2021 Audi RS6 Avant test drive

The 2021 Audi RS6 has finally arrived in Canada. On the earlier press launch, I commented on having been denied an RS6 model for years. As promised Audi has delivered on the availability of this incredible vehicle, being sold in Avant or wagon format. 2021 Audi RS6 Avant

Despite being based on the A6 Avant, the only body panels shared with the RS6 Avant were the tailgate and front doors. Visually the RS6 Avant is a mean looking customer. Bulging wheel fenders sit 40mm wider at each wheel. The muscular engine hood crowns the unique Audi RS badged, honeycomb grille. The front end also includes over-sized air intakes and a low slung air dam. Combined with an integrated rear spoiler, that protrudes of the rear roof-line, helps to lower the vehicle’s drag coefficient and increases down-force at high speeds. The optional 22 inch wheels on our tester, with massive 285/30 low profile tires, tended to distract from noticing the massive 440mm brake calipers and added a strong visual cue to a serious performance vehicle. Part of the Carbon Optics package in the vehicle included the 22 inch stylized rims, massive tires and carbon fibre trim pieces on the air dam and spoiler as well as the side mirrors. 2021 Audi RS6 Avant dashboard

The interior of the RS6 Avant reveals some low-slung leather clad sports seats that feature stitched RS logos and RS specific surface stitching. Getting in and out of the front bucket seats is a constant reminder of how low the vehicle is and the corresponding handling windfall that low centre of gravity returns.

The dashboard and drivers cockpit layout is the latest design from Audi. The instrument panel contains the 12.3 inch virtual cockpit panel. Drivers are able to customize the driving experience based on the vehicle information important to them. The setup even allows for full NAV system, with Google Maps, overlay across the entire display. A pair of TFT LCD displays sit above the centre console. The top screen is the primary control interface for the Audi MMI system, controlling the radio and Nav systems onboard. The lower screen configures climate controls as well as the heated and air cooled seats. The system mimics smart phone gestures as such its intuitive and a breeze to use.

The original Audi RS6 was introduced as a 2002 model with a 450HP, twin turbo V8 engine. This latest model ups the ante with a 4.0L twin-turbocharged V8 engine with an output of 591HP and 590 lb-ft of torque. The legendary Quattro all-wheel-drive system is standard and receives all that power through an 8-speed automatic or Tiptronic transmission. The potent powertrain returns a 0-100 kms/hr time of just 3.6 seconds with the use of the built-in launch control system. Consider for a moment that the vehicle is a family sized station wagon, the acceleration time is even more staggering.

To aid with efficiency, the RS6 integrates a 48-volt mild hybrid electric system. A belt/alternator/starter (BAS) unit allows the potent hauler to coast at speeds between 55-160 km/h, while the engine is shut down for up to 40 seconds. Another efficiency feature is cylinder deactivation. Half of the V8’s cylinders remain dormant under light loads. The switch between 4 and 8 cylinders is not noticeable to anyone in the vehicle. The combined savings of both systems amount to a 0.8 L/100kms reduction in fuel consumption.

The twin turbo V8 engine does not disappoint when stoked to life. The menacing rumble is what one expects when buying this vehicle. Stab at the gas pedal and the surge of power, corresponding acceleration and auditory massage from the tailpipes is inspiring.

With adjustable suspension dampers, the Audi Drive Select system is able to tailor not only throttle response but the handling of the RS6 Avant. One display available on the Virtual Cockpit are the lateral acceleration figures for different edges of the vehicle. With the Drive Select system in dynamic mode, it can be great fun to see just how far the RS6 will go, assuming you are in a safe environment to do so. Audi claims a cornering limit of around 1.5g. A truly staggering figure, but helped in part by the optional four wheel steering and torque vectoring, Quattro sport differential installed on the vehicle as part of the Dynamic Package.

If you are not inclined to play race-car driver all day, the Audi drive select allows the driver to choose between Comfort, Auto, Dynamic, Efficiency driving modes. The adjustment can be made under the lower LCD screen on the centre console. However if you suddenly decide to ramp up the handling and response, press the RS badged button on the steering wheel which accesses two preset configurations, labelled RS1 (press once) and RS2 (press twice). Logically, one can be set for typical commuting and the other for performance driving.

Driving the RS6 Avant was a true pleasure. The vehicle can navigate through congested city streets with the agility of a daily commuter and still provide endless miles of comfortable highway cruising, as an accomplished people mover. Yet still, when called upon, the performance potential can be unleashed with fury and delivered to the road with sophisticated ease. 2021 Audi RS6 Avant rear seats

On top of all the performance figures and sporty handling the 2021 Audi RS6 Avant will comfortably seat up to 5 adults and fit either 565-litres of cargo with the rear seats up or 1,680L with the back seats folded flat. A large power tailgate and low lift-over, makes access to the Avant’s utility a breeze.

The Audi RS6 Avant is the car of choice for self-driving executives in Germany and has been since its introduction. The wagon market in North America has been lagging for decades with the introduction of SUV’s. Audi gambled on bringing it back to North America and given the fact that the model is effectively sold out, one can agree that the market has come around and hopefully this potent wagon stays in the sales portfolio going forward.

The RS6 Avant starts at $120,400, plus freight and PDI. Our tester came in the Audi Nardo Grey paint at no additional cost and included other options such as; RS steel brakes with red calipers ($500), RS Design package in red ($1900), Driver Assistant Package ($2400), Carbon Optics Package ($2450) and the Dynamic Package ($2950) for an as tested price of $136,910 before taxes. Visit Audi’s website for full pricing and options available.


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