Audi Sport has revealed the new-generation RS6 Avant, ahead of its Australian arrival mid-way through 2020.
We know you want to hear about the performance, so let's start with that. Power comes from a 4.0 TFSI twin-turbo V8 bolstered by a 48V mild-hybrid system.
Outputs are rated at 441kW and 800Nm – 4kW down and 100Nm up on the previous RS6 Performance, though the old model made 750Nm on overboost over short periods – with drive channelled to the tarmac via an eight-speed 'Tiptronic' automatic transmission with torque converter and quattro all-wheel drive. Peak torque is available between 2100 and 4500rpm.
The all-wheel drive system runs a standard 40:60 front to rear bias, featuring a mechanical differential in the centre. Up to 70 per cent of torque can be sent to the front axle and 85 per cent to the rear as required.
Audi claims the new RS6 Avant can dash to 100km/h in 3.6 seconds (down 0.1 seconds), and hit 200km/h in 12.0 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 250km/h as standard, though opting for the 'dynamic package plus' raises that to 305km/h – not bad for an ol' station wagon.
Despite the big performance claims, the RS6 promises to be as efficient as ever. The MHEV system can recover up to 12kW of power "during light deceleration" and store it in the on-board lithium-ion battery.
The RS6 can coast at speeds between 55 and 160km/h, while the idle start/stop system can be engaged at speeds up to 22km/h. Audi claims these systems save up to 0.8L/100km in everyday driving.
Bolstering the efficiency systems is a cylinder-on-demand (COD) system that can deactivate cylinders two, three, five and eight under light load.
Audi is quick to note, however, that these features shouldn't stop the new RS6 from sounding like an angry beast. The optional (in Europe, at least) RS sport exhaust with black tailpipe trims is claimed to ensure "maximum sport sound experience" with "voluminous V8 sound".
With the optional exhaust fitted, drivers can toggle the level of sound using the various Audi drive select modes – including customisable 'RS1' and 'RS2' modes.
The aforementioned dynamic package plus also includes the quattro sport differential on the rear axle, shuffling torque as required between the rear wheels to improve traction, stability and dynamics.
Under the skin, the RS6 utilises a five-link axle design at the front and the rear, with model-specific adaptive air suspension at both ends.
In its standard guise, the RS6 sits 20mm lower than the regular A6 Avant. At speeds of above 120km/h, the vehicle lowers itself a further 10mm.
When required, the air suspension also has a lift mode which can raise the vehicle by 20mm at low speed.
Buyers can go without the air chambers and opt for RS sport suspension plus with Dynamic Ride Control if required. This system utilises steel springs and three-stage adjustable dampers.
The steering system is of the progressive variety as standard, and "develops significantly higher return forces with increasing steering angle for precise steering feedback". As an option, buyers can tick a box for dynamic all-wheel steering, which turns the rear wheels as much as five degrees in the opposition to the fronts at low speeds, helping to reduce the turning circle by as much as one metre.
At higher speeds, the rear wheels can turn by up to two degrees in the same direction as the front, which Audi says helps aid stability "particularly when changing course quickly".
Filling the arches as standard are 21-inch alloy wheels in a 10-spoke star design, shod with 275/35 tyres all round. There's a larger 22-inch design (pictured) available as an option, donning 285/30 tyres and offering several finishes – silver, matte titanium, gloss-turned, and gloss anthracite black.
Behind those massive rims are optional RS ceramic brakes, measuring 440mm at the front and 370mm at the rear – saving a claimed 34 kilograms compared to their steel counterparts. With this option ticked, buyers can also select grey, red or blue calipers.
As standard, the RS6 still gets beefy 420mm front and 370mm rear stoppers that are perforated and ventilated, with black calipers as standard, or red as an option.
Rounding out the performance features is an ESC system that has a sport mode, along with the ability to be switched off entirely.
Inside, the RS6 draws upon the tech-laden cabin of the wider A6 family, with sporting touches scattered throughout.
The MMI touch response dual-screen infotainment and vehicle function setup offers an additional 'RS Monitor' display that shows things like temperature status of drive components, maximum 'g' acceleration figures along with tyre pressures and temperatures.
Ahead of the driver is a model-specific version of the Audi virtual cockpit digital driver's display, which again offers model-specific displays including tyre pressure, torque, power output, engine oil temperature, boost pressure, lap times, acceleration measurements and g-forces.
The optional colour head-up display can project some of the RS-specific information, too.
Unique touches include a perforated sports leather steering wheel as standard, which features a flattened bottom aluminium shift paddles, and special buttons to toggle the customisable Audi drive select 'RS1' and 'RS2' modes.
The standard sport seats come trimmed in black pearl nappa leather and Alcantara with RS embossing and rhombus pattern. Buyers can also opt for perforated Valcona leather with honeycomb pattern and RS embossing, too, which also allows for ventilation "for the first time".
For a pop of colour, there are two design packages available – red and grey – which add contrasting stitching in each respective colour for the steering wheel, gear lever Alcantara knee pads, along with the seatbelt edges and floor mat accents. Trim inserts in carbon-fibre, natural wood, grey-brown and matte aluminium are available.
Compared to the previous generation, Audi says the new RS6 is more practical. The load width between the wheel arches as increased by 14mm wit 1.05 metres, for example.
The rear bench folds 40:20:40 for enhanced versatility, and extends the boot length to 1.99m. A powered tailgate and luggage compartment cover are all standard, with foot gesture operation for the former available as an option in conjunction with the convenience key.
People who are buying their RS6 with the intention of towing can also add a swivelling trailer tow hitch that features an electric release function, which can be bundled with camera-based trailer assist.
As for driver assistance, the new-generation performance wagon has addressed a key area for improvement for its predecessor by offering 'more than' 30 assistance systems including adaptive cruise assist, intersection assist, lane change warning, curb warning and 360-degree cameras.
The RS6 is available with no less than 13 exterior finishes, including the model-specific Nardo Grey and Sebring Black with crystal effect. Included in the range are five matte-effect paints.
Contrasting with the body, the exterior mirrors are finished in black as standard, but can also be had in body colour or matte aluminium.
Speaking of aluminium, one can specify their RS6 with a matte aluminium styling package which brings the metal finish to various exterior accents including the front bumper blades, splitter, sill inserts, roof rails, window slot trims and diffuser trim. There's also black and carbon alternative versions of this package.
Buyers can have the badging finished in gloss black in conjunction with the black and carbon styling packages, with further customisation options available with the Audi exclusive range.
Speaking with CarAdvice, Audi Australia said it's 'expecting' the new RS6 in mid-2020. Further details will be announced closer to launch.
Stay tuned for an update, and click on the images for the full gallery.