Forbidden Fruit No Longer: Audi's RS 6 Avant Is Headed to America

forbidden fruit no longer audis rs 6 avant is headed to america

Months of teasing gave way to an admission of intent late Tuesday. After dangling Avants wagons of yesteryear in front of social media watchers since the spring, Audi finally came out and admitted the beastly RS6 Avant wagon will make its way stateside.

Sporting all-wheel drive, a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8, and endlessly customizable drive settings, the next-generation RS 6 Avant lands in America in 2020, but don’t expect to see many polluting showroom floors.

Indeed, the RS 6 is the niche model of all niche models, earning no shortage of online jokes about the number of so-called wagon fans who’ll actually put their money where their mouths are. Audi realizes the super wagon won’t garner a flood of buyers, however, which is why the model will only be available via customer order. The automaker wants to avoid a situation where a eyeball-grabbing-but-unwanted RS 6 loiters on the floor/lot, costing the dealer money.

So, what can this small group of buyers expect from their new family hauler? 591 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque, for one, split in a number of ways between all four wheels. Drivers can dial up their preferred front-rear torque split (full RWD is out of the question, sorry, but rear-biased is a given), while a sport differential funnels the right amount of grip to the proper rear wheel.

If you were hoping for a manual transmission, you’ve clearly been ignoring the product changes in Audi’s lineup of late. An eight-speed automatic is the only choice here, with a launch control function aiding drivers in their stoplight tearaway. Zero to 62 mph can pass in 3.6 seconds, though Audi stresses that U.S.-market performance stats are not yet available.

Stretching 1.6 inches wider than your run of the mill Avant, the RS 6 temps passers-by with its pronounced fender flares and aggressive fascia/grille treatment, soon to become the norm for RS-badged models. Headlamps come on loan from the A7. Deep within those four wheel arches lurks an adaptive air suspension system that’s customizable by the driver. Shelling or extra bucks nets you a sport suspension with Audi’s Dynamic Ride Control; with that setup, oil lines connecting the shocks through a central valve allows the model to remain as flat and planted as possible as you take that on-ramp at illegal speeds.

Twenty-one inch wheels come standard, and Audi will be more than happy to accept an extra chunk of green in exchange for upgraded ceramic brakes.

Well-monied drivers have access to six drive modes (comfort, auto, dynamic, efficiency, RS1, and RS2), the latter two of which can be configured to suite the driver’s individual tastes. Everything’s up for configuration via these modes, from throttle and transmission mapping, to suspension performance, steering weight, and so on. All-wheel steering sits on the options list. Ka-ching.

It certainly sounds like the sky’s the limit for the RS 6’s price ceiling, but we won’t know details on that until closer to the model’s 2020 launch. What is important right now is that a model which first appeared in Europe in 2002 will now be available in North America for the first time. It’s up to customers to keep it there.

[Images: Audi]

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  • Kosmo Kosmo on Aug 22, 2019

    RS6 for the sex appeal, but Audi would sell more S6s.

  • Chris from Cali Chris from Cali on Aug 22, 2019

    I've been lobbying with several others on an internal Audi forum (even asked the Audi VP of Product) to bring RS Avants to the US. Finally we get one, but we get the most expensive, hardest-to-sell one. They should've primed the pump with the RS3 wagon and, most importantly, the RS4. It would have had ZERO competition in the market, whereas the RS6 competes with the E63S wagon and the Panamera Sport Turismo. I am a V60 Polestar owner, so I practice what I preach in terms of being a performance wagon buyer, but an RS4 would have made my decision so much easier. That said, I do have an interest in on the RS6 with Audi, but I have not fully committed until I feel comfortable dropping $125K. (And I would be one of those people who keep/maintain it for a long time.)

  • FreedMike Back in the '70s, the one thing keeping consumers from buying more Datsuns was styling - these guys were bringing over some of the ugliest product imaginable. Remember the F10? As hard as I try to blot that rolling aberration from my memory, it comes back. So the name change to Nissan made sense, and happened right as they started bringing over good-looking product (like the Maxima that will be featured in this series). They made a pretty clean break.
  • Flowerplough Liability - Autonomous vehicles must be programmed to make life-ending decisions, and who wants to risk that? Hit the moose or dive into the steep grassy ditch? Ram the sudden pile up that is occurring mere feet in front of the bumper or scan the oncoming lane and swing left? Ram the rogue machine that suddenly swung into my lane, head on, or hop up onto the sidewalk and maybe bump a pedestrian? With no driver involved, Ford/Volkswagen or GM or whomever will bear full responsibility and, in America, be ambulance-chaser sued into bankruptcy and extinction in well under a decade. Or maybe the yuge corporations will get special, good-faith, immunity laws, nation-wide? Yeah, that's the ticket.
  • FreedMike It's not that consumers wouldn't want this tech in theory - I think they would. Honestly, the idea of a car that can take over the truly tedious driving stuff that drives me bonkers - like sitting in traffic - appeals to me. But there's no way I'd put my property and my life in the hands of tech that's clearly not ready for prime time, and neither would the majority of other drivers. If they want this tech to sell, they need to get it right.
  • TitaniumZ Of course they are starting to "sour" on the idea. That's what happens when cars start to drive better than people. Humanpilots mostly suck and make bad decisions.
  • Inside Looking Out Why not buy Bronco and call it Defender? Who will notice?