On Tuesday, the new Audi RS 6 Avant made its online debut. The most exciting part? It’s coming to North America, though Audi spokesman Mark Dahncke told Motor Authority it hasn’t been decided when the RS 6 Avant will arrive in the U.S. or for what model year.
With a mild-hybrid powertrain, nearly 600 horsepower sent to all four wheels, and 20 cubic feet of cargo space, the Audi RS 6 has just become the ultimate family vehicle for those who need to get there quickly and in style.
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The RS 6 Avant is based on the eighth-generation A6 wagon, internally known as the C8, but the front doors, roof, and tailgate are the only exterior body panels that are shared with the base car. Like the A6 Avant, the RS 6 Avant’s roofline has a slightly faster rake than previous generations, giving it a sporty look that a sedan simply can’t match.
It starts with the stance, which is 1.6-inches wider than the standard Avant thanks to the flared fenders that sit above 21- or 22-inch wheels. The RS 6 gets the A7’s headlights, with their wider, flatter appearance, to further distinguish it from the rest of the A6 lineup.
Like previous RS models, the RS 6 Avant has gaping intakes on either side of the front fenders to feed cool air to the intercoolers. RS-specific side sills give the RS 6 Avant more width down low, while the rear hatch features a roof-mounted spoiler, an RS-specific rear bumper and diffuser, and dual RS oval exhaust outlets.
Under the hood sits a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 that sends 592 hp and 590 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels via an 8-speed automatic transmission. A 48-volt mild hybrid system is added via a belt alternator, and up to 12 kw of power can be stored in a lithium-ion battery pack (Audi didn’t disclose the pack’s size) via regenerative braking between 34 and 99 mph. The mild hybrid system allows the engine to turn off at speeds of up to 14 mph.
Performance should be bewildering with Audi quoting a 0 to 62 mph sprint of 3.6 seconds and a 0-124 mph run of 12 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph, but an optional Dynamic Package lifts that to 174 mph or 189.5 with the Dynamic Package Plus.
The 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 has cylinder deactivation that shuts off cylinders 2, 3, 5, and 8 (making it a 2.0-liter V-4), for better fuel efficiency at low speeds or light loads.
Choose your suspension
Audi’s Quattro full-time all-wheel-drive system splits power 40/60 front to rear via a mechanical center differential, though up to 70 percent of power can be sent to the front while 85 percent can go to the rear.
The suspension uses a five-link design front and rear and comes standard with adaptive air springs. Audi said the suspension has several modes but didn’t go into detail beyond noting it automatically levels the wagon. While the RS 6 Avant sits 0.8 inches lower than the standard A6 Avant, it will automatically drop another 0.4 inches at 75 mph and can be lifted 0.8 inches at low speeds to enter driveways or parking lots.
An RS sport suspension with steel springs and three-stage adjustable dampers will be available. This system also comes with Dynamic Ride Control, which uses diagonally linked dampers to counteract body lean through hydromechanical means.
A four-wheel-steering system will be optional with the Dynamic or Dynamic Package Plus. It can turn the rear wheels up to 5 degrees in the opposite direction of the front wheels at low speeds, or up to 2 degrees in the same direction at higher speeds. The system reduces the turning circle by up to 3.3 feet.
Drivers can choose between six drive modes: Comfort, Auto, Dynamic, Efficiency, and individually configurable RS-specific RS1 and RS2 modes activated by the “RS MODE” button on the steering wheel. The modes vary parameters in the all-wheel-steering system, standard sport differential, engine sound (i.e. fake engine noise pumped into the cabin), transmission shift logic, power steering, suspension, and automatic air conditioning. Audi said RS2 mode exists purely to modify the parameters of the electronic stability control.
Inside the RS 6 Avant features Audi’s latest MMI infotainment system with two dash-mounted touchscreens (one for climate controls and vehicle functions and another for infotainment) paired with a digital gauge cluster. Aluminum, wood, and carbon-fiber trim are available to go with the acres of shiny piano black plastic trim.
While there’s seating for five, the front sport buckets and rear buckets combined with the large center driveline tunnel make it so little Johnny’s friend is better off taking the bus. Nappa leather and Alcantara line the cabin. RS logos are embossed in various places throughout the interior, and the seats have a rhombus pattern stitched into them.
As a wagon, the RS 6 Avant has room for the soccer balls and weekend adventure equipment with a decent 20 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row. Leave the kids at home and fold the split-folding 40/20/40 second row down for a up to 59.3 cubic feet of space.
Need to tow with your RS 6 Avant? Audi thought of that and there’s an optional swiveling trailer hitch with an electronic release plus an optional camera-based trailer assist system for maneuvering a trailer. Audi hasn’t shared the maximum tow rating.
The RS 6 Avant also offers numerous safety and driver-assistance features, everything from adaptive cruise control and lane change warnings to a surround-view camera and intersection assist.
When it goes on sale, the Audi RS 6 Avant will be available in 13 colors, including sure-to-please-enthusiasts Nardo Gray and Sebring Black and five matte finishes. The mirrors can be ordered in black, body color, or matte-finished aluminum. Trim can be had in matte aluminum or gloss black, and this is all before dipping into the (spendy) Audi Exclusive customization program.
The new Audi RS 6 Avant will go on sale in the first quarter of 2020 in Germany, but there’s no word on when it will arrive in the U.S. market…yet. The good news is we now know it will.