Audi RS 6 or RS 7 Sedan Spied Testing at Nürburgring

When this RS spec C8.5 test mule was spied the first time, we labeled it RS 7, and for good reason. Audi began shifting even alphanumeric nomenclatures to its electrics with the e-tron facelift that took on the name Q8. Factory sources have confirmed the strategy, one that’ll see the MLB Evo B10-based A4 ICE replacement become A5 while an electric equivalent remains A4. With an A6 e-tron based on the brand’s new PPE electric architecture due out in the next two years and concepts already shown, we’d expected cars like the RS 6 to shift to  RS 7 naming in kind, vacating the 6er space. However, recent facelift reveals from the factory suggest the C8.5 will retain its 6/7 differentiation. More on that in a minute.

First, let’s focus on the test mule. The car you see here is quite obviously a C8.5 sedan body style, with RS 6 width fenders and front fascia that also looks very similar to the current RS 6 and RS 7. We’d seen this thing, or its twin, testing before (more on that HERE). Yesterday it was at the Nürburgring logging development laps.

Audi hasn’t had an RS 6 sedan since the C5 era, but it wouldn’t be hard to do. And with the run out on ICE offerings, Ingolstadt does seem open to pulling out all the stops in a last hurrah. Why not do a sedan?

It’s still the name thing that has us confused. Will it be an RS 6 or an RS 7? Interestingly, Audi already does an A7 sedan in China, though it’s got a longer wheelbase. Also interesting, the badges on the new S6 and S7 that also debuted recently are only “S”, either prepping for a pivot… or badge cost cutting… or both. Simple letter designations like “S” and “RS” on things like seats and wheels have been practice since the B9 and C8 era began, so maybe this makes sense.

Another weird details is the wheels. Near as we can tell, those are 20-inch diameter A6 allroad wheels. If so, that’s an inch smaller in diameter than you can fit on the current RS 6 or RS 7. The brake rotors are also drilled, something we don’t see on the current car. It makes you wonder if Audi plans to downsize the brake hardware of the car. Without seeing it in person, we can’t verify that these are 20-inch wheels or that the brakes are any different than the current hardware, but it’s an interesting detail regardless that either speaks to smaller brakes or the possible availability of factory drilled rotor applications in the future.