The new RS 6 Avant â€“ Audiâ€™s fancy word for wagon â€“ has arrived on these fair shores, bringing 426kW in its hand luggage and handing out 650Nm of torque to all it meets.
Sporting a twin-turbo V10 engine and Audiâ€™s patented Quattro all-wheel-drive, the RS 6 Avant isnâ€™t your usual wagon. Which, in all likelihood, explains Audiâ€™s insistence that it not be called one. And with its performance handling and wrenching dynamics, thatâ€™s, well, fair enough.
The RS 6â€™s 5.0-litre V10 engine fires the Avant to 100km/h in 4.6 seconds, right through to an electronically-limited top speed of 250km/h. Peak torque is yours all the way from 1500 to 6250 RPM, and the full 426kW will see action between 6250 RPM and the redline at 6700 RPM. The engine plays home to Audiâ€™s race-bred FSI direct fuel injection, dry-sump lubrication, and two turbo-chargers.
Power arrives through the new-generation six-speed tiptronic transmission, which features a reduced reaction time of just one tenth of a second. As with many sports sedans, the driver can choose to manually change gears via either the shift lever, or the paddles on the steering wheel.
Audiâ€™s Dynamic Ride Control DRC is also featured, reducing pitch and roll using hydraulic lines and valves connecting diagonally to opposing pairs of shock absorbers. When cornering, the flow of fluid to the damper of the compressing outside front wheel increases, providing firmer support and reducing roll.
ESP is standard of course, and can be switched to Sport mode, or turned off completely.
The new Audi RS 6 Avant wears 20-inch alloy rims wrapped in massively-wide 275mm tyres with a rubber-band-like profile of only 35mm. These sit over â€“ at the front â€“ 390mm brake discs with six-piston fixed aluminium calipers, painted black and emblazoned with RS badges. The rear brake discs arenâ€™t small either, coming in at 356mm. Wrapping the rear frisbees are single-piston floating calipers featuring large cooling ducts and axial perforations for enhanced performance and less weight.
Setting the RS 6 Avant apart from its more normal brethren is a single-frame grille, large air intakes, xenon-plus headlights, RS 6-specific LED daytime running lights, flared fenders and deep side skirts, rear diffuser, a spoiler integrated in the boot lid, and two large exhaust pipes.
Inside, the RS 6 offers a generous 1660 litres of luggage space, making it a more than practical car for every day living. Moving forward through the car, standard equipment you can expect to see include a multimedia interface with a colour screen and TV reception, advanced key entry, electric glass sunroof, satellite navigation, dual-zone deluxe automatic air conditioning plus, an acoustic parking assistant at front and rear, a three-spoke, multifunction leather sports steering wheel with flat-bottomed rim and a Bose surround sound system. A boost pressure indicator for the two turbochargers in the driver information system rounds out the instrumentation.
Be prepared to part with a quarter million of your hard-earned though, as the RS 6 lobs in at $270,946 RRP.
The sedan version of the RS 6 is expected in the first quarter of 2009.