- the audi rs6 avant is coming to the u.s. market, the first audi sport wagon to do so.
- the new audi will compete against the mercedes-amg e63 s wagon, the jaguar xf sportbrake, and the porsche panamera turbo sport turismo.
- it will go on sale in the u.s. in the second or third quarter of next year as a 2020 model.
good news for wagon fans: audi is bringing the rs6 avant to north america for the first time in audi sport's 25-year history. the new performance wagon will go up against its most direct competitor, the mercedes-amg e63 s wagon, as well as the porsche panamera turbo sport turismo and the jaguar xf sportbrake.
twin-turbo v-8 makes nearly 600 hp
step one in the battle for supremacy in the hot-rod-wagon segment is power. the rs6 avant is powered by a twin-turbo 4.0-liter v-8 partnered with a 48-volt hybrid system that produces 591 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque. the wagon's claimed zero-to-62-mph time is 3.6 seconds, and it clears 120 mph in less than 12.0 seconds. it will have to outperform those estimates to beat the 603-hp e63 wagon, which went from zero to 60 mph in 3.0 seconds and from zero to 120 mph in 10.2 seconds in our testing.
the rs6 avant can hit 190 mph with the dynamic package plus, which includes the rs adaptive air suspension. with the standard dynamic package, the top speed is 174 mph, while the standard model tops out at 155 mph. whether or not u.s.-spec cars get the multiple speed governors is tbd.
a standard eight-speed automatic transmission with a launch-control function sends torque to a permanent all-wheel-drive system. the quattro's standard distribution is 40:60 to the front and rear axles, but if there is any slippage the system will compensate by sending more power to the axle with better traction (up to 70 percent to the front axle, up to 85 percent to the rear).
all this performance comes with some nods to efficiency. a cylinder deactivation system can shut down the valves and fuel injection to four of the cylinders between low and intermediate loads and speeds. the rs6 avant's 48-volt belt-driven motor/generator can recoup up to 12 kw during regenerative braking between 34 and 99 mph and store it in a small, dedicated lithium-ion battery.
this hot wagon looks the part
only three exterior parts—the front doors, the roof, and the tailgate—are carried over unchanged from the base a6 avant to the rs6. everything else you see is an rs-specific part, from the honeycomb-look grille in gloss black to the new bumper with design echoes from the audi r8 supercar. the headlights come from the a7, which means optional rs matrix led laser lights with darkened trim are available. the rs6 avant also has a 3.1-inch-wider and 0.8-inch-lower body than the a6 avant. it rides on standard, 21-inch cast aluminum wheels with a 10-spoke design or on optional 22-inch wheels with a 5-spoke design.
inside, the rs6 avant features premium materials including rs-embossed black pearl nappa leather and alcantara. heated and cooled rs sport seats trimmed in valcona leather with a honeycomb pattern are available. audi's mmi dual-touchscreen system and virtual cockpit digital instrument panel bring safety and infotainment features to the driver's attention, and an rs monitor display offers up a more detailed look at things such as torque and power output, engine oil temperature, and boost pressure. the perforated leather sport steering wheel now offers rs1 and rs2 buttons that switch between two individually configurable rs drive modes. comfort, auto, dynamic, and efficiency driving modes are also on offer.
finally available in america
the reason the rs6 avant is finally coming to the these shores is thanks to incessant requests from the u.s. division. "the guys from audi of america did great in always pushing and getting the customer's needs to us in headquarters," audi marketing manager linda kurz said. "we understood that the avant has a chance for the u.s. market. in the previous generation we couldn't make it happen, but now we decided with our colleagues in the u.s. that we would have it on offer."
the rs6 avant will go on sale in the u.s. in the second or third quarter of next year as a 2020 model following its debut in europe in the first quarter. expect its starting price to be near that of the mercedes-amg e63 s wagon, which starts at $112,745.