A white station wagon; could you get a more unassuming family vehicle? But take a closer look and the signs that the Audi RS 6 Avant is not your average wagon are evident. Fat twin exhaust pipes, 22-inch wheels, the widened body and broadly flared wheel arches all point to something more than just a little bit special.
Hit the start button and the V8 engine growls to life before settling to a gentle burble and you are left in no uncertain terms that the RS 6 Avant is not your ordinary family vehicle. The 4.0 litre, V8 petrol engine with twin turbocharging in a hot V configuration is combined with a 48V Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle technology that delivers a staggering 441kW of power between 6,000 – 6,250rpm and a stonking 800Nm of torque between 2,050 – 4,500rpm.
The engine combined with Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive system and the 8-speed Tiptronic transmission means this humble family wagon will embarrass many supercars with a 0-100 km/h acceleration time of just 3.6 seconds! The standard top speed is limited to 280km/h or if you tick the RS Dynamic package plus box, which includes RS ceramic brake system with red brake callipers, the top speed is increased to 305km/h. You may also want to invest in a mobile service station to enable on the go refueling just like an actual stealth bomber because the official combined fuel consumption is 11.7L/100km and for my week enjoying the RS 6 Avant I used 14.1L/100km. I would allocate this expense to ‘life is too short to drive boring cars’ column in the monthly family budget spread sheet and enjoy driving the RS 6 to its full potential.
To help you reach that potential there are four standard drive modes, Efficiency, Comfort, Auto or Dynamic, and two customisable modes, RS 1 and RS 2, that can be accessed quickly by pressing the RS button on the steering wheel. Under RS 1 mode you can customise the Drive System, Suspension, Steering, Engine Sound and Quattro differential. RS 2 allows these tunings plus the option to have the ESC ‘On’ or ‘Dynamic’ and the Avant hunkers down in RS 2 mode so it is ready to pounce on the corners ahead. Even in the firmest suspension setting though the RS 6 Avant is still livable on a daily basis and Comfort mode is excellent for motorway cruising.
The other change that occurs when RS drive mode is engaged is to the Audi virtual cockpit, the fully digital configurable instrument cluster with 12.3-inch colour display takes on a race car style look with a horizontal taco that is also replicated on the driver’s head up display. Switch the Tiptronic transmission to manual mode and use the beautifully machined metal wheel-mounted paddle shifters for responsive gear changes up and down the box and watch the taco light up! It from green, to orange and then flashes red before the 6,750rom red line and you change up to the next gear and start again. It is worth noting that the exhaust noise is pronounced while you are enjoying this burst of acceleration from the RS 6, but it is not obnoxious and it perfectly suits the character of the RS 6.
Occupants in the RS 6 Avant are well catered for with Valcona leather upholstery with RS embossing on seat, centre panels in perforated leather with honeycomb pattern, seat side bolsters, head restraints and centre armrest. Both front seats are heated and cooled with power adjustment for recline, forward/back, seat height front and rear, 2-way lumbar support and manual front leg extension. The driver’s seat also has two memory positions for locking in your perfect driving position. At night the seat belt latch is lit to make it easy to see where to buckle up and the ambient lighting and puddle lights on all four doors finish off the after dark ambience nicely.
My RS 6 Avant was fitted with optional RS Design package in red ($2,900) that includes an Alcantara wrapped steering wheel and gear selector in Dinamica. The sides of the centre console are also covered in Dinamica in black with contrasting stitching in express red. I liked the contrasting red edges on the seat belts and the floor mats with contrasting stitching in express red and RS logo on front mats as well that are part of this package.
The graphics on the 10.1-inch infotainment system are nice looking, but you need to press harder than you would expect in order to activate the haptic system. The wireless Android Auto connected seamlessly; the RS 6 Avant also has wireless Apple CarPlay with the pad located under the arm rest. Here there was also a wireless charge pad for the key fob and two USB-C ports (a 12V outlet is between the cup holders). The voice control with natural speech recognition worked well for me for setting a destination on the sat nav, making phone calls and changing the radio station. The optional ($1,700) carbon twill inlays on the dash and door trims get a big tick from me, but I was less keen on the gloss black on the centre console and dash as it attracts dust and gets bad fingermarks on it.
