There’s a sense of rightness to a fast Audi estate. The sales of these cars may pale in comparison to the company’s SUVs, but that doesn’t matter - hot wagons are just Audi’s ‘thing’.
Even Audi itself seems to agree. While revealing the all-new ‘C8’ RS6 Avant, it said: “The concept of the super-fast Avant is more tightly woven into the Audi DNA than virtually any other hallmark of Vorsprung durch Technik”. An RS version of the latest A6 was always going to happen, and now it’s here, we like what we see. It’s mean, isn’t it?
Only the front doors, the roof and boot lid were carried over from the regular A6. Everything else was built especially for this car. It’s packing huge nostrils at the front, while the arches are flared by 40mm to cover massive 21-inch wheels. The rims are shod in 275/35 tyres, upping to 285/35 if you option the 22-inch ‘V-spoke trapezoid’ design.
Big wheels are usually a recipe for a terrible ride, but like the last RS6, this one sits on air suspension. It’ll generally ride 20mm lower than an A6, dropping by a further 10mm over 74mph to make for more slippery autobahn blasts. Alternatively, you can raise it by 20mm for lower-speed driving.
Under its bespoke ‘powerdome’ bonnet lives a 4.0-litre, twin-turbo V8. Sounds similar to the mill in the old one, but this is a different engine - it was co-developed with Porsche and already powers the likes of the Panamera and Cayenne Turbo models.
It’s much more powerful here, though, churning out 592bhp. That’s 5bhp shy of the C7 RS6 Performance, but the C8’s 590lb ft torque figure betters its predecessor by nearly 40lb ft. Will it get its own Performance version? Perhaps, but with a 0-62mph time of 3.6 seconds, that doesn’t seem awfully necessary.
0-124mph, meanwhile, is over in just 12 seconds, and if you keen going, you’ll run into the usual 155mph electronic buffer.
The 4.0-litre in the RS6 doesn’t just differ from its Porsche applications through power output - it’s also fitted with a 48-volt mild hybrid system. There’s a belt alternator starter unit which can recover up to 12kW whenever you lift off the throttle between 34 and 99mph. The setup lets the RS6 coast for 40 seconds with the engine off and extends the stop/start function to speeds up to 13mph. During “everyday driving,” Audi says this can save nearly a litre of fuel for every 62 miles driven.
The clever powertrain feeds all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic quattro all-wheel drive system, the latter favouring the rear wheels with a 60/40 torque split. If the driving situation demands it, 85 per cent can go rearwards, and up to 70 per cent to the front boots. To help agility further, there’s also an all-wheel steering system.
We’re guessing you probably want one. That being the case, you’ll be able to choose between 13 different colours for your RS6 Avant, two of which - Nardo grey and Sebring black - are RS exclusives. It’ll likely cost over £80,000 when UK orders open in November.