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The new Audi RS6 is here, and it finds your lack of faith disturbing

Oh yes, the quintessential super-wagon has returned

Published: 20 Aug 2019
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How’s that for a come-at-me-bro stance? Welcome to the new Audi RS6 Avant. Power by turbo V8. Interior by Star Wars. Bodywork by The Incredible Hulk, it appears. Have you ever seen a more butch family estate car than this?

The old 552bhp Audi RS6 (up to 592bhp for the RS6 Performance) was hardly a Q-car, but this new 2019 version is a whopper: 40mm wider at each wheelarch. Yep, it’s a gigantic 80mm wider overall than your manager’s A6 Avant. This is not a car lacking swagger. Those wheels? 22 inches across, to squeeze in the biggest brakes Audi’s ever fitted to a car.

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They’re needed to reign in some mega pace courtesy of Audi’s 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8. It delivers 592bhp and torque’s up by 73lb ft to 590lb ft, because the new RS6’s gearbox hasn’t been skipping leg day and can handle the twist. It’s an eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox driving the front wheels as well as the rears, of course. The rear wheels’ squabbling over torque is refereed by an adaptive ‘sport differential’ that shuffles it around to where it’s best deployed.

When it’s best deployed, you’ll go from 0-62mph in just 3.6 seconds, and not top out until you reach 189mph. Along the way, the body is automatically lowered thanks to intelligent air suspension, which also works to keep the RS6 level in corners. It’s a system shared with the likes of the Lamborghini Urus, in fact.

This is not far off being a 200mph family wagon. And yet it’s also a mild-hybrid, capable of shutting down four cylinders at a cruise, and switching off the engine completely when coasting between 34mph and 99mph, in the name of efficiency. This is a devil-wagon with a conscience.

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Here’s a pop quiz for you: name all the panels the RS6 shares with the workaday A6 Avant. There ain’t many.

Actually, only the roof, tailgate and front doors come from the standard wagon. The front lights, ultra-grille and bumper are off the RS7. The rear doors are reskinned because of those phat arches. There’s a new diffuser, new exhausts – the biggest of any Audi RS6 car, we’re told – and the bonnet is covered in unnecessary creases.

Climb aboard and there’s a lot more that’s shared with the A6, not that you’ll find us complaining. Crisp screens, lovely trim, and plenty of space. What’s new are the details, like the RS button on the steering wheel that shortcuts you to either RS1 or RS2 mode, with the engine, gearbox, exhaust and suspension tailored to your liking. You even get a retro Audi Quattro-inspired ‘hockey stick’ rev counter graphic on the digi-dash. Sounds kitsch. It’s actually pretty cool.

Meanwhile, a new Nissan GT-R-like ‘RS Monitor’ in the main touchscreen lets you geek out on G-force readouts, various temperature readouts and pressures. It’s not short of toys, the RS6. But mainly, it’s all about Those Arches. It’s not mucking about.

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Audi dealers worldwide are currently knocking through walls and widening doors to fit the damn things in. Expect to see them squeezing into the building in early 2020, asking about £90,000 in return for Those Arches, and the rest of the car coming for free.

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