All-new cars that have been designed from scratch are one thing BUT when you combine this fresh new thinking with the advantage of having a quarter of a century of product-specific history and then sprinkle in four-generations of evolution, the result is something rather special – introducing Audi New Zealand’s new RS 6 Avant.
The list of attributes of Audi’s new RS literally reams long and only a few days to experience them all, I spent a ‘focussed’ amount of time behind the wheel of this powerful wagon, really getting personally acquainted and the turbulent New Zealand weather only added to the experience.
Designwise, the RS 6 Avant is bold and potentially foreboding, with pronounced body panels such as a power-dome bonnet and wheel arches that have been extended by 40mm each side, in fact, the RS is so ultra-special that it only shares three body panels with the ‘regular’ A6 Avant.
The nose draws upon features from Audi’s 80s Quattro period and adds in brand’s new singleframe grille, two huge lower air vents to cool the intercoolers and LED matrix laser headlights that light up the world for miles ahead, without the worry of blinding oncoming traffic.
The Audi RS 6 Avant’s profile showcases large 22-inch alloys with slithers of rubber and bright red RS brake callipers (which you’ll be thankful for). The shoulder line is very defined, particularly over those wheel arches and the sills are extended out towards the ground below (it already sits 20mm lower than the A6).
Then there’s that rear. Full of drama and sporty features, it boasts a roofline spoiler, LED tail lights with directional indicators, quad exhaust pipes that merge into two large oval tips and a kicker tailgate that opens up to a cavernous 565L of luggage space (seats up), oh and covered by an automatic parcel shelf.
Once inside, the aroma of soft Nappa leather is there to greet you. The seats are supple yet supportive and RS embossed. My model came with a mixture of open weave style carbon fibre, piano blacks and chrome. It’s a sporty, upmarket feel as would be expected. The Audi RS 6 Avant is awash with technology, MMI touch response infotainment comes to you with two interconnected screens and there’s also Audi’s virtual cockpit to ensure the driver has all the information presented in the manner they choose. The highlights include google maps with live traffic and weather, a 3D view of the RS Avant in Gran Turismo video style and RS apps to really get to grips with what the RS’s powertrain has on offer.
Driving modes include the usual efficiency to dynamic settings, however, there are two additional modes RS1 and RS2. These are ‘individual’ modes where you can preset your ideal RS way of driving, like dynamic suspension with softer steering or dynamic throttle with softer gear changing, but with RS 2, you can also opt to lessen the traction in the RS 6’s rear end for a more ‘challenging’ ride. These modes are in turn, connected to a button on the D-shaped wheel for easy access – how thoughtful of Audi.
Then last but not least the engine. The RS 6 Avant comes equipped with a twin-turbocharged 4L V8 that is a monster with a secret green side. Not only does it gift you with a joyful 441 kW (600 hp) of power and 800 Nm of Torque but it uses a mild hybrid system consisting of a belt-driven alternator and a 48-volt lithium-ion battery, allowing it to coast silently for up to 40 seconds at speeds between 55-160 km/h. The latter of which I found useful on my long drive to Rotovegas and back.
You see, having this beast of a wagon that propels you from 0-100km/h in 3.6 seconds and (should you be allowed) on to a top speed that’s been limited to 250km/h, is one thing but if you have to program in every BP Station along the way it takes a bit of the fun out of it. On my three hour drive from Albany to Rotorua, the RS 6 sipped fuel at a mere 8.7L/100km. Admittedly, it was raining, foggy and dark so I was in no hurry but still, that’s impressive. It was a bit less on the way back though, so was the time it took.
The other thing that impressed was the ride quality, sure the under-pinning Quattro drive system means that corners are there to be explored but the combination of sports suspension, 22-inch feet and covered by less rubber than what’s on my shoe should have meant a trip to the chiro after the day’s drive but surprisingly no, it was smooth and quiet, maybe a little too quiet as I would have liked to have heard that V8 roar from inside the highly-insulated cabin.
Twenty-five years and three generations preceding, this new RS 6 Avant is next level Audi New Zealand. It’s super smart, ferocious when needed, as spacious as an SUV and as quick as a whippet. It’s a thrilling ride that has the advantages of Audi Sport’s history plus an RS button that just begs to be pushed.