Audi’s RS6, the quintessential super-wagon, has returned

This is not a car lacking swagger
by Ollie Kew | Aug 22, 2019
PHOTO: Audi
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How’s that for a come-at-me-bro stance? Welcome to the new Audi RS6 Avant. Power by turbo V8. Interior by Star Wars. Bodywork by The Incredible Hulk, it appears. Have you ever seen a more butch family wagon than this?

The old 552hp Audi RS6 (up to 592hp for the RS6 Performance) was hardly a Q-car, but this new version is a whopper: 40mm wider at each wheel arch. Yep, it’s a gigantic 80mm wider overall than your manager’s A6 Avant. This is not a car lacking swagger. Those wheels are 22 inches across, to squeeze in the biggest brakes Audi has ever fitted to a car.

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They’re needed to reign in some mega pace courtesy of Audi’s 4.0-liter bi-turbo V8. It delivers 592hp and torque’s up by 99Nm to 799Nm, because the new RS6’s gearbox hasn’t been skipping leg day and can handle the twist. It’s an eight-speed dual-clutch unit driving the front wheels as well as the rears, of course. The rear wheels’ squabbling over torque is refereed by an adaptive ‘sport differential’ that shuffles it around to where it’s best deployed.

When it’s best deployed, you’ll go from 0-100kph in just 3.6sec, and not top out until you reach 304kph. Along the way, the body is automatically lowered thanks to intelligent air suspension, which also works to keep the RS6 level in corners. It’s a system shared with the likes of the Lamborghini Urus, in fact.

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This is not far off being a 320kph family wagon. And yet it’s also a mild hybrid, capable of shutting down four cylinders at a cruise, and switching off the engine completely when coasting between 55kph and 160kph, in the name of efficiency. This is a devil-wagon with a conscience.

Here’s a pop quiz for you: Name all the panels the RS6 shares with the workaday A6 Avant. There ain’t many.

Actually, only the roof, the tailgate, and the front doors come from the standard wagon. The front lights, the ultra-grille, and the bumper are off the RS7. The rear doors are reskinned because of those phat arches. There’s a new diffuser, new exhausts—the biggest of any Audi RS6 car, we’re told—and the hood is covered in unnecessary creases.

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Climb aboard and there’s a lot more that’s shared with the A6, not that you’ll find us complaining. Crisp screens, lovely trim, and plenty of space. What’s new are the details, like the RS button on the steering wheel that shortcuts you to either RS1 or RS2 mode, with the engine, gearbox, exhaust, and suspension tailored to your liking. You even get a retro Audi Quattro-inspired ‘hockey stick’ rev counter graphic on the digi-dash. Sounds kitsch. It’s actually pretty cool.

Meanwhile, a new Nissan GT-R-like ‘RS Monitor’ in the main touchscreen lets you geek out on G-force readouts, various temperature readouts, and pressures. It’s not short of toys, the RS6. But mainly, it’s all about those arches. It’s not mucking about.

Audi dealers worldwide are currently knocking through walls and widening doors to fit the damn things in. Expect to see them squeezing into the building in early 2020, asking about £90,000 (around P5.7 million) in return for those arches, and the rest of the car coming for free.

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NOTE: This article first appeared on TopGear.com. Minor edits have been made.

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PHOTO: Audi
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