Give me torque over power any day.
Shifting gears is an eight-speed automatic transmission, sending the drive to all four wheels.
The official combined fuel consumption of the V60 varies depending on the powertrain.
The T5 models - Momentum, Inscription and R-Design - all use a claimed 7.3 litres per 100 kilometres, which on the surface appears a little high for a vehicle in this segment. On test in our V60 Inscription we saw 10.0L/100km - not terrific, but not terrible either.
But there’s a great evener in the T8 R-Design, which uses a claimed 2.0L/100km - now, that’s because it has an electric motor that can allow you to drive without petrol for up to 50 kilometres.
This is a large, all-wheel drive car with a 441kW V8, but it also has a mild hybrid system in this new generation which will switch the engine off and let the car coast down hills, or at speeds under 22km/h.
Audi says this can save up to 0.8L/100km in real-life driving. That’s great news, but consumption is still fairly high with Audi claiming that after a combination of open and urban roads the RS 6 Avant will have used 11.7L/100km.
It’s hard to find much to complain about in the Volvo V60 - if you approach it like a Volvo driver would.
If you’re an enthusiast who wants a sports wagon, then maybe it’s not quite the right car for you. But if you’re after a luxurious family conveyance with comfort and plushness on its side, then this could be just the thing for you.
At the time of writing we’ve only managed to get into the V60 Inscription, which is indeed the plushest of the pack. And despite not having tricky air suspension or even adaptive dampers, it manages to offer the luxurious ride you’d expect in most situations, even though its riding on big 19-inch alloy wheels.
I would say that the ride will almost certainly be even better in a Momentum grade version, which has 17s as standard, and for those who spend a lot of time on bad road surfaces or areas where pockmarks or potholes are prevalent, that could be a consideration.
That said, the 19-inch Continental tyres on the V60 Inscription - in combination with the car’s deftly tuned chassis and its handy all-wheel-drive system - means that there’s no issue with traction or body roll in the bends. It hangs on very well indeed.
Its steering doesn’t offer the level of enjoyment that some others in the segment do (like the BMW 3 Series), but it is easy to steer around town and at speed, with a light, accurate action and predictable response.
Although the Inscription variant doesn’t get the zestier T5 engine tune, the engine response is measured and still eager enough for everyday duties, without being overly urgent. If you plant your right foot it’ll apparently get you from 0-100km/h in 6.5 seconds, though the seat of the pants feel wasn’t quite that spectacular. The transmission is smart, shifting smoothly and cleverly and never really setting a foot wrong in terms of gear selection.
I’ve never driven the bullet train before, but it probably feels (almost) as good as this.
Eight hundred newton metres lay curled up under that accelerator pedal ready to push the planet backwards. And waiting to catch you at the other end are enormous anchors in the form of 420mm discs at the front with 10 piston calipers and 370mm discs at the rear.
The optional carbon ceramic brakes are the largest ever to be fitted to a production vehicle at 440mm at the front and 370mm at the rear, saving 34kg in mass over the steel brakes.
Now standard for the first time is Audi’s 'Dynamic Package' which adds dynamic steering (variable ratio) paired with all-wheel steering, a sport differential, and a 280km/h top speed.
Coming standard is adaptive air suspension and for $2850 you can option the 'Dynamic Ride Control' suspension which is a hydraulically activated adaptive damper system.
Explore the virtual Audi RS6
At the Australian launch Audi supplied two RS 6 Avants – one with the air suspension and the other with the dynamic ride control system. I’m probably supposed to say that the optional hydraulic dampers are the pick, but the air suspension suits this luxury freight train so much better.
I’d already driven the car with the dynamic ride control, and while it felt sharper and firmer, it’s ride was a tad uncomposed, almost as though the car was oversprung.
The RS 6 Avant with the standard air suspension on the other hand was not only far more comfortable and settled, but was still superbly dynamically, for a five-metre long car.
Unless you were planning on attending regular track days, in which case the Dynamic Ride Control is the way to go, I’d stick with the standard air suspension which is far more comfortable over Australia’s less-than perfect roads.
Another thing I can say is that this RS 6 Avant is quieter than the previous generation. Even with the windows down and with Dynamic drive mode selected its exhaust note, while still glorious and deep, isn’t raucous and loud. Sound aside, this superwagon is as much a hi-po monster as ever.
Volvo’s V60 scored the maximum five star Euro NCAP crash test rating when tested in 2018. They haven’t been put through the ANCAP ringer yet, but a maximum five-star score is as good as a given, based on the equipment fitted to the entire model range.
Standard safety equipment for all V60 models includes auto emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian and cyclist detection, rear AEB, lane keeping assist with lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring with steering assist, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, and a reversing camera with front and rear parking sensors (plus 360-degree surround view standard on all but Momentum grades).
There are six airbags (dual front, front side, full-length curtain), plus there are dual ISOFIX child seat anchor points and three top-tether restraints, too.
ANCAP tested the A6 in 2019 and gave it the maximum five-star score, however, this rating does not apply to the RS 6 Avant high performance model.
That said, the RS 6 Avant comes fortified with nearly every piece of advanced safety tech there is in Audi’s cupboard. There's AEB which can detect and brake for cyclists and pedestrians at speeds between five-85km/h and vehicles up to 250km/h.
Not a fan of parking, the RS 6 can do it by itself or there’s a 360-degree camera that’ll help you do it yourself. There’s an exit warning system which will warn you if a vehicle is approaching as you go to get out, too.
And if the RS 6 Avant detects that it will be hit from behind it will prepare the cabin by tensioning the seatbelts and closing the windows, as well as the sunroof.
Along with all that there are Audi’s new Matrix LED headlights with laser lights, rain-sensing wipers and adaptive cruise control.
For child seats you’ll find three top tether points and two ISOFIX mounts across the second row.
There’s no spare wheel – instead, there’s a tyre repair kit.
Volvo offers a three year/unlimited kilometres warranty plan, and backs its cars with the same cover for roadside assist for the duration of the new car warranty.
Servicing is due every 12 months or 15,000km, and Volvo offers two different levels of pre-purchase servicing for customers to choose: SmartCare, which offers the basic maintenance cover, and SmartCare Plus, which includes consumables like brake pads/discs, wiper blades/inserts and wheel alignments.
And customers get the choice of a three-year/45,000km plan, a four-year/60,000km plan, or a five-year/75,000km plan.
The RS 6 Avant is covered by Audi’s three-year, unlimited kilometre warranty which not only falls behind in duration compared to mainstream brands but also its direct rival Mercedes-Benz which now has five-year, unlimited kilometre coverage.
Service intervals are every 12 months or 15,000km with a three-year plan costing $2380 and a five-year plan for $3910.