Ingolstadt, Germany - Audi’s manic wagon is back for another generation and it’s packing more muscle than ever, thanks to a revised 4-litre twin-turbo V8 that now has mild hybrid capability.

Let’s get straight to the numbers. The RS6 Avant’s new powertrain matches the 441kW power output of the ‘standard’ BMW M5, while 800Nm is available between 2050 and 4500rpm. That’s enough to get the new RS6 from 0-100km/h in 3.6 seconds, says Audi, with 200km/h coming up in just 12 seconds. The top speed, as always, is electronically limited to 250km/h.

The soundtrack is regulated by a flap system linked to the Audi Drive Select, which allows drivers to customise engine acoustics through new ‘RS1’ and ‘RS2’ modes.

Like many of its modern Audi counterparts, the RS6 Avant has a 48-volt main electrical system and features a mild hybrid set-up with a belt alternator. The system can recover up to 12kW of power during light deceleration, which is then stored in a separate lithium ion battery. Ultimately, the set-up is said to save up to 0.8 litres per 100km in everyday driving. Cylinder deactivation also reduces consumption, although there are only so many ways you can mitigate the thirst of a twin-turbo V8.

The engine is paired with an eight-speed tiptronic autobox and a quattro all-wheel-drive system that distributes 60 percent of the torque to the back wheels under normal circumstances, although up to 85 percent can be pushed back there in sportier driving circumstances. A sport differential on the back axle sharpens things further by regulating the torque distribution between the rear wheels as needed.

The RS6 sits 20mm lower than regular A6 Avants, and the air suspension system lowers it by another 10mm at speeds above 120km/h. The vehicle is also available with a ‘lift mode’ that can raise the car by 20mm for speed bumps and the like.

All of these systems can be configured through the Dynamic Select system, which ultimately gives drivers six profiles to play with: comfort, auto, dynamic, efficiency, and the individually configurable RS-specific RS1 and RS2 modes, which can be quickly activated via the “RS Mode” button on the steering wheel. 

The new RS6 Avant rides on 21-inch alloys as standard, but 22-inch RS-specific rims will be available to order. 

Audi has put considerable effort into ensuring that the RS6 is not mistaken for the average school run estate out on the street, and in fact only the front doors, roof and tailgate are shared with its humbler sibling. The axles and wheel arch flares widen the car by 40mm on each side, and other highlights include a bold new front bumper with a honeycomb grille, RS Matrix LED laser headlights, a ‘powerdome’ bonnet, RS-specific rear bumper and roof spoiler.

The cabin is set apart by RS sport seats in perforated Valcona leather and matt brushed dark aluminium trim, while the digital instrument cluster features RS specific displays that relay additional info on engine outputs and boost, performance measurements and lap times. 

Although exact local launch timing has yet to be confirmed, Audi South Africa says it hopes to bring the new RS6 Avant to South Africa around the fourth quarter of 2020.

IOL Motoring