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The Audi RS6 Avant is the Last of a Dying Breed

Everyone thinks SUVs are all the craze, big and bulky, enormous road presence, Hollywood-esque moms driving them around Beverley Hills. Audi, however has other ideas. Bringing the Audi RS6 Avant in its high performance wagon form to the United States for the first time in history. The Station Wagon is a dying breed, no one wants them anymore for their “ugly, long body style”. I beg to differ, I think the wagon needs to make a comeback, or at least the high performance wagon. I’m getting sick of Subaru Outbacks and Crosstreks rule the wagon world, it’s time for a change. The new RS6 Avant fills that need with a pure German wagon, the way wagons are supposed to be made. Combining three essential elements: performance, luxury, and practicality into one vehicle is hard, but Audi seems to have found the perfect recipe for a dish straight from automotive heaven.

Factor #1: Performance

The RS6 is not a wagon to be toyed around with. Acting as the souped up version of the dreary Audi A6 Allroad, the RS6 packs a serious punch. Fitted with a twin turbo 4.0 liter V8 that puts out 591 German horses with 590 pound-feet of torque to accompany it makes the RS6 look like an absolute rocketship when it passes you on the Autobahn. Flinging itself from 0-60 in under 3.5 seconds makes it faster than 90% of cars out there, from a wagon! Nearly 600 horsepower… in a wagon! Sent to Quattro to get an upgraded AWD system was Audi’s intent from the start, making sure they also added a stellar launch control system that can get its launch revs up to 4,000 RPMs. Even after you rev it, Audi doesn’t hold back on its gorgeous exhaust note. Its sonorous tune feels incredible driving through tunnels, or even just accelerating on to the freeway. Paired with the Audi staple TipTronic 8-speed transmission allows the RS6 to find the perfect gear at every situation. Except it feels like the transmission is eager to hop into the higher gears in certain acceleration situations, not making the best use of the powerband. A Quattro differential lets the RS6 push itself to the limits on track driving, but it is hard to get the backend out and go smoothly when drifting around corners. Turning traction control off and putting it in RS mode does help, but still, not where a serious track driver would like it. It looks like the brakes are fit for Goliath himself. Massive RS carbon ceramic brakes are available to fit inside the standard 21 inch tires. Top speed is a blistering 190 MPH, but is limited in regular modes to 155 MPH, still plenty fast for your everyday Joe. Handling is tight and firm, but for normal cruising can be switched with your drive mode. For a wagon, it feels like a midsize sedan, doesn’t feel like there’s too much tail length and maneuvers gracefully around corners. From a straight line, my head pins back against the seat, feels like a German rendition of the CTS-V wagon with all that power. Sitting on 21 inch performance tires may not seem like much, but the handling improves dramatically over all-seasons on the Allroad. Fit those massive carbon ceramic brakes as we mentioned (they are a tad pricey), and you’ll get even more stopping distance than the 160 ft from 70 MPH you get on the standard brakes.

Factor #2: Luxury

As a German vehicle, luxury is one of the top reasons to buy an RS6, and it doesn’t disappoint. Fitted with the press car’s caramel interior looks drop dead gorgeous, along with ventilated and heated leather seats. A heated steering wheel, standard 10.1 inch display, and Audi’s excellent virtual cockpit all are part of the deal. Special RS displays provide information on tire pressure, torque, power output, engine oil temperature, boost pressure, lap times, acceleration measurements and g forces. Sunroof, plenty of storage space, a leather wrapped shifter, adaptive cruise control, blindspot and frontal collision monitoring and warnings, as well as massive aluminum shift paddles all sit within the cabin. Optional are massaging seats, a heads up display, and a motion-activated tailgate. Moving outside, the RS6 looks muscular. Like been in the gym muscular. Everything has been built from the ground up as unique RS parts. No sharing with the peasants here. Widened fenders make the RS6 look more aggressive and fit wider tires, functional air inlets channel air and wind to cool the huge brakes to stop on a dime, and massive exhaust pipes slither underneath the wagon in order to produce a raucous your neighbors will love. Audi’s laser headlights make an appearance here, cutting through darkness and possibly blinding the grandma ahead of you as well.

Factor #3: Practicality

Wagons are, in theory, one of the most practical body types. Their long wheelbase and extended cargo area make them a perfect daily driver or family hauler. The RS6 is no different. The wagon has 30 cubic feet of cargo room behind the rear seats just to add to all the fun. Standard drivers’ assistance features come standard too, in addition to all the previously mentioned, you’ll also get: lanekeep assist, a HD backup camera with guidance lines, and hill start. The huge knock for the RS6 is its abysmal fuel economy. It’s bad, like really bad. For a supposed “practical” body style, it’ll get a god awful 15 city and 22 highway. I’d sign up for that 7/11 rewards program right now, you’ll need it. You better have deep pockets or an auxiliary tank, because my Corvette gets better than that.

The Verdict

The RS6 Avant is what the US needs, at the time it needs it. We need a break from all these modern “boxy” SUVs and boring midsize sedans. We needed a German muscle car in wagon form, and that’s exactly what the RS6 delivered. Bringing to the US three essential factors to what make a good car, it’s good for what it is, but I would expect it to appeal to a niche market. Just don’t expect too many RS6s to be rolling down the roads. Price starts at around $110,000, and dealers are already marking over MSRP.

OVERALL: 8.5/10

EXTERIOR: 9/10

INTERIOR: 9/10

PERFORMANCE: 8/10

PRACTICALITY: 6/10

VALUE: 7/10

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