Time was when station wagons were workhorses - heavy-duty family transport, sample cases on wheels for hard-working reps or mobile toolboxes for skilled craftsmen.
But then the makers sexed them up with swoopy rooflines and names like Estate, Touring and Avant, and made them just as sporty as their sedan siblings - even, occasionally, more so.
This, fellow performance junkies, is the Abt RS6, specialist tuner Hans-Jurgen Abt's fire-breathing version of the Audi RS6 Avant, which is no slouch to start with.
In fact it's Abt's second attempt at this particular project: not satisfied with the 490kW and 830kW of the Abt Power Version, he went back to the Abt skunk works at Kempten in Bavaria and extracted a spine-tingling 515kW and 880Nm from its four-litre TFSI V8 - a whopping 25 percent increase on the 412kW of the standard-issue Avant - by means of an uprated, fully programmable Abt 'Chiptuning' engine control unit and an all stainless-steel, free-flow exhaust system that really lives up to the German word 'auspuff'.
TOP SPEED IS WHATEVER YOU WANT IT TO BE
That's enough to launch it from 0-100km/h in 3.4 seconds and, thanks to the 'Vmax' adjustable setting on the Abt ECU, top speed is whatever you want it to be, up to 320km/h.
but for Abt, discretion is the better part of street cred. He describes his estate on steroids as “a wolf in sheep's clothing”, a sports car in a bespoke suit.
“Our version of the Audi RS6 Avant is striking without being overbearing, understated and setting technical standards”, he said.
There's no 'boy racer' aero kit here. Apart from its ER-C lightweight forged-alloy rims - available in either 9.5 x 20” or 10 x 22” sizes - slightly lowered stance thanks to shorter, stiffer suspension springs, and those four striking tailpipes, the Abt RS6 looks almost standard - although Abt will also provide carbon-fibre mirror housings on request.
No prices have been released yet.