The latest in a long line of incredibly powerful and incredibly fast Audi estates, the 2020 RS6 Avant is the fourth generation of A6 to receive the tuners’ attention and arrives 25 years after the original RS2 made everyone reconsider what a fast car looks like.
Under the bulging “powerdome” bonnet of the new model sits a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol engine producing a healthy 529bhp and 590lb/ft.
Linked to an eight-speed gearbox and a rear-biased all-wheel-drive transmission, that means the RS6 Avant can reach 62mph in 3.6 seconds and 124mph in just 12 seconds.
Standard cars are limited to a top speed of 155mph but two optional “Dynamic” and “Dynamic Plus” packs will raise that to 174mph or 189mph for those who live on the autobahn.
The RS6 features a mild hybrid system for the first time, which recovers energy under braking and can use this for all-electric stop/start up to 13mph or for brief periods of engine-off motorway cruising up to 99mph. It also comes with cylinder deactivation technology that shuts down half the engine’s cylinders under “low to intermediate” loads to improve economy and reduce emissions.
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On its standard air suspension the RS6 sits 2cm closer to the road than the normal A6, dropping another 1cm at speeds of above 74mph. The suspension also allows an extra 2cm lift at the front for negotiating speed bumps.
Six driving modes allow owners to slide between comfort and economy-focused settings to two RS modes (activated by a dedicated button on the steering wheel) that alter the engine, transmission, steering, suspension, differential, engine sound and stability control settings.
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Wrapped around the drivetrain is a heavily modified body which shares just the roof, tailgate and front doors with the standard A6 Avant. Everything else is bespoke for the RS6 thanks largely to a track extension that makes it 8cm wider than the regular car. The headlights are from the A7 range while the aggressive front bumper and air inlets are inspired by the R8.
Cast aluminium 21-inch wheels are standard, as are steel brakes but 22-inch wheels and carbon ceramic brakes are among the performance options available to buyers.
Inside, expect the usual clean, stylish A6 cabin with added RS embellishments, such as branded sport seats and steering wheel and model-specific graphics and modes on the digital virtual cockpit.
Orders for the RS6 open this November, with first customer deliveries expected in early 2020. Pricing hasn’t been announced but expect it to start at more than the previous model’s £80,000.