WORLD PREMIERE: 2020 Audi RS6 Avant — Coming to America

For decades, American Audi enthusiasts have had to watch as their favorite brand kept its best cars sheltered from the American market. For decades, American Audi enthusiasts have had to miss out on the fun of owning a family wagon with supercar-killing performance. Now, though, that time is coming to and end. Now, like Prince Akeem before it, the Audi RS6 Avant is finally coming to America.

Much like Eddie Murphy’s hilarious Prince Akeem, the Audi RS6 Avant is coming to a country that’s barely aware of its existence. Not only that but the RS6 is also looking for love, only in the form of paying customers, rather than a potential bride unaware of its power and wealth.

Audi RS6 Avant

When the RS6 Avant finally gets here, it will not only be the first of its kind to be sold in the ‘States but it will also immediately become the brand’s flagship performance car. Having a wagon as the flagship of your performance brand doesn’t exactly scream brilliant business strategy. However, Audi Sport is trying to attract more customers over its main competitors, the BMW M5 and Mercedes-AMG E63, and its using a more practical body style to try and do so.

“Throughout our 25-year RS history, the Audi RS6 Avant is one of our absolute icons with a large global fan base,” said Oliver Hoffmann, managing director of Audi Sport GmbH. “We will also be offering the RS6 Avant in North America for the very first time. As such, we will be tapping into a new market with huge potential and generating further growth.”

Let’s cut right to the chase, though. Under its extremely aggressive hood lies a 4.0 liter twin-turbocharged V8 that makes 591 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. According to Audi, it takes 3.6 seconds to get from 0-60 mph and has an electronically-limited speed limit of 155. Though, it’s said that an upgraded performance package can up the top speed limited to 190 mph.

Audi RS6 Avant Engine

Now, those numbers aren’t outrageous. In fact, they’re all a bit lower and slower than we imagined them to be. However, we fully expect the car to have more power to the wheels in real-world dyno testing than what Audi claims, as that always seems to be the case. We also fully expect it to nail 60 mph in less than 3.6 seconds. Something closer to three seconds flat sounds about right. Especially considering its rivals from BMW M and Mercedes-AMG can do it in under three seconds, under the right conditions, with similar power.

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All of that fury will be sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox, which is typical. Also typical of Audi Sport cars, the Quattro system sends 60 percent of the power to the rear wheels and 40 percent to the fronts, under normal driving conditions. If needed, the Quattro system can shunt some extra power to one of the axles for better grip, with a maximum of 70 percent to the rear.


To manage all of that power through the bends, the Audi RS6 Avant will get adaptive air suspension as-standard. While that’s a good system, an optional Dynamic Ride Control is even better and an Audi first. Other performance Audis have had DRC before but it’s always been a magnetic shock setup. This new DRC uses steel springs but with diagonally-linked, hydraulic shocks, a system similar to the one found in many McLarens. If you’ve driven a McLaren with its hydraulic suspension setup, you’d know that it rides like a Mercedes S-Class while handling like a supercar. So this is very exciting news.

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In further pursuit of “zee dynamism“, as zee Germans always say, the Audi RS6 Avant will get a variable steering, optional rear-wheel steering and an optional limited-slip rear differential. So not only will this new RS6 be the first to make it ‘Stateside but it will also be the best handling RS6, most aggressive of all time.

Speaking of most aggressive, just look at it. We’re not sure we’ve ever seen a boxier, more muscular looking wagon in the modern era. Maybe ever. It simply looks brutal, as if it wants to punch its way out of every encounter. It might be coming to America like Prince Akeem but it looks more like Prince T’Challa.

The front end is extremely aggressive, thanks to massive front air intakes, a new grille that features a sort of chain-link variation of the RS grille and a more heavily creased hood. It’s an angry face, for sure, but it’s also a handsome one. This is one of the best looking Audi mugs in the current lineup.

Down the sides, it gets a new side skirt that visually lowers the car, along with heavily flared wheel arches that make it look as muscular as the aforementioned Wakandan Prince. That lower ride height, combined with its massive wheel arches, make it look far sportier than the standard A6 Avant. It looks like Audi Sport got the memo about RS cars looking too subtle. This is anything but subtle.

Out back, a massive bit of trim wraps around the large oval exhausts and a huge rear roof spoiler sits about it all. This new Audi RS6 Avant looks so drastically different from the standard car that we’re wondering if it was done in secret, kept from the bean-counting executives.

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So if the outside it radically changed and extremely aggressive, surely the inside is typically subtle to counter, right? Well, mostly but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a trick or two up its sleeve. While it looks mostly just like a sportier A6 on the inside, the Audi RS6 Avant has a few techie bits that help differentiate it.

For starters, it gets an all new Virtual Cockpit layout, specifically for RS cars, that gets a cool new rev counter in the center and some auxiliary performance gauges flanking it. So it can now five you info such as g-forces or current power usage. Nerdy stuff but good stuff. It also gets a specific performance screen in the MMI system, giving the driver any sort of performance data they might want.

Audi RS6 Avant Interior

There’s also a new “RS Mode” button on the steering wheel, which can switch between two customizable settings layouts. This isn’t an unusual idea in the segment. In fact, BMW M has been doing something similar for years. Still, it’s cool to have.

Other than that, it looks like a great cabin and one that has all of the same luxury and practicality as the A6 Avant, except with a hint of added aggression.

Pricing hasn’t been announced for the Audi RS6 Avant in America but we do know that it will be a made-to-order car only. So you won’t see many, if any at all, at your local dealer. Instead, it will be a car that customers will have to order and wait for. You won’t hear us complaining, though. The Audi RS6 Avant is finally coming to America and, like Prince Akeem before it, we hope it finds the love it’s looking for.

Nico DeMattia

I've been in love with cars since I was a kid, specifically German cars. Now I get to drive them talk about them on the internet.