Audi Sport, the high-performance division at Audi has unveiled the latest in the super-wagon stakes, the C8-generation RS6 Avant. This marks the first to bear the nameplate with a mild-hybrid powertrain, as well as being the first to be offered in North America. Following previous form, the latest fast Audi debuts in a station wagon bodystyle.
Traditionally the star attraction within the RS6, the C8-generation RS6 boasts of 600 PS and 800 Nm of torque, the latter produced from 2,100 rpm to 4,500 rpm from its 4.0 litre biturbo petrol V8 engine. This enables the RS6 Avant for a 0-100 km/h sprint time of 3.6 seconds, and 0-200 km/h in 12 seconds.
As standard, top speed is limited to 250 km/h, with a further two levels courtesy of optional packs – the Dynamic package allows 280 km/h, while the Dynamic package plus grants even more headroom for a maximum of 305 km/h.
Electrification comes courtesy of a belt starter-generator which provides up to 12 kW of electricity regeneration that is stored in a lithium-ion battery. When the RS6 Avant is driven at speeds between 55 km/h and 160 km/h with no throttle input, the car’s drive management can either recuperate energy or let the car coast for up to 40 seconds with the combustion engine switched off.
Drive is sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic, and torque distribution is handled by a mechanical centre differential, starting with 40:60 front-to-rear split. Distribution is varied according to available traction, where the differential can send up to 70% drive to the front axle, or up to 85% to the rear axle as required. A sport differential is also present on the rear axle to aid traction and handling, while torque control applies braking to individual inside wheels when cornering to curtail wheelspin.
Chassis features on the C8 RS6 Avant include five-link suspension at the front and rear, where these and the car’s subframes are made mostly out of aluminium. RS6-specific settings see the fast estate ride 20 mm lower than the mainstream A6 Avant, and the RS sport air suspension enables varying ride heights; it can lower itself by 10 mm at speeds above 118 km/h, or raised by 20 mm in a lift mode at low speeds.
Rolling stock on the C8 Audi RS6 Avant is comprised of 21-inch cast aluminium wheels shod in 275/35 sized tyres as standard, while RS-specific 22-inch 5-spoke wheels are paired with 285/30 sized tyres in Vorsprung specification, says Audi.
These can house an optional RS ceramic brake system with discs measuring 440 mm in front and 370 mm at the rear, with the standard steel brake system using discs measuring 420 mm and 370 mm front and rear, respectively. Calipers on the optional ceramics can be specified in grey, red or blue, while those on the standard steel brakes are in black.
The C8 RS6 Avant driver gets a choice of six driving modes from Audi drive select setup, comprising comfort, auto, dynamic, efficiency and two more user-configurable settings – RS1 and RS2. Its sedan-only competitor, the F90 BMW M5 offers a similar selection with its M1 and M2 buttons, with the Audi enabling the selection via a steering wheel-mounted RS Mode button.
The drive select controls in the RS6 configure parameters for the engine and transmission management, power steering assistance, suspension, all-wheel steering, the quattro sport rear differential, engine sound and the automatic air conditioning, says Audi. The RS2 mode adds pre-selected switching of the electronic stability control, which can offer more relaxed reins in Sport mode or be switched off completely.
The Audi virtual cockpit gains RS graphics for the RS6 Avant, and can display tyre pressures, torque and power outputs, engine oil temperature, boost pressure, lap times, acceleration measurements and g-forces. The RS monitor also provides an overview of drive component temperatures, while shift lights help prompt upshifts when peak engine speed is reached.
The C8 RS6 cabin takes advantage of the Avant body’s dimensions, similarly offering 565 litres with the rear seats up and 1,680 litres with the seats folded, and thus granting a 1.99 m load length. A powered tailgate and luggage compartment cover come standard. Front row occupants get RS sport seats trimmed in Valcona leather with honeycomb patterns and RS embossing, with perforations giving passage to seat ventilation.
For further load-lugging ability, the C8 RS6 Avant can be optioned with a swivelling trailer hitch, and camera-based trailer assist for helping in reversing and maneouvring with a trailer. The exterior colour palette for the latest RS6 features 13 colours including two RS-specific choices; Nardo Grey and Sebring Black pearl effect, as well as five matte effect finishes and even more choice from the Audi exclusive customisation range.