When it comes to outrageously fast and deeply desirable go-fast wagons, Audi has always held the moral high ground, and the revamped RS6 Avant shows that, despite all the signs that fast wagons are an anachronism, Audi is sticking to its tailgated guns.
Audi Sport is in the midst of a product offensive that will yield a brace of new and updated RS product in the next 12 months, and the RS6 Avant is just one part of that.
The fourth-generation Audi RS6 Avant will land in Australia halfway through 2020, with prices and specs to be locked down before then. For reference, the previous RS6 Avant cost around $230,000 before on-road costs.
It’s no sticker-and-glitter job, either. The 2020 Audi RS6 Avant shares its MLB platform with the regular A6 line, and its 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged petrol V8 is a carryover from the previous model.
Its low-slung, wide-haunched, unashamedly aggressive design, however, will frighten small children on a dark night. The menacingly narrow LED headlights are lifted from the new A7, while almost every single body panel – aside from the roof turret, front doors and tailgate – is massaged to be wider and meaner.
The bulging bonnet, for example, is an RS6-specific item.
The RS6 sits 80mm wider across the axles, too, and rides on 22-inch tall, 10.5-inch wide wheels and 255mm tyres. Those huge rims can hide optional 440mm carbon front brake rotors that are clamped by 10-piston (yes, 10) brake calipers.
It needs those brakes, too, thanks to a revised version of its 4.0-litre V8 engine, with two turbochargers nestled between its cylinder banks. Those turbos have been revised with bigger impellers – all the better to draw in more air, my dear – and wound up by 0.2BAR to push the RS6’s outputs to 446kW and 800Nm.
It’s only a couple of kilowatts north of the outgoing model but provides a full 50Nm more torque, which has the net effect of propelling the big wagon to 100km/h in 3.6 seconds, and to 200km/h in 12 seconds.
Option up the Dynamics package and top speed can be bumped from 250km/h to 305km/h.
Our hosts even reckon that the RS6 could tow a boat at this pace, “but we haven’t tested it to that speed, to be honest!” laughed Audi Sport suspension engineer Andrei Filep.
A traditional eight-speed automatic transmission sends that prodigious power to all four wheels, with a maximum of 85 per cent thrust available for rear-wheel action if required.
Audi has also added a 48-volt mild (and we mean mild) hybrid system to the RS6, comprising of a 0.5kW battery and belt-driven starter generator. The system allows the big RS6 to ‘coast’ in-gear for up to 40 seconds if conditions are right, and the small battery acts to fire the engine back up.
More cleverly, the V8’s cylinder-deactivation closes down four pots to reduce fuel consumption.
The RS6 uses a newly revised, 50 per cent stiffer air-sprung suspension system at all four corners, and rides 20mm lower than a standard A6 Avant wagon. Whack it in Dynamic mode and it’ll drop a further 10mm. The shocks, too, are connected diagonally across the car to help it sit flatter at higher speeds.
Steel-sprung suspension is available as part of an RS upgrade kit that also provides three-stage adaptive shocks that are also linked diagonally.
As well, a new rear-steering system will tweak the rear wheels up to five degrees at lower speeds in a counter-steer action to help with parking and low-speed maneuvering, and two degrees in the same direction as the fronts at speed to help stability.
Inside, the RS6 is stunning. High-spec cars will come with super high-quality Valcona leather and figure-hugging RS sports seats, while the digital dashboard features a bespoke RS mode.
The flat bottomed steering wheel is new, and so are -hallelujah! – the new, beautifully sculpted alloy shifter paddles that replace the underwhelming items on the previous car.
We cannot wait to fang this booted beast when it arrives here mid-way through 2020.