The car that does everything

Audi RS6 Avant

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Audi RS6 Avant

My Reading Room
At a Glance:

Engine 4-liter twin-turbocharged V8

Engine displacement 3,993cc

Maximum power and torque 560hp / 700nm

Fuel consumption, combined 9.6l/100km

Price $539,200 (inclusive COE) 

Audi has been making fast estate cars for over two decades, and the RS6 itself has been around for just about 15 years. This is the third generation RS6 and I’m not going to beat about the bush here, it is probably the best yet. In fact, it is so good that I reckon it could be the only car you will ever need.

The latest RS6 from Audi only comes in an Avant body style, which is Audi-speak for estate vehicle. So, unless you have a trained eye, it looks somewhat similar to the regular 1.8-liter A6 Avant.

However, look a bit more closely and you will see signs that this isn’t an ordinary Audi. At the front, there is the signature Audi RS honeycomb front grille and the front bumper is more angular and has large air inlets. Down the sides, you will notice the fenders are massively flared to accommodate the huge 21-inch wheels. In case you are wondering, the RS6 Avant is running ultra-wide 275 section tires throughout. Behind, the rear diffuser and humongous exhausts hint at the performance the car is capable of.

Indeed, the RS6 Avant is capable of stupendous levels of automotive feats. But even it isn’t immune from the pressures of going green. To improve efficiency, the latest RS6 Avant actually has a smaller engine that produces slightly less power than its predecessor. Gone is the last generation RS6’s massive 5-liter twin turbo V10, in its place is a smaller, more efficient and more clever 4-liter twin turbo V8. This new engine features cylinder deactivation, so when it is cruising and on light load, it can turn off four cylinders and effectively operate as a 2-liter V4. This, along with the extensive use of aluminum throughout the body to reduce overall weight, makes the new RS6 Avant up to 30% more fuel-efficient than the model it replaces.

Even though the new 4-liter twin turbo V8 is slightly less powerful, it still manages 560hp and 700nm of torque - that is almost as much as a Porsche 911 Turbo S. And thanks to the above-mentioned weight reductions, the new RS6 Avant is quicker than its predecessor. From a standstill, the new RS6 Avant will hit 100km/h half a second quicker in just 3.9 seconds. Flat out, you will hit 200km/h in 12.3 seconds. Top speed is limited to 250km/h. If the speed cut is removed, the RS6 Avant can easily reach speeds of over 300km/h.

My Reading Room

The numbers suggest it is quick, but nothing can prepare you for the shock of it when you actually smash your foot down onto the accelerator and into the carpet. It almost defies physics in the way it accelerates. A car this big shouldn’t be able to accelerate so quickly. But it does. It is amazing and also incredibly fun.

Incredible straight line performance aside, the RS6 Avant also handles magically well. Set the car into “Dynamic” mode and put it through some faster twists and turns and there is hardly any sense at all that you are driving an almost five meters long, two-ton heavy estate car. You will need a firm foot on the brakes to shed speed, but the RS6 Avant cuts through corners like a hot knife through butter with a surprising amount of feel and feedback, which gives you the confidence to push it even more. And thanks to the extra reassurance offered by its Quattro all-wheel drive technology, I reckon that in the real world, it won’t be much slower than a bona fide supercar. It is that good.

And when you are done playing around, you can set the car into “Comfort” mode and the RS6 Avant turns into a regular family car. The steering becomes light, the throttle becomes more relaxed, and the suspension turns soft and happily absorbs any bumps and undulations on the road. It is not as cosseting as the regular 1.8 A6 Avant that I drove some time ago, but it is still a calming place to be in.

Speaking of the regular A6 Avant, the RS6 comes with all the connectivity features that the former has, including the large power-retractable 8-inch touchscreen display that is powered by NVIDIA’s Tegra 30 processor and Audi’s MMI (Multimedia Interface).

In addition, practicality has not been sacrificed at all in the RS6 Avant. With the rear seats up, you have 565 liters of storage compartment, which is large enough to swallow a couple of extra-large luggage or even sit a large breed dog. With the rear seats folded, that expands to a whopping 1,680 liters. All in all, it is easily one of the most practical cars you can buy.

Speaking of which, the RS6 Avant, unfortunately, does not come cheap. At over half a million dollars, there are no shortage of other viable alternatives. However, few can come close to matching the RS6 Avant’s dual personality and wide breadth of capabilities. At a flick of a switch, the RS6 Avant can turn from a comfortable family transporter into a fire-breathing supercar-rivaling super estate. If you can pony up the cash, this could the one car you will ever need.