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Audi RS6 Avant: the stealth speedster

Audi RS6
(Image credit: TechRadar)

The Audi RS6 is one of the most surprising cars around. At a glance, it looks much like any other station wagon (albeit meaner), and could be dismissed as a family run-around for drivers adverse to the altitude afforded by increasingly popular SUVs.

However, apply pressure to the accelerator pedal and its twin-turbo V8 engine will turn those quick glances into stares as it disappears into the distance with the rumble of its exhaust left ringing in ears.

This is much more than a humble station wagon (aka estate, for those of you in the UK). The Audi RS6 is track-ready and gives fully fledged sports cars a run for their money. And speaking of money, you'll need a lot of it if you want to experience the brute force of the RS6.

The Audi RS6 price starts at $109,000 / £94,440 / AU$223,747, but we drove the feature-packed RS6 Avant which - with all the optional extras taken into account - came to a wallet-trembling $134,645 / £134,655 (around AU$191,000).

For that money there are a wealth of top-range cars you can choose from, but for the niche looking for a car they can take to the track and then immediately pick the kids up from school in (and have a large amount of money burning a hole in their pocket), the Audi RS6 could be the perfect fit.

Audi RS6

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Audi RS6 design

We drove

Audi RS6

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Audi RS6 Avant
Engine
: 4.0 liter V8
Power: 600ps
0-62mph: 3.6 seconds
Top speed: 155mph
Fuel efficiency: 22.6mpg
Price: £134,655 

As we've mentioned, the RS6 has a more aggressive look than the traditional station wagon. It sits low to the road, is wide, long and has an extensive bodywork package to complete the sleek, shapely racing aesthetic.

Seeing the RS6 in your rearview mirror as it pulls up behind you at dusk, with its LED lights peering out from the overhang of the hood and light-sucking blackhole of a grille, it looks menacing.

Our RS6 boasted sizable 22-inch wheels which had equally large brake discs and calipers - another nod towards the power that lies within - and pulling it up alongside its sibling from 10 years ago, you can see Audi has pulled through inspiration from its decade-old predecessor.

Open the door and slide yourself down into the low seating position and you feel cocooned in a machine which oozes power. From the flat bottomed wheel and sport seats that almost grab your sides, to the bulge of the hood visible ahead of you.

Despite its sportscar credentials, the Audi RS6 is a roomy, comfortable space to be in. There's plenty of leg and head room in the front and back, and the sizable boot means it can cope with all the luggage associated with a family holiday - or a particularly large grocery shop.

The door pockets are well sized, there are dual cup holders, a key tray and further storage under the central armrest between the two front seats - not to mention the glovebox and an additional, smaller storage space for the driver to the side of the steering wheel.

Rounding out the practicality of the RS6, it also has a towbar which hides behind the rear diffuser when not required, so as not to interrupt the styling of the car.

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Audi RS6

(Image credit: TechRadar)
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Audi RS6

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Audi RS6

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Audi RS6

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Audi RS6

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Audi RS6

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Audi RS6

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Audi RS6 Drive

This will come as no surprise. The twin-turbo, 4.0 liter V8 in the Audi RS6, capable of 600hp, makes you feel like you're in a rocket ship when you sink the accelerator.

The four wheel drive Quattro system ensures you're not left spinning tires as you apply the power through both axles. 

You're pressed back into the seat as the RS6 hurtles you from 0 to 62mph in just 3.6 seconds. It'll keep going all the way up to 190mph too, and you'll get there before you know it if you're not paying attention.

That raw power becomes even more responsive when you switch to RS Mode, which improves the power delivery, stiffens up the suspension and switches the instrument cluster to a revs-focused race setup which also displays G force, power and torque data.

Audi RS6

(Image credit: TechRadar)

There's an 8-speed automatic gearbox which does a good job of getting you quickly up the gears, but for those who prefer a little more control over each shift you can enable the manual paddle shifts - located neatly behind the steering wheel.

The RS6 low center of gravity and four-wheel drive means it sticks nicely to the road, and it'll happily carve through corners as well as tear-up straights. However, it's not all about the power.

You can also travel comfortably, and quietly in the RS6, and it makes for an excellent long-distance cruiser. The well insulated cabin, and the space it affords its passengers, further enhances the practicality credentials of the car.

But that power is always there, lurking in the background, just waiting for you to spot of piece of open road and put your foot down - and you'll find it's something that happens a lot, because it's just a lot of fun to do.

Audi RS6

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Audi RS6 specs and tech

The Audi RS6 is blessed with the firm's excellent infotainment system and wealth of driver aids and technology. 

You get the now-common auto lights and wipers, cruise control and climate control (with separate controls for rear seat passengers), plus cameras that give you a 360 degree view around the car, parking sensors and heated and cooled front seats.

Lift up the armrest between the front seats and you'll find a selection of ports including two USB, one SD and one SIM slot. There's also a wireless charging pad present here, allowing you to charging a compatible smartphone without having to plug it in (such as the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 ranges).

Audi RS6

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Audi's infotainment system is one of our favorites, and it comes fully-featured. In the RS6 you get not one, but two central touchscreen displays. The higher one - where you'd normally expect to find a central display - is your main screen for music, sat nav and more.

The second, lower display meanwhile provides you with input controls (such as a full QWERTY keyboard for entering addresses into the sat nav) as well as controls for the climate, heated seats and more.

For those accustomed to using touchscreens regularly this is an intuitive system to get your head around, although those who prefer the tactility of physical dials may find the all-touch system a little more fiddly. 

The built-in satellite navigation is great, with beautifully clear visuals, easy use and excellent directions. It is complimented in the 'digital cockpit' cluster display behind the steering wheel, with the wide screen providing various customizable options.

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Audi RS6

(Image credit: TechRadar)
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Audi RS6

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Audi RS6

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Audi RS6

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You can adjust the size of the speed and rev counters, and choose what other media is displayed; be it maps, audio, car data or the feed from the front-facing night-vision camera. That last option is an interesting one, giving you extra sight-lines when driving at night in unlit areas.

The system clearly states not to rely solely on the night vision camera for driving, but it's certainly a useful additional addition when driving in the unlit countryside.

You get an awful lot with the Audi RS6 then, which is just as well considering the price tag attached to it. In essence, the Audi RS6 could well be the perfect blend of performance and practicality. If you've got the money, there's not many other vehicles which can offer what the RS6 boasts.

  • John McCann is getting behind the wheel to give you an alternative look at the wealth of cars – and the tech inside them – available today. From super-fast sports cars to tech-packed hatchbacks, he'll take you through a range of makes, models, power and price tags in his regular TR Drives column.
John McCann

Global Managing Editor

John got his first phone aged 12 and since then he's been fixated on all things mobile. Previously Phones Editor, John now looks after the day-to-day running of the site. When he's not got his head buried in mobile tech, you'll find John sitting behind the wheel in his regular TR Drives column.