Audi RS 6 Avant TFSI 2020 Drive Review : Baby Got Back [COTY2020]
Singapore - Who doesn’t like wagons? We love’em, especially if they’re properly ballistic ones, and no one makes a fast wagon like Audi does.
These days, Audi makes lots of fast cars that span coupes, sedans, sportbacks and crossovers, and while there are arguably more striking models in its range (we’re looking at you R8!), we still have a soft spot for its hardest wagon – the RS 6 Avant.
‘Avant’ is Audi-speak for its stationwagon/estate range, and why not? It sounds a lot cooler than stationwagon, and we like to think it implies us Avant fans are more open-minded and forward-thinking than the average car buyer.
For us, the term ‘stationwagon’ dredges up images of wood panelling… on the outside of the car! It probably does the same for many, which might account for why estates appeal only to ‘autotaku’ like ourselves!
Audi’s 30-year legacy of creating boosted, bootylicious estates can be traced back to its first über-wagon of the mid-1990s, the seminal RS2 Avant.
(What's a RS2? Click HERE to find out more about Audi's cult überwagon)
Audi’s turbo’d five-pot ’bahn-storming estate was co-developed with Porsche and packed both serious firepower, as well as the dynamic wherewithal to harass sportscars, and is now a veritable cult classic.
A lot of the satisfaction in owning a fast wagon comes when you ambush unsuspecting n00bs in their flashy sportscars trying to impress their dates.
Bonus points if you're carrying the whole family, the doggos and the weekly groceries when you administer the smackdown!
The RS 6 has gone through several evolutions before arriving at this latest fourth generation. In addition to the Avant, the first two iterations had sedan variants, with even a crazy twin-turbocharged V10 (from Lamborghini, no less!) in the second generation before settling into the groove of the twin-turbo'd 4.0-litre V8 for the third and this latest fourth generation. It was only in the third and fourth generations that the RS 6 was exclusively available in Avant form.
(Click HERE to read about our introduction to the 2020 Cars of the Year – Singapore-Style)
If that's not testament to Audi's confidence in the inextricable bond between its high-performance RS range and Avant shape, we don't know what is.
Of course, if you need something with a little more ‘crossover’ presence, Audi now offers the RS Q8 (Click HERE to read our First Drive of the Audi RSQ8), which features a similar powertrain to the RS 6.
However, if you think the pair competes directly against one another, then you probably don't love wagons as much as you think you do…
It's amazing how many people continue to use 'wolf in sheep's clothing' to describe Audi’s fast wagons.
This might have been the case in the early days of RS Avants – where owners appreciated the stealthy, Q-car looks that were backed up by serious battleship firepower.
However, take a long, hard look at the RS 6 today, because there’s now plenty of ‘show’ to accompany the ‘go’!
It looks properly hard and is certainly heavily armoured enough, but is also armed to the teeth with the twin-turbo’d 4.0-litre V8’s reactive 600hp and a massive 800Nm of torque. As if the quattro blisters aren’t dramatic enough, this big bad wolf is 40mm wider per side compared to the regular A6 and features gorgeous 22-inch alloy rims, which show-off the brake callipers to great effect.
Compared to the eminently more functional-looking, albeit no less ballistic E 63 S AMG, the Audi is all theatrical cuts and slashes, with a sharply raked rear tailgate for an even more aggressive appearance. As a top-shelf model, the RS 6 gets Audi’s Laser Light as standard, as well as the RS sport exhaust system, which lets the soulful V8 really sing.
The cabin is an evocative mix of smart and sporty, with the latest tech toys, active/passive aids and a smorgasbord of colour and material options that allows you personalise the interior to your heart’s content.
Like the BMW M models, the RS 6 now features a RS Mode trigger button on the sports steering wheel to engage RS1 and RS2 modes, which can be pre-programmed with your custom dynamic drive settings.
With the windows up, you could be forgiven for thinking the the RS 6 isn’t as shouty as the earlier generations. Until you realise the window glazing is remarkably thick to preserve the sanctity of the cabin!
Naturally, we subsequently left the windows down for the rest of our time with the car, because nothing completes a fast, involving car like an appropriately soul-stirring soundtrack!
We already know the RS 6 looks and sounds the part of natural born killer, but how engaging can a two-tonne behemoth be to drive? Without mincing any words, very!
The third generation RS 6 was already a divine dance partner that was light on its toes, and the latest car continues the tradition and will make mince meat of any challengers in both wet and dry.
There’s the same elasticity from the charismatic V8, but it’s even smoother than before, with huge thrust from the moment the turbos kick in till you’re deep in license-losing territory.
We’re never enthralled by straight-line speed alone, but the RS models have always excelled on the winding roads as well, and the RS 6 is no exception.
There’s a technique to piloting such a large car quickly through the corners, even with the rear-biased quattro all-wheel drivetrain, and it isn’t just stomping-and-squirting, because where’s the challenge in that, right?
The RS 6’s rear-steer system may make the car feel smaller than it is on the winding roads, but you still need to pilot it with some finesse to be able to properly unleash the full force of the V8’s fury.
The real-world pace is devastating, as the RS 6 upturns everything you know about the science of speed in the corners, but this isn’t one of those ‘fast’ cars that puts on speed deceptively – it offers a surprisingly feelsome, fluid flow to your red-mist shenanigans.
If you’re after an even more scintillating hard-driving experience, you can tick the box for the optional RS sports suspension Plus with DRC (Dynamic Ride Control) system.
However, you will lose the self-levelling function of the standard RS adaptive air suspension (already no slouch in the handling stakes), which we feel is essential if you’re expecting to occasionally use the Avant for its intended function.
You’d be missing the point to think you’re spending over half a buck on a utilitarian beast of burden, even though maximum load-lugging capacity with the second-row seats folded is a cavernous 1680-litres.
Unless you’re already comfortably numb, a fast estate is the ultimate lifestyle accessory that sticks a finger to the establishment, especially with the roads awash in all manner of crossovers. The RS 6 Avant may not just be another brick in the wall, but it truly is the definitive ‘turbobrick’ of our times.
PHOTOS Zotiq Visuals
Audi RS 6 Avant TFSI
Engine 3996cc, V8, twin-turbo
Transmission 8spd tiptronic auto
Top Speed 280km/h
Fuel Consumption 13.2l/100km