an RS7, and this time the estate car’s track widths are identical,
not narrower. The two models have been tuned to feel the same.
There’s a closer visual similarity between the two this time,
with both RS6 and RS7 sharing few body parts with lesser sib-
lings. D’Amore dubs the two RS models his ‘evil twins’, and says
only the RS6’s boot, roof and front doors are common with an
A6 Avant; same story with the RS7 and A7, except the RS7 gets a
40mm wider body – the first-gen RS7 was no wider.
It’s a significantly more aggressive look that will appeal to
some, but there’s also less chance of being mistaken for a TDI,
which was arguably more fun. And, please, don’t go for the full
carbon front grille.
Inside, you’ll find sports seats upholstered in nappa leather as
a minimum, and aluminium paddleshifters and a flat-bottomed
steering wheel are standard. It’s all change for the rear seats,
though: the RS7 is offered with either a two-seat (as before) or
three-seat rear bench for extra practicality, while the RS6 gets
the RS7 three-seat bench with integrated head rests.
Twin-touchscreen infotainment and the virtual cockpit
instrument binnacle are familiar from entry-level A6/A7s, but
the RS models get a new Performance mode that includes a
racecar-style revcounter and lap timer, and monitoring for oil
temps, g-forces and temperatures for the sport diff and tyres.
Audi has peeked at BMW M’s work with its new RS1 and RS
buttons. Instead of setting your steering/chassis/powertrain
preferences in an Individual mode that’s a faff to find, the new
system lets you pre-configure two combinations and deploy
them via RS1 and RS2 buttons on the steering wheel.
So, the new RS6 and RS7 aren’t as radical as we once thought
they might be, but there’ll still be a long queue for the keys when
we drive them later this year.
Mercedes doesn’t share VW’s
conviction that take-up of electric
cars will be widespread and swift.
Sure, there are 11 new Mercedes
EVs due for launch in 2019-21,
but there’s a major programme
of internal-combustion develop-
ment continuing in parallel.
A product-planning insider
explains the thinking: ‘If EVs take
off like a rocket in the next two
years, Mercedes would indeed
be caught off-guard. But we
expect a more gradual transition.’
Compact cars being planned
now are designed to be agnostic
about their power source –
similar to the PSA approach.
Running EV and ICE teams
simultaneously is an expensive
business, so savings are being
made by reducing the number
of low-selling variants in the
line-up. For instance, there’s
a plan to create one coupe to
replace the GT 4-Door, CLS and
SL Coupe. Sports cars, traditional
hatchbacks and saloons are
expected to continue their
decline – although not all sales
trends apply globally – while
crossovers and SUVs continue to
boom. Expect the next B-Class
and A-Class to have more of a
crossover and coupe bias, rather
than remain purely as a tall MPV
The original R-Class was a
heavy, expensive, poor-selling
oddball. But perhaps it was
simply ahead of its time,
by more than a decade. A
resurrection of the concept is
being mooted, with China and
the USA the chief projected
markets. It would be a luxurious
seven-seat cruiser, along the
lines of the recently unveiled
Lexus LM, itself a version of the
Toyota Alphard (not sold in the
UK). In other news from the land
that taste forgot, a Maybach
version of the GLS mega-SUV is
also being considered.
The next-generation C-Class,
due in 2021, is expected to get a
new variant: a four-door coupe.
It’ll run along the lines of the
smaller CLA and bigger CLS, and
take on the BMW 4-series Gran
Coupe and Audi A5 Sportback.
AMG is reported to be working
with Magna and Rimac on
componentry for a variety of
uses. And elsewhere within
the Merc empire, development
continues on hydrogen fuel
cells, potentially expanding
beyond the GLC F-Cell. The
future is uncertain, of that
Mercedes is certain.
Merc sticks with trad
engines... R-Class reborn...
four-door coupe C-Class...
K ac he r ’s
However you specify the
chassis, the RS6 won’t be the
poor relation dynamically