Estates are rarely go-to vehicles for those who want to let their hair down and impress. But there have been a few exceptions over the years that challenge the norm, the latest of which is the thunderous new Audi RS6 Avant estate.
Although Audi has ditched the 5-litre V10 of the outgoing model, the 4-litre V8 biturbo used in this car is nothing to be ashamed of. Capable of producing 700Nm of torque between 1,750 and 5,5500 rpm, it won’t just pull caravans with ease – it’ll snap them in half. 552bhp is achieved at 5,700 revs, it’ll do 0 to 62mph in3.9 seconds and it has a top-speed of 189mph if you opt for the top-flight Dynamic plus package. Imagine doing that with a dog in the back – it’d make one hell of a mess.
All that power is handled by an 8-speed Tiptronic gearbox, quattro all-wheel drive, while adaptive air suspension (a first for an Audi RS) helps keep the bumps at bay. A steel-sprung exhaust system with Dynamic Ride Control is available at extra cost.
Fuel efficiency is actually relatively impressive given its performance. 28.8mpg is achievable if you can resist sampling that mind-bending torque, thanks to its clever cylinder on demand system. When you are cruising gently, the engine runs on just four of its eight cylinders.When it’s at a standstill, it doesn’t run on any – as the stop-start system switches the engine off completely.
As you would expect from an estate, space is plentiful. The boot can accommodate 1,680 litres of luggage with the rear seats folded down and even freakishly tall people will fit in the back without having to contort their spinal columns. It’s a luxurious place to be, too, thanks to the option of comfort seats and a Bose sound system, which can be upgraded to a Bang & Olufsen 15-speaker audio setup if you like your beats as loud as the engine.
Other notable changes over the outgoing model include a hefty amount of weight-saving. Use of aluminium means the new RS6 is 100kg lighter, making it more agile and efficient. Factor in the option of 420mm carbon fibre-ceramic brake discs and you have a car that stops almost as well as it goes.
Expect to part with £77,000 for the privilege of owning an Audi RS6 Avant when it becomes available in early 2013.