The 2020 Audi RS6 Avant is finally coming to North America! Audi’s RS line is boasting 25 years of producing the most exhilarating station wagons known to man. But the all-new fourth generation RS6 Avant is promising to combine absolute power, utmost efficiency, and everyday practicality in an alluring design.
So yeah, the new Audi RS6 Avant is a station wagon, but it’s far from the lumbering penalty boxes of yore. “Throughout our 25-year RS history, the Audi RS 6 Avant is one of our absolute icons with a large global fan base,” said Oliver Hoffmann, Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH. “We will also be offering the RS 6 Avant in North America for the very first time. As such, we will be tapping into a new market with huge potential and generating further growth.”
When you really think about, Audi’s newest RS6 Avant is a compelling argument for settling with a larger and thirstier SUV. It offers plenty of interior and cargo room like a car-based crossover, but you get V8 power, a 48-volt mild hybrid system, Quattro AWD, and sporty looks to match.
Audi’s newest RS6 Avant is quite a looker
What can we say? Our Editor-in-chief Vincent Nguyen was among the lucky few to catch a glimpse of the 2020 Audi RS6 Avant. “The new RS6 Avant deviates from the stoic face of the A6,” said Nguyen. “The RS6 Avant is wider and has a more aggressive stance. This car is ready to pounce – and pounce it will with the standard V8 engine!”
The RS6 Avant is 40 millimeters (1.6-inch) wider on each side. The large 22-inch alloys are housed within those muscular wheel arches. Interestingly, the 2020 RS6 Avant is one of the first Audi Sport models to feature the new RS design language. In a side-to-side comparison, the RS6 looks way different than the A6, and this is intentional. Audi knows potential RS6 Avant customers want their car to stand out from the base A6, so they gave it specific exterior treatments lifted directly from the A7.
One of these are the headlights, which were adopted from the A7. The LED lighting is standard, but RS Matrix LED laser headlights are an optional extra. Audi deleted the grille surround and the Quattro logo in the bumper to further emphasize the new gloss black Singleframe grille. There are air inlets under the headlights inspired by the Audi R8 supercar.
V8 Power and Nothing Less
What’s the fastest way to a gearhead’s heart? Why, give the car some V8 power, of course! In order to make a huge splash in the US market, the RS6 Avant is packing a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 FSI motor producing 591-horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque. Peak torque is achieved from 2,100 to 4,500 RPM, which basically means you get the low-end pulling power of a diesel mill. The engine is bolted to an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic and Quattro AWD system.
This allows the RS6 station wagon to rush from 0 to 60 mph in 3.6-seconds, effectively making it one of the fastest station wagons to roam the planet. Meanwhile, Audi says the RS6 Avant has a top speed of 155.3 mph (250 kph). Choosing the optional dynamic package increases the top speed to 174 mph (280 kph) while the dynamic package plus is good for 189.5 mph (304 kph).
As I said, the RS6 Avant is not an ordinary station wagon. It won’t back down from an impromptu drag race with the Porsche 911 and Mercedes E63 S wagon, and it will blow the doors off most sports cars.
Standard 48-volt Mild-Hybrid Assist: Increased Efficiency
The Audi RS6 Avant is also fitted with 48-volt mild-hybrid belt-alternator-starter. The system can recover up to 12 kW of power during light deceleration or when coasting at speed. Power is stored in a separate lithium-ion battery, which allows the motor to switch off for 40 seconds at speeds between 34 and 100 mph. Simply pressing the accelerator pedal allows the system to seamlessly restart the motor. With this mild-hybrid system, Audi claims fuel savings of up 0.8-liters per 100 kilometers (62 miles). This tech also allows stop-start operations at speeds up to 13.7 mph.
Cylinder Deactivation or Cylinder-on-Demand System
The RS6 Avant’s V8 motor is also equipped with Audi’s COD or cylinder on-demand system. It deactivates four of the eight cylinders when coasting in higher gears. This technology is not entirely new, but it helps greatly in improving fuel economy on those long road trips. If you want to make full use of full V8 power as the engine lumbers in COD mode, pressing the accelerator pedal is all it takes to wake up the other four cylinders.
Quattro All-Wheel Drive
You heard that right. Audi’s newest RS6 Avant is an all-wheel-drive machine. In normal driving mode, the AWD system feeds 40-percent power to the front and 60-percent to the rear wheels. This gives the RS6 Avant the proper shove of a rear-wheel-drive sports car. But when things get a bit out of hand, the Quattro AWD can route up to 70-percent of torque to the front and 85-percent to the rear wheels.
Standard in the RS6 Avant is wheel-selective torque control. The system applies braking to offending wheels as you enter a corner, preventing wheel spin before it happens. The optional dynamic and dynamic plus package includes a Quattro sport differential that allows the torque to be split between the rear wheels.
Standard Adaptive Air Suspension
Audi’s fourth-gen RS6 Avant is equipped with a five-link design in the front and rear axles. It also has aluminum linkages and subframes to reduce unsprung weight. But the crème of the crop is the new RS adaptive air suspension system. Featuring new air spring modules that are 50-percent stiffer than the previous system, this is Audi’s first air suspension rated to a top speed of 190 mph.
The RS Avant sits 0.8-inches lower to the ground than an A6 Avant with standard suspension. But at speeds above 75 mph, the air suspension lowers the car by 0.4-inches. In lift mode, the air suspension can lift the vehicle by 0.8-inches to clear speed bumps.
But if you think air suspension is as complicated as differential calculus, the RS sport suspension plus with dynamic ride control is a worthy option. The system consists of steel springs with adjustable dampers that regulate the oil flow as the car attacks a corner. This results in better handling and faster cornering.
Sporting and Luxurious Interior
Were you expecting something less? The Audi RS6 Avant is a sporty, practical, and luxurious station wagon, and the interior says it all. The horizontal alignment and three-dimensional structure of the dashboard lends a premium vibe. The Audi virtual cockpit displays the tire pressure, horsepower, torque output, boost pressure, and even your lap times.
The 2020 RS6 Avant also gets a flat-bottom sport steering wheel wrapped in perforated leather, aluminum shift paddles, multifunction buttons on the tiller, and sports seats wrapped in black pearl Nappa leather and Alcantara. Choosing the RS sport seats includes perforated Valcona leather with honeycomb patterns and RS embossing.
Practical Cargo Space
The new RS6 Avant feels roomier than an A6 Avant. The loading width is now 3.4-feet (1.05 meters) compared to the previous RS6, and the luggage compartment length has grown to 6.5-feet (1.99 meters). With the rear seats up, you have 20 cubic feet (565 liters) of cargo room. Fold the rear seats down and you have almost 60 cubic feet (1,680 liters) of room for shopping bags, sports equipment, and other large items.
Audi wants the RS6 Avant to be an impressive choice for North American buyers. From the looks of it, making a first and lasting impression wont be a problem with the RS6 Avant. It goes on sale in the middle of 2020. Pricing and other specs will be announced at a later date.
Vincent Nguyen contributed to this story.