This it it, folks. Audi has finally debuted the latest generation of its flagship RS 6 super wagon, ahead of its public debut at September’s Frankfurt motor show.
Under the bonnet is a hulking 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged petrol V8 borrowed from the Volkswagen Group stable, assisted by a 48-volt mild-hybrid system. Outputs are quoted at 441kW of power and 800Nm of torque – 4kW down and some 100Nm up on the outgoing 2018 RS6 Performance.
Torque is transferred to the tarmac through an eight-speed torque-converter automatic transmission and – as with all fast Audis – a 40:60 split, rear-biased quattro all-wheel-drive system, which can send up to 85 per cent of the power to the rear axle (or up to 70 per cent to the front when required).
Audi claims the 0-100km/h sprint is covered in just 3.6 seconds, towards an electronically-limited top speed of 250km/h (though that can be increased with a number of optional packages).
Underneath its stylish body, the RS6 comes standard with adaptive air suspension, which while cruising rides 20mm lower than a standard A6 Avant. At speeds over 120km/h it drops a further 10mm, while at low speeds it raises by 20mm to aid with parking and manouvering.
Buyers can choose to option ‘RS sport suspension plus’, which swaps the air chambers for steel springs and multi-mode adaptive dampers.
Other performance features include RS1 and RS2 customisable drive modes, variable electric power steering, optional rear-wheel-steering and an optional RS sport exhaust that Audi claims produces a “voluminous V8 sound”.
21-inch wheels wrapped in 275mm tyres are fitted as standard, while 22 inchers with 285mm treads can be found on the options list. Hiding behind those large rims are ventilated 420mm front and 370mm rear brakes, made from steel – larger 440mm front and 370mm rear carbon-ceramic units are available as a costly option, but save 34kg of unsprung mass.
Two dynamics packages are available – Dynamic and Dynamic Plus – which add a locking rear differential and up the top speed to 280km/h and 305km/h respectively.
Audi Sport has gone wild with the latest RS6’s looks. There’s an all-new, more aggressive body kit that includes new bumpers, larger side skirts, rear spoiler, bulged bonnet, a darker grille, pumped-up wheel arches and the signature RS oval exhaust tips. So major are the exterior changes that the only carryover panels from the standard A6 are the front doors, roof and tailgate.
Inside, much of the technology has been brought over from the rest of the A6 range, with a dual-screen MMI infotainment system and a Virtual Cockpit digital instrument cluster. There are a number of RS-specific touches though, namely a flat-bottomed sports steering wheel, aluminium paddle shifters, RS-branded sports seats and optional carbon-fibre and Alcantara trim.
Additionally, it benefits from an assortment of RS-only sport displays on the infotainment and gauge cluster, which show g-forces, lap times, power meters, boost pressure and more.
Safety technology is much the same as the A6, with the list of features including adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, autonomous emergency braking, traffic jam assist and more.
The 2020 Audi RS6 Avant goes on sale in Europe and North America (the latter getting an RS6 wagon for the first time) in early 2020, with sales set to start in Australia in the middle of the year.
Before that, catch Ingolstadt’s hottest wagon on display at next month’s Frankfurt motor show.