There is plenty of head room for two adults to comfortably sit in the rear seats or for younger passengers there are two ISOFIX/two rear tether child seat restraint points. The centre seat can be folded down as an arm rest with two shallow drink holders at the front of the arm rest and a storage cubby within it. There are good size drink bottle storage cubbies in the rear doors though for larger drink bottles.
Rear passengers get four-way digital climate controls for temperature, mode and air speed, but one thing I did notice was when the rear climate air speed is set high it makes a loud noise in the front air system and this annoyed me. Below the two centre air vents with individual direction and on/off controls there are two USB-C ports and one 12V outlet.
The other great advantage a wagon offers is cargo space and the boot of the RS 6 Avant is huge! Plenty of room for groceries, a pram or all the luggage needed for a family adventure or if more space is required the rear seats have a 40:20:40 split fold mechanism with the manual release on the shoulder of the rear seats.
The tailgate has gesture open and close or can be open/closed from the key fob, button under the tailgate and a button in the cabin. A small feature that I appreciated was the cargo cover automatically moves back when you open the tailgate and lowers down when you close it, one less thing you have to do when you are trying to quickly load groceries. This Avant has the luggage rail system with additional load-securing kit including adjustable telescopic bar and strap along with two hooks, two lights and a 12V outlet. There is no spare tyre though, only a tyre repair kit.
The active safety systems on the RS 6 Avant may feel as advanced as the avionics on an actual stealth bomber, however this wagon is not covered by an ANCAP safety rating. The Audi pre-sense front with Autonomous Emergency Braking provides collision mitigation from 5km/h up to 85 km/h (pedestrians and cyclists) and up to 250km/h (vehicles). Plus you also get, Audi pre-sense rear, adaptive cruise control (controlled via a stalk behind the steering wheel), active lane assist, blind spot warning system, collision avoidance assist, and rear cross traffic assist. Passive safety includes front airbags for driver and passenger, side airbags for front and rear side passengers, head level curtain airbag for front and rear.
The 360-degree reversing camera incorporates four wide-angle cameras cover the entire area immediately around the vehicle, providing a range of different views for even easier maneuvering with front and rear parking sensors and it is very impressive. The RS 6 also has auto wipers and auto lights with high beam assist, which work amazing well and really lit up the road ahead for us as we drove along country roads at night with our eyes on stalks looking for kangaroos or wombats straying onto the road.
All new Audi vehicles sold come with a 5 years/unlimited kilometres manufacturer warranty and Audi Care 24-hour roadside assistance is complimentary for the first 3 years and may be extended if you continue to have your vehicle serviced at an Audi Service Centre. The service interval for the RS 6 Avant is one year or 15,000kms, whichever occurs first, and you can purchase a five-year service plan upfront for the RS 6 Avant currently for $3,890. When you have your Audi scheduled servicing performed at an Audi Service Centre in the first three years of ownership, you also become eligible to join the Audi Experience program, offering a calendar of events, masterclasses and bespoke partner offers.
The Audi RS 6 Avant delivers understated performance in its purist form with inconspicuous looks and brutal power combined with all the space a family of four would need, so if you want to fly under the radar this is the vehicle for you. Prices for the RS S Avant start at $232,200 excluding dealer delivery and on-road costs and as tested this Glacier white, metallic Avant was $237,500 excluding dealer delivery and on-road costs. You can shop for an Audi RS 6 Avant online or visit your preferred Audi dealer for more information.
|The understated looks||No ANCAP safety rating|
|The performance||Gloss black centre console and dash|
|The size of the boot||Noisy climate control on occasions|
Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.