Make no mistake: the 2020 Audi RS 6 Avant only uses its 48-volt hybrid system to restart its 591-horsepower twin-turbo 4.0 V-8. In the car's hotter modes, it plays no role apart from some energy storage, but 590 lb-ft of torque should still take care of your boosting needs. And judging by my brief walk-around of the car, speedy versatility has never looked better.
Audi decided that in order to make sure America notices its first RS wagon ever, the RS 6 shall be as distant from a regular A6 as metal and glass would allow. That's why the RS 6 comes with the A7's flatter, wider and Matrix LED laser-equipped headlight units, and that's why it only shares its front doors, roof and tailgate with the standard A6 wagon. It also sports a more pronounced power bulge now, while its body was flared 1.6 inches on each side. Unique sills, up to 22-inch wheels and darkened trim complete the package, as the RS 6 grows to the same width as the RS 7.
Zero-to-sixty (two!) in 3.6 seconds, and a top speed of 189.5 mph, as long as you spec the dynamic package plus. Without the 22-inch wheels and the monstrous 440mm ten-piston carbon ceramic brakes, this wagon is either a 155 or a 174 mph rocket, but set loose by the microchips, it was told by an engineer it cracked 197 at Nardo. Don't try this at home.
Despite how low-key Audi's hot wagons once used to be, this new RS 6 sends out a clear message to all AMG E 63 S wagon drivers. Its oval chrome (or black sport) tailpipes could house a baby chimpanzee, its air-intakes are straight off a supercar, while its now gloss black grill got optically widened the same way as on the R8. The headlights borrowed from the A7 also feature the dynamic turn signal along with RS-specific sequencing, but won't have the Matrix Laser technology available in North America. Last but not least, how about those 22-inch wheels on a five-seater family wagon?
As usual, Audi's all-wheel drives uses a 40:60 front-to-rear torque split, but can send up to 70 percent to the front wheels, and up to 85 to the rears. Rear-axle steering is optional with the dynamic package and dynamic package plus, but torque vectoring and progressive steering comes standard. However, with the rear-axle steer, at low speeds, the turning circle is reduced by 3.3 feet, thanks to the rear wheels turning as much as five degrees in the opposite direction relative to the fronts.
The RS 6 comes with an adaptive air-suspension as standard, featuring a five-link design mostly made of aluminum parts. Audi's new air spring module provides a 50 percent higher spiring rate, and will raise or lower the body by 1.2 inches overall, depending on your speed.
Alternatively, you can choose the RS sport suspension plus with Dynamic Ride Control (DRC), which uses steel springs and three-stage adjustable dampers that are connected to one another via diagonal oil lines and a central valve. This hardcore handling setup is also roughly 22 lbs. lighter than the air suspension.
Audi gives you two customizable driving modes as well, named RS1 and RS2. These should make the switch from eco to insane on the steering wheel very quick indeed, while RS2 will even tone down the ESC, completely.
The RS 6 runs on 21-inch cast aluminum wheels with 420/370mm steel brakes, but you can always pay more for the 440mm ceramic system, which saves around 75 lbs. of unsprung weight. In which case your ten-piston calipers can come in a choice of gray, red or blue.
Audi's hardcore wagon will reach U.S. dealers in the third quarter of 2020, and if you're wondering why just now, note that the previous car was a four-seater, while this is a fiver. Apparently, that's a crucial reason.
As in all Audi wagons, those rear seats fold 40:20:40, expanding luggage compartment length to 6.5 feet. A foot gesture will open the power tailgate, while the optional swiveling trailer towing hitch features an electric release function. Also available as an option is a camera-based system, which helps you see the trailer those V-8-fed oval exhaust will roast.
Will it also be miles better to drive than any SUV? You bet.